Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Take the red pill

There's a saying, "It's the best thing since sliced bread." Makes sense. Easy to understand and to the point. Basically, slicing a loaf is tedious, tiresome, and easily fuck-upable. The slices end up slanted and uneven. If the bread's very fresh it squidges and squashes. If its older it tears and crumbles. The uneven surface is difficult to butter. Then some genius came up with that funky machine you see shaking and rattling on the back counter in Gregg's the Bakers. Et voila. Brilliant. Evenly sliced for the perfect sandwich. Portion control for toast. There is no down side to sliced bread. Almost all of us buy it without giving any thought to what it actually is. It's a labour saving food stuff. Quick sandwich? No problem.

So why don't we say "the best thing since bags of grated cheese"? I'm pretty sure this is a later development, and saves roughly as much labour. It has the added bonus of reducing incidences of accidental knuckle-grating leading to a pink cheese situation.

How about "the best thing since pre-washed salad"? Another newer labour saving food stuff. Remember the palaver we used to have back in the day, when salad for tea meant fishing the colander from under the sink, tearing leaves into it and rinsing it under the tap? Now all we need do is tear open a packet, rinse it under the tap (because none of us really believe it has been washed to our own standard) then hold it aloft, dripping water down our sleeves and searching frantically under the sink with the other hand for the colander. Piece of piss.

Yorkshire pudding mix, labour saving. Precooked Yorkshire puddings. The greatest batter based innovation since sliced deep fried Mars bars. Pot noodles, dirty and lazy but oh so tasty and easy. And if you are skilled enough to be able to slice two perfect slabs of bread, approximately 17mm deep, the perfect sandwich filler.

There seems, however, to be no end to the lengths some will go to in an attempt to make life easy for us, and they ask nothing in return except profit. I saw an advertisement earlier, on the television. It was for McCain Ready Baked Jackets. Ready baked? Why? It's claimed they are ready in just five minutes. The ingredients are potatoes and sunflower oil. They've had their skins pricked, and they've had heat applied. You no longer have to prick and heat your own jacket potato. Imagine a world where none of us have to miss a bit of the early evening news just because we've had to get off our arses and go and check the oven. Utopia.

It seems we'll buy anything. To paraphrase the whispering corn in field of dreams, "If they package it, some dick will buy it."

Long spoons to help you throw a ball for a dog. Treadmills. Step machines. T.V. remote controls. So now if you want to throw a ball for your dog, walk, climb stairs and turn your television off you can be a consumer and spend money. (And before you say "But the remote came with the TV, it was free", remember the batteries in your remote control aren't. You mug.)

When I was young I'd spend hours on the phone to whichever morally bankrupt and vacuous girlfriend I happened to have at the time. Sat on the stairs, as was she, and with long periods of silence from both of us. Parents would squeeze past to go and poo, occasionally loudly uttering a sarcastic comment intended for the ears of whoever was on the other end of the line. My dads favourite was "Are you talking to Michelle again?" knowing full well that I'd get asked "Who's Michelle?" and have to try and explain what a piss-taking bastard my father was. (This eventually led to me searching out a girlfriend called Michelle. Funnily enough, basing your choice of partner on how much potential there is for your father to take the piss really doesn't work.)

If you, like me, remember those halcyon days yourself, the knotted, coiled flex, the shivering in the hall and missing Blind Date, you'll remember the phone had one cable. This cable went in to a box on the wall. At some point someone thought "Wouldn't it be great if we could take the phone anywhere in the house with us, and lose it?" then went ahead and produced the cordless phone. How many cables does that have, and where is the new one plugged? It's plugged in to the power supply you're paying for. It is, admittedly, using a tiny bit of power most of the time, but how many of these things, as a nation, do we now have? How many consumers paying an extra few pounds a year for juice they wouldn't need if not for the fact they simply can't face having to get up and answer the phone. Are we really that busy? So, now the phone rings, and we pause the television. With our remote control. If you have a partner then at this point they can go and make you a lovely cup of tea. If you're lucky enough to live in an area where you can purchase sliced bread, maybe they'll make you some toast too.

Escalators. For fucks sake. Wherever there is an escalator, there is a lift. Just give us stairs. If we can't manage the stairs we'll use the lift.

 Motorised golf trolleys, priveliged bastards!

Travelators, that people annoyingly stand still on. Way to miss the fucking point. They're designed to get you there quicker, not get you there without burning a fucking calorie.

Automatic doors. Last week I stopped outside Subway and waited for the door to open. I actually walked to the next door before realising the original door wasn't broken, it simply required pushing. I am ashamed of myself.

Automatic soap dispensers. Oh you fucking idiots. What do your kids do after safely and hygienically getting soap on their hands? Don't they turn on/off a tap? And if you've got some posh, contactless, h2o delivery system don't they turn the door knob? And if you've an automatic door on your loo, you're a bit of a prick. Also, kids eat stuff, off the floor sometimes. They play with worms, clamber up bacteria infested climbing frames and quite possibly masturbate. Just buy soap.

Febreeze. Wash your things. Clean your sofa. When people see you buy Febreeze you can rest assured they're thinking "Scruffy bastard."

Those key rings containing a disc the exact dimensions of a one pound coin, so that you can get a shopping trolley without putting a pound in. You get the pound back, you spent 99p on your stupid fucking key ring. If you still can't figure out why it's a ridiculous notion then just give me your email address (and bank details, for security purposes. Please include your mother's maiden name and the last three numbers on the back of your card.) and I'll explain more fully.

The way we're going there will be no resistance movement when the machines rise up and take over. We'll all be queuing to get a decent pod and be hooked up to the Matrix.



  1. That was a good laugh - thanks.
    And I thought I was the only person who rolled their eyes at those automatic soap dispensers and all the things they have to touch before and after.

  2. I work in packaging. In this country you can buy a frozen sandwich in a box, in case you can't handle making your own. I try not to complain about all the stupidity I see daily, since it pays my mortgage. But seriously...