I was amused to read recently that supermarkets were mystified as to the sudden passion for the humble carrot sweeping the nation; more specifically, swiping the screens of supermarket self-checkouts, to the extent that Britons allegedly bought 800 million more of the orange denture-denters last year than they did in 2013. Perhaps shoppers had finally heard the Medieval rumours about them being a cure for sexually transmitted diseases, and with syphilis up 20 percent year on year considered it a convenient and crunchy way to swerve embarrassment at the doctors.
But no, the merch in question wasn’t humble carrots at all, but a flighty fruit much loved by the airheads of Instagram – they were expensive avocados, which wily thieves have been scanning as the cheapest loose vegetable by weight. Senior Criminology lecturer Emmeline Taylor told the Times: ‘I was working with retailers to reduce shoplifting when one major supermarket discovered it had sold more carrots than it had ever had in stock. Unfortunately this wasn’t a sudden switch to healthy eating – it was an early sign of a new type of shoplifter.’
Thieving from amiable robots is nothing new – more than £3billion of goodies are subjected to a five-fingered discount each year as the dear mechanoid blathers blithely on about its bagging area, bless it. Almost a quarter of shoppers have admitted to stealing something in this way, but I’m not one of them – as a former teenage county champion shoplifter, I’d feel humiliated by the lack of skill and challenge involved in stealing from an eyeless android. I wasn’t surprised when Ms Taylor added that the scavengers may not even see it as stealing; ‘This behaviour is perceived as cheating the system or a way of ‘gamifying’ an otherwise mundane routine.’ In short, it’s the chosen vice of virtue-signalling sneaks lacking the nerve to straight-up steal from under the nose of a sentient being. And how perfect that the heist of choice should be avocados, the cat-nip of the snowflake millenial who hangs on to their worthless virginity until they’re approaching the menopause, who uses clean eating as a front for their dirty anorexic secret and who can’t take a dump without sticking it up on social media.
These people have what I call INWILL Syndrome – It’s Not What It Looks Like. INWILLs are people with a singular lack of self-knowledge combined with a vast overestimation of their own integrity which leads them to believe that they can do one thing and preach another thing and have no one call them on it.
It’s not just hypocrisy, which has a furtive element about it which at least suggests that the practitioner lives in the real world and is aware that his deceit would be frowned upon; INWILL, on the other hand, has an air of actual delusion about it, as though the person believes they can be invisible at will, or that other people can’t read.
INWILL can be personal – married celebs who separate announcing that they will be Going Forward in Mutual Love and always be Best Friends when there are Sentinelese islanders aware of how much they loathe each other – or political – the Corbynites who seem to believe that it is possible to be both anti-racist and anti-Semitic at the same time.
It can be physical – Raheem Stirling whose tattoo is there to remind him to ‘never touch a gun’ but who has missed out on two other good inky memos-to-self such as DON’T CUT HERE across his neck and DON’T PLUNGE INTO NAKED FLAME on his right hand – or fiscal – every penny-pinching do-gooder banging on about the evils of capitalism while indulging in tax avoidance on a scale that would make the late Robert Maxwell grow pale and silent in awe.
It can be about sex – liberal woman-abusers from Weinstein to those brosocialists who terrorise TERFS in the name of diversity – or sensibility – the Miss America Pageant which will allegedly no longer be about beauty. But you always know it when you see it because of the sheer molten surrealism of the size of the gap between what people preach and what they practice.
I have both personal and political experience of INWILL right in my own backyard. I know retired prostitutes who routinely tut-tut at young women showing off – for free! – the beautiful bodies the Lord gave them. And it’s a given that in my ‘burg of Brighton & Hove it’s always the homes with the VOTE GREEN posters in the windows who have the filthiest front yards.
Of course, we’re all only human – I call myself a pescatarian, yet whenever my carnivore spouse has some meaty treat – sorry, ‘poor murdered animal’ – on his plate, I watch his progress like a particularly predatory hawk and the minute he gives up the goat I will be on it like a car bonnet with many a weasel word about how it would be the final insult to the dear dead creature to chuck it in the bin when it could be providing me with the nourishment needed in order for me to further the righteous cause of anti-carnivorism.
In the olden days you could get away with the tired old saw about hypocrisy being ‘the tribute vice pays to virtue’ but if you commit INWILL without my cheery admission of what a ludicrous anomaly you are, people will quite rightly write you off as a lying rat-bag whose pronouncements might be better used in a public convenience rather than for the public good.