The perils of selling easy peelers

My darling friend Ally is continuously frustrated by her shopping experience in her local Tesco supermarket. Whilst she was scanning and packing up her purchases at the DIY till, she couldn’t find the price of her tangerines. It’s bad enough having to adjust (temporarily) to a job to which one isn’t completely suited (for one reason or another) without the additional nuisance of being unaware that the supermarket has its very own secret vocabulary.

easy peelersShe waylaid a Tesco assistant. “Where do I find the price of these?” she asked, waving the tangerines about. “I cannot see the name clementines, tangerines or satsumas under the fruit symbol. What does Tesco call these little round orange things?

Oh, those are Easy Peelers” replied the lady. Ally wasn’t keen on this answer.

That is a description of the fruit! A descriptive word is an adjective, not a noun. Tangerine is a noun. It’s the name of the fruit.” Ally is frightfully good on her grammar.

The lady from Tesco was adamant. “No, those are Easy Peelers’!” This was a bit of a mistake on the assistant’s part. You don’t ‘truck with Ally’, certainly not with so much confidence. Huge mistake! The bottom line was the Tesco employee had a short, sharp lesson in the stupidity of calling the tangerines ‘Easy Peelers’ for many reasons, not least being that children shouldn’t grow up to think oranges of any size are called ‘Easy Peelers’ as opposed to their real given name. I am pretty sure “stupid” was bandied about with gay abandon.

Another time, my friend was swiping and bagging her weekly shop when everything shuddered to a grinding halt. The till buzzed and flashed. Ally hadn’t bought any bottles of alcohol so she couldn’t understand what item needed authorisation.
A Tesco assistant (who looked about thirteen) sauntered over to my friend. “What on earth do I have that needs authorisation? I haven’t bought any alcohol today.”

It turned out that vanilla extract was the culprit. “That is totally insane… one would have to drink 1,000 litres of vanilla extract before you would have alcohol poisoning. Do you imagine that heavy-hitting meths drinkers all sit around saying, “Hey, you really should taste that vanilla extract, it’s got a hell of a kick!” The Tesco employee couldn’t respond to Ally’s question (not being a meths drinker herself). However, she probably decided to siphon off a few bottles of vanilla extract to share with her friends later.

I recently looked up vanilla extract online at Tesco but it was, at that time, ‘unavailable’. Maybe there had been a huge surge of desperate drinkers simply dying to get their hands on this tiny little bottle. Or could vanilla extract be deemed so intoxicating and potent that one now needs a prescription for it? No wonder those contestants on The Great British Bake Off look so jolly all the time! Far too much vanilla extract getting sloshed about.


As we like to be helpful at CountryWives, we thought you might find these definitions from The Good Fruit Guide for the various round orange juicy fruits that are available in supermarkets:

Mandarins: Mandarin is the name given to all types of easy-peeler citrus fruit. Although the name is sometimes used on retail packaging, this is actually the collective name for all easy-peeler type citrus fruit, which are thought to have originated in north-east India or south-west China. The broad similarities between these types are of a small to medium size fruit, rind that peels away quite easily, sweetness, a distinctive flavour and popularity!

Satsumas: are a distinct type of mandarin which are soft and very easy to peel with juicy sweet but mildly flavoured segments. It originates from Japan in its modern form of 3 or 4 varieties, such as Okitsu and Mihowase. The rind is very easy to remove, the fruit is quite delicate, and the flavour is mild with a delicious tang and background sweetness. They are also very juicy, with soft segments, which is part of the attraction. Satsumas are seasonal as they do not store well and there are few late season varieties, so there are gaps in availability in January / February and August / September.

Clementines: The name describes the majority of easy-peelers on sale over the year, so is quite a loose term for a whole range of mandarin varieties.

Tangerines: There is no firm definition of a Tangerine, but the term tends to be used for late season varieties that are more firm and less easy to peel than a standard clementine-type.