I had a bit of a shock at my local Sainsbury’s last week. On a provisioning trip to stock up on my favourite tiger-based breakfast meal, I chanced to spy the sign dangling over the aisle in question. It simply said “Children’s Cereals”
Children’s cereals? Looking around I could see that they had segregated all the packets with cartoon animals, elves and cowboys from the less excitingly-packaged fare. Presumably tiger- and monkey-free cereals are judged by J Sainsbury PLC to be Adult. Serious, responsible boxes of flattened corn and wheat. Cereals that do their taxes and stay out after 9pm.
Shuffling over to the newly-designated kiddie section of breakfast products, I experienced a strange disquiet. I, a grown adult, was now, through the miracle of aisle signage, buying Children’s Cereals. For myself. The filthy beast.
I could feel the suspicious glances from the betrolleyed mums trundling past me. They could smell a childless adult at 50 paces. They knew I wasn’t picking up a 750g packet of Sugar-Coated Tigger Flakes for twins Jermilene and Terrilene; there was something about me that screamed Cereal Offender to the breeders and their spawn in this now-partitioned aisle. In the space of a few seconds, I had gone from carefree shopper indulging my breakfastorial preferences to deviant filth preying on our nation’s underage cereals. I might as well flee to Thailand before the mob started shoving porridge through my letterbox.
And then I thought, what a cheek. What corn-flaking, rice-krisping cheek. Who’s to say what are children’s cereals and what aren’t? Is the mere presence of a suitably jolly character on the packet enough to warrant child status, or is there some arbitrary sugar-threshold at which point a cereal is consigned to the kiddie ghetto? Why should I be made to feel guilty for my innocent choice of morning bowl-filler?
So, what do I do now? Resign myself to the bland adult section of the breakfast aisle and foreswear tigrish goodness forever more? Perhaps some enterprising soul will take pity on childless Over 21’s such as myself, and open up a chain of specialist cereal stores where we can browse the aisle for our beloved breakfasts, guilt-free and in the company of our similarly demonised peers. The shop would probably be called Forbidden Packet.
What next? Surely the logical counterpart to Children’s Cereals is Adult Cereals. Proper cereals for proper adults, catering to today’s men and women on the go. War Flakes, as eaten by Andy McNab. Birds Bikes and Bran with a free poster of Jodie Marsh inside. Not forgetting That’s My Wheat! with a cut-out guide to all the latest Corrie goss on the back.
Stuff ‘em. I refuse to be dictated to by the supermarket cereal czars. I shall not be parted from my favourite frosted flakes of yum. And you know why? Because they’re great.