Friday, 18 December 2009


Ah, post. Who doesn’t love getting post? Well, I’m not so keen on bills or scary looking letters from the Inland Revenue, but hand-written post is a different story. Post lets you know that someone is thinking of you, maybe that someone even loves you.

And what’s better than post? Parcels!

So when I dragged myself through the door after a long and frustrating day at work to find a parcel sitting on my doormat, my interest was immediately piqued. Hmm, I thought. I don’t recognise the hand-writing, so it’s not from my mum or anyone else I know…

In the world of post, is there anything better than a parcel? Well, duh: a parcel with chocolate in it of course!

‘I tried so hard to find chocolates without plastic,’ the accompanying card said. ‘And all the best ones were sealed up.’ I beg to differ: these chocolates are not only yummy, but organic and fair-trade, care of the Organic Seed and Bean Company. I’d take a picture of them for you if I hadn’t already ripped into the packet and eaten half of them.

And the mysterious benefactor of the chocolate? My MA tutor, Susy, to say thank you for giving her full-time students a tour of the bookshop I work in. Effectively, she’s sent me chocolate for doing my job – not that I’m going to send it back! Thank you Susy. It is a really nice and thoughtful thing to do.

But: here’s my dilemma. To tell her or not to tell her that, after all her effort and consideration into my plastic plight, her careful selection of chocolate without a plastic seal around the box – something that is much easier thought about than found – do I tell her that hidden away inside the cardboard the chocolate was sealed in plastic?

I do find it both sad and ironic that this particular chocolate company, having considered so carefully where they will source their fair-trade ingredients, how to flavour their product, and how to present it in as natural way as possible, have hidden the plastic away underneath. I know and understand that in many cases food products are sealed in plastic today for hygiene purposes, but surely that’s not really necessary with chocolate – it’s just what we’re used to these days, what we’re told we need. But do we really need it with everything?

And as I write this I’m wondering how psychological it all is, too. Is there a perception that the better items are those that are wrapped in plastic?

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