Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Strange date labelling in Larnaka

On Wednesdays, I usually spend the morning in the kitchen. I bake bread, strip the chicken (or whatever we had for Sunday lunch) and put the meat in the freezer, and make stock out of the bones and any leftover veggies in the fridge. I also make lemonade, if we have some lemons [we did], and some soup (in the winter), and usually something else as well. Today, for instance, I made the first thirty mince pies of the season.

I also try and sort out the fridge a bit. Today I noticed that we had three bags of courgettes (aka zucchini in the USA). We don't eat that many, but evidently I had been buying a few each week and we hadn't been getting through them.

So I found a recipe for courgette and tomato soup. I decided to double it, as we usually have a colleague of Richard's to lunch on Wednesdays, and Tim likes to have leftover soup in the freezer to thaw for his Sunday evening supper. Also because we had so many courgettes and I wanted to use at least four of them!

In our supermarkets in Cyprus, fruit and veg are loose; we choose what we want and put them in bags, then take them to a counter to be weighed and priced before going to the checkout. So, trying to be intelligent and logical, I decided I'd check the labels on the three bags of courgettes, and use the oldest ones.

I looked at the first bag that came to hand. The label said 21/11/2007.

21st November - OK, I thought, that's probably the oldest bag. There were only two courgettes in it, and they looked fine. I would definitely use those.

I looked at another bag. It said 04/12/2007. 4th December was last Friday. So those must be the most recent. I put them back in the fridge.

I didn't need to check the label on the third bag - either it was even older than the first, or (most likely) it was the one I bought on 28th November. But I looked anyway, and this is what I saw:

Yes, the unit price has gone up, by 4c per kilo.

AND they're only showing the price in Cyprus pounds. That's probably OK, since the prices displayed above the fruit and veg displays show both Cyprus pounds and euros.

But do you see that date? Click the picture to see it enlarged, if this image is too small. It says: 06/24/2049

1) The date bears no relation to reality
2) There is no 24th month. Perhaps it switched to American formatting, and means 24th June. But courgettes certainly wouldn't last that long in the fridge.
3) As Tim pointed out, if these are priced for forty-two years in the future, then the price increase is really very reasonable.

I wonder if they were experimenting with their Cyprus pound/euro converters on the labels, and fed the date in rather than the price...

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