Insider told me that 60 percent of Easter eggs sold at supermarkets fly out the door the day before Good Friday (Thursday, that is). And while many get into the spirit of Easter – that is, buying oodles of chocolate eggs and bunnies and bilbies and not-so football shaped chocolate footballs – I came across one grandmother’s favourite child who was positively hostile to the idea of being bought chocolate.
Mother and son combos are rare features at a supermarket. Grandmother and grandchild pairs are even less common – particularly in the case of grown up grandchildren with their parent’s parent. But it was this exact combination who happened to have an argument at my checkout, an argument I deemed worthy of note.
A few days ago, a pleasant (if a little hard of hearing) elderly woman was doing her grocery shopping with her grandson, a tall twenty-something with scruffy brown hair and the impatient frown of a four-year old. The grandson waited at the end of the checkout and duly collected the grocery bags and transferred them to their trolley.
After a long period of silence, the elderly woman turned to her grandson and asked cheerfully if he would like some eggs for Easter. The man responded icily that he would not like any Easter eggs and said that every time she bought them for him they ended up getting thrown out.
‘Why do they get thrown out?’ said the grandmother, who seemed genuinely confused and hurt.
Her grandson tossed her an angry glare. ‘Because I don’t like to eat them. I don’t eat chocolate and they just go to waste. So don’t get me any, okay?’
The elderly woman blinked and fell quiet again. Her son resumed the transferal of bags to their trolley.
Another quiet moment passed. Finally, hoping that I didn’t sound rude, I piped up, ‘You can buy me chocolate if you’d like.’
The elderly woman didn’t seem to hear me. Her face unchanged, she glanced down at a grocery bag as I placed it on the platform in front of her. Her grandson, however, caught my words. And, contrary to what I expected, he was amused by what I’d said.
He grinned for the first time, looking much more amiable than he had previously, and jostled his grandmother.
‘Did you hear her?’ he asked.
His grandmother turned to him, puzzled. ‘What was that?’
‘She said that you can buy chocolates for her if you like.’
The elderly woman looked at me and said warmly, in that doting grandmotherly sort of way, ‘The next time I return, I’ll buy you some chocolates.’
‘Why thank you,’ I replied, laughing lightly, relieved that my joke had been well-received.
Even more unexpectedly, the grandson started to explain to me why he didn’t want any Easter eggs. He patted his belly and said that he had eaten too much chocolate in recent times and didn’t need help in getting any fatter. I can’t remember what my response was, but internally I was comforted by the fact that he wasn’t a heartless creature who was unneccessarily rude to his grandmother. There was a reason behind his rejection of his grandmother’s kind offer, and while it may not completely excuse the tone he used with her, he was humanised somewhat in sharing his motivations with me.
In terms of this whole Easter egg receiving/giving business, I am reminded of something a young actress said in a publication I read a while ago. She said, of designer goods companies giving her free stuff, that before she hit the big time she could have really used the products but had a hell of a time acquiring it. Now that she has money, she’s innundated by designer freebies.
The Easter egg-adverse grandson has a grandmother who is all too willing to buy him chocolate. My darling boyfriend, who yesterday admitted his indifference to Easter eggs, is probably accepting little bundles of chocolate from his family as I type. Yet little ol’ me who has been eyeing Easter displays with glazed eyes is something close to Easter-egg starved. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this world is filled with many inequalities.
I may not receive any eggs this season, but I will be taking advantage of the price reductions on Easter goods on Tuesday, when major supermarkets will be open again. It is rumoured that Easter chocolate will be 50% off. I’m salivating already.