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Crumbs! The £2 loaf has arrived

By Squinter

MARK it in your diary. Remember where you were when you heard the news – just as you remember JFK, Elvis, John Lennon and Beyoncé’s pregnancy. Such an epochal moment deserves to be seared into the memory banks of every one of us concerned about the past, present and future of this planet of ours: Squinter has just seen his first £2 loaf.

He’d like to say he saw it coming, but he didn’t – not really. Oh, sure, world commodity prices have taken their toll on the price of our bread, as they have on just about everything else. But with the most expensive loaf of bread hovering hitherto around the £1.70/£1.80 mark, Squinter would have supposed – had he given it any thought, which he didn’t – that it would be well into next year, or even the next, before the £2 loaf hit the shelves. But it’s here. Now. Today.

Get used to it.

As is so often the case with horribly overpriced items, Squinter’s £2 loaf was spotted in the mini-mart section of a 24-hour garage but we’ll draw a kindly and totally undeserved veil of anonymity over its name and location for fear that people might go there just out of morbid fascination.

And it wasn’t the kind of loaf that might attract a high price in a bijou bakery stall at a farmers’ market or in a high-end city centre deli. It wasn’t an elaborately latticed focaccia hand-made by Italian immigrants using Tuscan marble rolling pins; it wasn’t a Danish morgenbrød with authentic Afghan poppy seeds. It was a bog-standard medium sandwich white pan in a plastic wrapper whose sell-by date was just six hours away. And, of course, it wasn’t only £2, because retailers never round anything up. It was actually £2.05.

Squinter didn’t buy it, needless to say, but others had clearly paid up because only four or five loaves remained.

Things can only go downhill from here – or uphill if you’re a retailer. Because just as your electricity and oil goes up when the market is volatile and stays up when it’s settled, so the price of a loaf will continue to nose up until the no-longer-magic £2 mark becomes the norm – and is then quickly becomes old and, well… stale.

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