The beckoning temptation of aisle 2

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“Aisle 2 carries the innocuous signage of ‘Confectionery’, ‘Crisps’ and ‘Soft Drinks’ but should be labelled, ‘High Cholesterol’, ‘Morbid Obesity’ and ‘Heart Attack’, says SARA MILNE

BEFORE reaching the shores of this lucky country, we were issued with dire warnings; beware of deadly redback spiders crawling under your pillows, of snakes building nests in your shoes and always check for cockroaches in the toaster. 

Sara Milne.

But there is a particular area in the quiet suburb of Manuka, measuring three metres by 15 metres that has proved to be more deadly than all of the above combined. Throw in COVID-19, TB, Spanish Flu and you begin to get the picture. 

It is aisle 2 in Coles’ supermarket. It carries the innocuous signage of “Confectionery”, “Crisps” and “Soft Drinks” but should be labelled, “High Cholesterol”, “Morbid Obesity” and “Heart Attack”. 

My husband discovered aisle 2 very early on in our move to Manuka and spent many a happy hour perusing its shelves. His obliging offers to fetch butter, eggs or milk enabled him to take the scenic route, via aisle 2, and if certain crackly packages were to fall into his trolley, well, what’s a body to do? 

Something had to be done. We tried simple aversion therapy. No, not a cruel cattle prod but a gentle, persistent pinch to the forearm on first sight of those neon crisp packets. It failed to do the trick. 

Only an outright ban on entering the premises would suffice. Alas, following several contraventions of that ban I had to introduce the bracelet system, a device usually enjoyed by offenders on day release. It worked very well for a while. 

An alarm would sound on my phone to alert me that he had entered the forbidden zone and a SWAT team would descend and drag him kicking and screaming out of Coles. 

But something wasn’t right. Like all recidivists there were clues right under my nose that I failed to recognise. A general air of contentment accompanied by several unexplained trips to the boot of the car, the sound of soft plastic being ruffled, bulges under the couch cushions and a faint fragrance of Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut chocolate wafting through the air. 

I was suspicious but I could not find a flaw in my system. He convinced me that the cause of his contentment was solely his newly purchased chickpea salad and cottage cheese terrine. I ran several tests. He had found a way of circumventing the alarm system by introducing malicious spyware. 

And then. The final catch out. When he thought I would be away for the day, I came home to find, what I can only describe as two bags of pure diabetes, on the kitchen table. Crisps, biscuits, chocolate, cake, you name it, it was there. Remember Augustus Gloop? 

I channelled my inner Willy Wonka and told him that if he did not remove these bags from my line of vision I would force feed him the stuff and make pâté de foie gras out of his sorry liver. 

He laughed and seductively waved a packet of Doritos in my face. My Achilles heel. I ADORE DORITOS! I MUST HAVE DORITOS! I WILL KILL FOR A PACKET OF DORITOS! 

Now I skulk around aisle 2, looking for those yellow crinkly packets… just one packet… just one, that’s all. I can stop whenever I want to…

Sara Milne has come to Canberra from overseas with her husband and daughter. She has lived in Canberra for the past three years. 

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