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Toothpaste saga

‘Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to purchase a tube of toothpaste for me.’ Thus spake Mr J when asked if there was anything in particular needed from the supermarket.

I am aiming for a modest trip, on foot, and I willingly agree to such a small (and therefore light and easy to carry) request, but this is actually more complicated than it sounds.

I had already failed, on the last occasion this request was made, to purchase the correct type of toothpaste. I had correctly identified the make (Arm & Hammer) and the name – or at least ALMOST the name – but unfortunately the item I had put in my trolley had three additional letters in that name – PRO. And this was not the only additional item – there were also micro beads of some sort added to the paste. Had I realised this, and not been duped by the similarity of name and box design, I would of course also have realised that this was a very bad thing for our environment and would most definitely not have purchased it. But even with my varifocals, this was a feat beyond me in the aisle next to the Pharmacy where I try very hard not to breathe very much for fear of inhaling germs through my mask. (Oh dear, I fear I am getting worse. I’ll end up as some sort of hermit – hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world.)

So, I was on a mission.

Initially this was motivational – hunt down the right one! But after visiting several unaccustomed supermarkets and health emporia (multiple branches of Boots and even a Superdrug), I came to the conclusion – backed up by a later interweb search – that no-one stocks this previously readily available version but that, to counterbalance such scarcity, there was an abundance of different types of toothpaste on offer. Completely bewildering. All of them clearly the very best option, according to their blurb.

Does he want baking soda or charcoal? I love the idea of the latter – perhaps useful when required to blacken teeth for a fancy dress character, and of course Hallowe’en is coming up. But is seems that these days, charcoal actually makes things whiter. 

Should I purchase a paste which apparently has added crystals? Is the word crystals actually code for ‘tiny plastic beads’ (which are bad for the fish and ultimately the whole food chain) or does it really mean crystals which might, or might not, be much safer and ecologically sound?

By the end of my traipse around town, I pretty much ceased to care. 

He’s making do with Colgate – and I’m hoping that he has no spectacles in the bathroom with which to try and read the ridiculous list of ingredients, just in case there is something awful in there.

To be honest, this whole sorry saga has set my teeth on edge.

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