I read with interest that some of our major supermarkets here in the UK have been taken to task for displaying Easter Eggs before the end of the year. I don’t understand why they have had a ticking off now. They do it EVERY year! We noticed the Egg delivery on Christmas Eve in 2012 and they were available for sale the day after Boxing Day.
Obviously the supermarket calendar is different to the one that we, Joe Public, go by. In business, you have to anticipate and cater for public demand, but to us logic goes out of the window, yet as consumers, we are happy to contribute to their profits.
In my post What month are we again (Sept 19) I talked about Christmas cards being in the shops just after the kids had gone back to school after the Summer holidays, yet before the clocks going back, Halloween and Bonfire Night. You could argue that people with relatives and friends Down Under or in the States etc like plenty of time to get their gifts and cards in the post for the festive season. OK, I can buy that.
I have just checked our calendar in case I’d hibernated, and Easter weekend this year is 18th – 21st April. Yes, APRIL, and today is only January 2nd.
It’s no wonder then that so many people succumb to temptation when SEASONAL ware like this is available almost 4 months before the due date. I can think of no-one who would be needing to buy chocolate eggs NOW for an event in April.
My hubby is a chocoholic. If there is a square of the stuff in the house, he will find it. I had strict instructions not to buy him his usual chocolate Santa for Christmas or any of the other choccy goodies I have in the past. However, it is tradition that I ALWAYS buy him a chocolate Father Christmas, so this time I got round the issue by purchasing 2 children’s chocolate Santa lollipops, wrapped them up disguised as a cracker, and he was perfectly happy.I thought there was no-one to touch him until I worked with one particular lady who purchased a pack of 3 large chocolate Easter eggs for her Grandchildren. Not once, not twice, but FIVE TIMES. Her argument was that she had fancied some chocolate one evening and before she knew it, she’d eaten all 3, so had to replace them (and often). Obviously the shareholders love people like her.
From what I can remember, you could buy a pretty large hollow egg with a couple of mini eggs or chocolate bars to match last year for as little as £1. I haven’t seen any this year yet as we aren’t due to do any shopping until next week, so by then there should be plenty to choose from. I wonder whether they will have a good shelf life. I mean, mince pies traditionally for Christmas were easily available before December, and the first lot I bought had a best before date of Dec 18th. Hm, and yes, we did eat them beforehand, just in case. The principle was the same as I had to buy (and hide) some more.
Lent, the forty days before Easter, is supposed to be a long, strict religious fast when people give up all rich food. The day before Lent starts is Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day). Supermarkets sell flour, eggs, milk, lemon juice, fruit, sugar, golden syrup, all the ingredients (I use anyway) for pancakes all year round. However, in latter years, we’ve seen the instant ‘Shake and Pour’ batter bottles for perfect pancakes hit our shelves a month or so beforehand with an inflated price tag for the convenience. The rich foods and sauces we may have become used to are now replaced with cheaper options as most of us tend to eat as well as our budgets will allow, be it Lent or not.
There is something special about Easter Egg chocolate though. The taste and texture is totally different to the every day bars we buy throughout the year, even those for Christmas. Easter Egg chocolate is thicker, creamier, melts in the mouth better, and doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste like many of the every day offerings. Is this then the reward for ‘fasting’? Something rich, smooth and delicious above the norm? Velvet on your taste buds, silk in your throat, bliss in your tummy?
The supermarkets and other outlets don’t see it as anything more than supply and demand.
If you buy early, it’s good for business. Excellent for profits.