Sideswipe: December 6: Pie Face

Specialness spirals

Have you ever bought something and then never found the right time or occasion to use it? Researchers now are calling it “nonconsumption”—and it may explain how clutter accumulates. Why do people own so many unused possessions, treating them as though they are too special to use? It might be a pair of shoes or a fancy soap. When people decide not to use something at one point in time, the item can start to feel more special. And as it feels more special, they want to protect it and are less likely to want to use it in the future. Psychological “specialness spirals” mean you can have so much stuff you’re waiting for the right time to use, hence it becomes clutter.When buying a dress, tell yourself you’ll wear it this weekend. Or when purchasing a candle, plan to light it that day. This strategy should limit how often you consider – but ultimately forgo – using things, and encourage you to actually enjoy your possessions. (Research by Jacqueline Rifkin, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Via The Conversation)

What, no Manu?

Chef gets prison time for 'rushed' Shepherd's Pie

John Croucher served up a shepherd’s pie in 2018 that ended up giving 32 people food poisoning, including one woman who died. Now, the former head chef at a UK country pub has been sentenced to four months in prison after conceding that he’d circumvented food safety protocols to save time. “I think I was rushed,” the 40-year-old said of the meal he prepared for a church congregation. In Court, the judge noted “the mince was not cooked properly and was placed into a pan with iced water. Croucher needed to leave, so put the mince in cling film and put it in the fridge overnight”. He came back to cook it and mix it with the mashed potatoes but didn’t bother checking its temperature before serving it, she said. Croucher told the court that despite the “horrible, horrible circumstance”, he’s learned a lot from the incident. “Remorse is an understatement,” he said. “This is something I will never forget. Because of it, I am a better chef, and it is just a shame the cost of it had to be what it was.”

Why grandma doesn't swim

“My 5-year-old grandson noticed that I seemed to favour my left leg,” writes Maureen Adsett. “Sitting next to me, he was tracing my kneecap and noticed that it didn’t look quite like the other right side. Why is this knee bumpy Baba (Baba being grandmother or nana in Croatian)? I explained – well I had to have my kneecap replaced as it was not very well – with a Titanium one, which is like a light steel – which is in there now. ‘Oh!’… he said beaming.’That’s why you don’t go for a swim – because it will get rusty.”

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