As we leave Christmas behind, I am reminded of the visit I made to Waitrose just after Christmas to get some coffee and milk. As I looked down the aisles I noticed amongst the shelves lots of large green boxes.
For many of us, planning our Christmas meals, we order main courses, sides, party dishes and desserts from our favourite supermarket and then as the big day approaches, we try to get through the crowds to pick up our orders. Often these orders come in plain boxes, and in the case of Waitrose green coloured boxes.
The reality is that not everyone comes and collects their orders. I also suspect sometimes people pick up their boxes, having only paid a deposit and leave the one or two they don’t want before leaving the store. What is the story behind those forgotten or left behind green boxes? We may never know, but it did get me thinking about what those stories could be?
Was the order placed and then personal circumstances changed so the order was never picked up. Was it something drastic and awful? A sudden admission to hospital, redundancy, something worse! The meal might not have been cancelled, just reduced in size and numbers. They didn’t need as many joints of meat as they ordered, that boneless stuffed leg of lamb gets left on the shelf.
Maybe it was less dramatic, maybe that unexpected invite meant that a massive festive feast was no longer needed. The need to cook a large meal disappears, the order is ignored.
Could it have even been forgotten, maybe an order was placed elsewhere and a solitary green box was ordered and then forgotten.
Amongst the green boxes on the shelves was a vegan party pack comprising red onion bhajis, crisp sweet potato nibbles, and some dips. Was this ordered and then left behind? Were the vegan friends that were originally invited over for Christmas drinks and nibbles now unable to attend? Had the daughter broken up with the vegan boyfriend? We will never know for sure.
In a large green box was a large shin of beef. A huge joint that required extensive time, five plus hours, in the oven to cook. Maybe this isn’t what they thought it was, maybe they thought it was a pre-cooked beef shin that had been slow cooked and only needed heating up in the oven.
I know that sometimes when I have picked up an order, what I get is not what I expected and I feel a little disappointed. I can quite easily imagine ordering an expensive green box, looking inside, thinking, that is not what I was expecting, and leaving it in the store.
What are the stories behind the green boxes, we may never know.