Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > A blighted future – The price of an apple

A blighted future – The price of an apple


Metropolis- Maria-children of the poor


Sometimes, the most innocuous events bring you up hard against the realities of our modern life…

On the way home today (30 July) I stopped briefly at a supermarket to purchase a few items that we’d run out of at home.

Having found the half dozen items I needed, I waited patiently in the queue at the checkout. My mind was elsewhere – mostly pondering events at the anti-animal testing rally I had covered earlier in the day.

The woman in front of me paid for her goods and walked off.

As I moved to the eftpos terminal to pay for my items, I noticed an apple had been left in the trolley, and alerted the checkout operator that the customer had forgotten to take it  with her. The operator took the apple and placed it beside her monitor-screen and said,

“No, she left it. She couldn’t pay for it.”

I hadn’t realised. I’d been so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I had not noticed the incident (otherwise I would have happily paid for it myself). The checkout operator said that in the past she had often paid for shortfalls where people were obviously on low or fixed incomes, but she could no longer afford to do it.

On the low wage that many checkout operators earn, it is tragic that the poorest paid are trying to help those who are even worse of financially.

I took a cellphone pic of the apple, sitting by the operators monitor,


apple at supermarket


When peoples incomes are so stretched that they have to forego something as basic as one single apple, then we have arrived at a sorry state of affairs.

Is this to be  our “Bright New Future”? Or have we arrived at it, already?

And is this what people expected of our smile and wave Prime Minister?

Meanwhile, the NBR released it’s 2013 Rich List…


rich list 2013


This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 31 July 2013.



= fs =

  1. Peter
    4 August 2013 at 5:09 pm

    welcome to my world. the new economic reality for many folks.

  2. 4 August 2013 at 5:26 pm

    my god have we come to this, A lady can not afford to pay for one apple… what a sad state our country is in my key, I wish i had been there to help… i am stuck for words, heartbreaking….. back to the war years

  3. 4 August 2013 at 5:32 pm

    That is so sad. Yet Dear PM would still tell us how great everything is!

    • 4 August 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Allyson, I guess in his world, everything is just hunky-dory…

      He and Paula Bennett seem to have forgotten their own experiences.

  4. 4 August 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I have long past the point where I can afford apples or any other fresh fruit and vegetables. And the cost of such food isn’t just the cost of the food but the cost of getting the food and making food edible, a point often glossed over when discussing the cost of food. At least apples can be eaten as is.

  5. 4 August 2013 at 6:37 pm

    You’re a good man, Mister Macskasy. I too would have paid for that apple…

    Key has much to answer for.

    • 4 August 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks, Henk… it’s just a shame I wasn’t paying better attention. Otherwise I would’ve put it on my bill…

      And just as heartbreaking was the lovely checkout operator. She couldn’t afford to ‘shout’ the customer on her own meagre wages…


  6. 4 August 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Life in the land of Nod, where we will have a bright future…

    4 August 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I work a full time job, and have come to the conclusion, I am not paying my half of our bills. and I couldn’t even if I wanted too. With schooling, childcare (two children), gas to work, $60 on food, and about a third of the power bill is where my money ends. Now I work under the table on the weekends to pay my ever increasing debt which seems to go up rather than down. If I was to stop working however, The savings in childcare, and the petrol money would make me $30 better off. go figure.

  1. 6 January 2014 at 6:29 am
  2. 13 January 2014 at 8:01 am

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