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Due to the virulent direct and collateral effects of the viral plague from Wuhan, China, in New York City, grocery shopping in Brooklyn is markedly different than in pre-plague times.  Many of my local grocery stores have replaced weekly sales with lines extending from the door.  Customers who would normally be breathing down my neck in line now breathe into masks, as do I, the cashiers, and the store staff.  On the bright side, at least most of the stores provide plastic or paper bags again.

I needn’t, however, publish an in-depth expose on socially distanced living in New York City – there are quite enough of those already, too often severely detached from the lived realities of those who work on the front lines, those who are suffering from not being allowed to work at all, and those have loved ones or who are themselves suffering from the virus  Instead, I offer a grocery store horror story from the halcyon days of the normalcy to which I hope we soon return.

The Anatomy of a Chobani Flips Yogurt

In normal times, a couple of my local grocery stores would often have Chobani Flips yogurt for sale.  For the uninitiated, the product is yogurt with two compartments, both covered by Chobani-branded foil.  One compartment contains yogurt while the other compartment contains a crunchy topping.  As the name suggests, upon opening, you may flip the topping compartment over the yogurt compartment, thus spilling the toppings onto the yogurt.  But I digress, for this is not a lesson on how to consume yogurt with toppings, but rather an expose on turpitudinous behavior.

Chobani Flips Tampering

It is sadly not uncommon to find Chobani Flips yogurts that have been tampered with.  That is, for some reason, depraved individuals open only the side of the container having toppings, eat the toppings, and leave the half-opened container on the shelf in the dairy aisle on which they found it.  For this reason, when purchasing yogurt, I always check to ensure the integrity of the packaging, lest I inadvertently purchase a disturbed individual’s leftovers.  The task is usually not difficult, for most of the debauched yogurt thieves are content with the apparent thrill of eating what are, outside of the context of yogurt toppings, crumbs.  That is, the obvious evidence of tampering indicates that, at least, their intent is not to fool unwitting law-abiding customers into purchasing their scraps.  Sadly, there are exceptions to the general rule among the vile yogurt raiders.

The tampered-with yogurt in question. Photograph taken by N.A. Ferrell with his BlackBerry Classic on December 12, 2018.
The tampered-with yogurt in question. Photograph taken by N.A. Ferrell with his BlackBerry Classic on December 12, 2018. Edited for publication by V. Gurbo.

The Most Depraved Chobani Flips Tampering

On one occasion, my diligence in checking yogurt container integrity was for naught.  Despite my best efforts, I discovered upon arriving home with my groceries that one of my Chobani Flips – pictured supra with the receipt – had in fact been tampered with.  Before one suggests that it was a failure on my part, I must speak in my defense.  The foil over the pilfered toppings sat firmly over the empty compartment, giving off the appearance of having been entirely unmolested.  It was only when I poked it in the course of transferring it to my fridge that I discovered that it had in fact been opened.  This evinced to me that one particular half-way yogurt thief was not content with mere crumb-scavenging merriment, but he or she also wanted to ensure that some unsuspecting victim would be left with the scraps.

Societal Takeaways From The Chobani Flips Incident

The most brutal revelation for me was not that I was the victim of the half-way yogurt thief, but rather that this particular half-way yogurt thief existed at all.  It is bad enough that there are people who venture into grocery stores to steal crumbs – it is quite worse when they take additional time to conceal their handiwork so that someone else unknowingly purchases the leftovers.  There is simply no excuse for this behavior.  The hungry would steal something more substantial, or at least the entire yogurt.  The gluttons would steal a real dessert.  The alcoholics would steal the beer.  Only a base individual would compromise a Chobani Flips yogurt, for I cannot contemplate any gain from the action other than to wallow in disordered self-satisfaction.  It is unsettling, to say the least, that such people walk the streets among us while perhaps seeming otherwise normal.

On a happier note, I did receive a full one-dollar refund for my fifty-percent Chobani Flip.  All is well that ends well.  Since that fateful day, I have not again fallen victim to half-way thievery, despite there still sadly being many opportunities.