The other week I tried to buy a box of biscuits. Unfortunately it was two days after the indicated sell by date, and the whole stock was the same.
I asked the girl what would happen to this pile of biscuit boxes and she told me that they would have to be thrown away. I couldn’t help but be struck by the incredible waste!
We all know that dates on food have a certain flexibility.
Some items will go years beyond the dates stamped on the outside while other things it would be risking serious gastric consequences to ignore.
What is commonly agreed is that the dates definitely need revising.
Until some organisation grasps the nettle to campaign for changes we are stuck with the system, which in a world where there are those who go hungry is criminal.
It is clear though that some foods have their set life and once beyond are only good for the rubbish heap.
It is a scenario that has parallels.
There are different ages where certain ideas, practices and materials are common which are then superseded by other concepts.
The horse and cart gave way to the motor car, audio cassettes gave way to CDs and handwritten letters have given way to emails.
Even how God is regarded has gone through different stages.
As a society though this throwaway concept insidiously creeps into how we treat our fellow human beings.
There is a culture where even people are regarded as ‘past it’ and so effectively thrown away by society.
The elderly can so easily fall into that category.
An elderly and increasingly infirm relative can be put into a home so that they are no longer a hindrance to the younger family members; someone with a degenerative illness is marked as a suitable case for euthanasia, and so on.
Maybe we should learn something from the recent cyber-attacks on computer systems.
Over reliance on the new in favour of the old is a trap.
So long as we have pen, paper and the skills all is not lost when emails break down.
Are we boxing ourselves into an age which can be so sabotaged or break down that we are left totally and completely helpless?
Just like ideas about God changing over the ages and yet he is still consistently dependable as he ever was and as he ever shall be, we perhaps need to be a bit slower in scrapping the old in favour of the new. We need to hold on to the things of quality and value and not simply throw something away just because it’s old.