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  • Writer's pictureRachel

A sugary humanoid

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

On 19th July 2020, Gregg's gave me a free “sweet treat” for my birthday. Funnily enough, I haven’t frequented Gregg’s all too often over the past few months. I remember downloading their app for the free welcome coffee whilst I was on an intern’s wage...their coffee, though fair-trade and cheaper than most places, tastes kind of like, I haven’t really used the app much since.

Though, if there’s ever a contender to the woman upstairs when it comes to food-related decisions, it’s my inner spend-thrift. Maybe it’s all part of my problem of not believing I deserve to spend money on quality foodstuffs, but... I don’t know, there’s just something about grabbing a bargain that somehow makes food taste even better? It’s an oddly gratifying experience. Soon to be out-of-date smoked salmon for 75p? Yes, please. Some slightly dodgy looking Candyfloss grapes at half price? You bet. 

On 31st December 2020, my Gregg’s freebie was set to expire. So, after a couple of weeks of deliberating how I could make this work within my limitations...on 31st December 2020, I made the decision to walk to my local Gregg’s and claim the sweet treat that was rightfully mine. 

I’d already decided, through prior market research (in which I am a seasoned expert), that my freebie of choice was to be the humble gingerbread man. I suppose they are more like androgynous humanoids than men, but either way, the gingerbread person is a solid choice, if I don’t say so myself. Festive, comforting, and with a complimentary cheeky grin to boot. Not to mention those super cute buttons! 

I felt like a teenage boy asking a girl out on a date as I rehearsed my combined coffee and gingerbread order in my head on the way. I don’t know why I felt that this was necessary...I spontaneously order plain coffee all the time. But, anorexia loves the yes, mental rehearsal seemed in order. 

When I arrived, the lack of queue in Gregg’s was unnerving. I had to go straight up to the counter and order, which reinforced the indispensability of my cognitive practice. Thankfully though, the whole event was over in minutes. There was a full tray of gingerbread men on display, and my coffee came in one of their special Christmas cups (sadly, COVID is still preventing use of my KeepCup). I wandered home in the winter sunshine, drinking my coffee, with the gingerbread that should’ve cost me 90p safely in pocket. I was feeling content and at peace with the world. 

However, the real challenge began once I got home and realised that now I actually had to eat the darned thing. The cheeky little smile on his face suddenly appeared more sadistic than cheerful. Determined not to prolong this saga for too much longer than it needed to be, I resolved to have the entire man consumed by the end of the year. I had approximately 12 hours.

My initial plan was to conquer it one third at a time in three intervals throughout the day. Though after chickening out at the first hurdle, I began to wonder whether this ordeal might span into 2021 after all. 

Decapitation occurred around 16.00 hours GMT. Writing “cup of tea, plain yogurt and a gingerbread man head” on my food-monitoring sheets for my therapists felt quite obscure. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep doing this. The thought of writing “an arm and a leg of a gingerbread man” felt even more unsettling, so as it approached 21:00 hours, I launched myself boldly into the abyss. The body was consumed in one. 

A truly thrilling NYE, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Though, as nobody partied very hard this year, I like to think that the fact it involved a decapitation means my day was on the more exciting end of the Tier 4 NYE quality scale.

More importantly, the year ended with a victory. Granted, a slightly bizarre victory. But hey, I’m 90p richer and another one-up on the woman upstairs going into, I remain hopeful that the New Year may involve more decapitations and similar enterprises. Perhaps, next time the semi-cannibalistic feasting will even happen all in one sitting.


“Courage is found in unlikely places.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

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