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A cheesy tale

Fat Mum Slim /

So, I bought some cheese.

If you’re expecting a wildly exciting post about celebrities, wild adventures or anything remotely mind-blowing… you’re in the wrong place. But read on.

I did pay $12 for a small tub of cheese though. I was at the markets, realised I needed cheese for a salad and bought some, straight from a goat. Well, I don’t know if it’s straight from a goat, but it’s goat’s cheese feta and I think that’s kinda expensive {I imagine that darn goat wears a crown and sports a gold tooth}. I paid $12 because I had family over, had no time to get to the supermarket so I weighed it all up and $12 cheese it was. Awesome.

Another useless piece of information: When I was dairy-free for a while, I splurged on that cheese often and I know it’s so very good.

So we’ve now clarified that I did indeed purchase some cheese and paid the sum of $12. That bit is clear.

The next step was getting home, making the salad and it was only when I was at the cheese dressing stage of the salad that I realised the cheese was out of date. Gasp. Shock. Horror. Utter disappointment.

The use by date read: 13/04/14.


Normal people might taste the cheese and figure out if the cheese was indeed off. But that won’t work for me. My mind will tell me it’s off. I can’t eat food that is out of date. It pains my food-daring husband often. My sister tried some cheese, declared it past it’s use-by-date. That was it. NO CHEESE FOR YOU.

The next week at the markets {last Saturday} I meant to take the cheese back to the cheese dude, but I left that tub sitting back at home. I wasn’t planning on returning it with an outraged, “YOUR CHEESE IS BAD” but just in a “hey, I bought this and it’s old, can I grab another” way.

It’s at this point when I realise I might need a hobby, because SWEET CHEESES I’m writing a post about CHEESE.

So I walk up to the ‘kind’ cheese dude, who had no one at his stall, and say, “Oh hey. How are you? I bought some cheese from you last week.” He nods, half smiles, and acknowledges that yes indeed I did buy cheese. “When I got it home I realised that it was out of date.”

His response, smile leaving his face, “No.”

My reaction, “Oh.”

Six point seven seconds of awkward silence.

I hate awkward silence so of course I filled that space up with babble, “Oh, well. It says on the sticker that it’s out of date, so I just thought it must be.”


“Oh, OK. I must have it wrong. I just thought that it said on the sticker that it was out of date.”

“You’re reading the sticker wrong.”

I put my tail between my legs, apologised for being such a cheese baffoon and headed home.

And you totally know I checked that sticker when I got home. I couldn’t have been wrong. AM I WRONG?


So now I can never face the cheese man again, out of pure frustration and because I feel like a cheesy FOOL.

I’ve decided that there are three types of people in the world:

1. Those who would go back to the markets and get their $12 back with gusto
2. Those who are too mortified to ever eat cheese again, let alone talk to the cheese guy
3. Those who actually have a life and could not give two hoots about cheese but might ask for a refund back for the time it took to read this post {equal to $12, I’m sure}. Make an orderly line outside and I’ll organise your refund as soon as possible.

Which person are you?

P.S. I know you’ve probably been anxiously waiting to hear what happened with the cheese. I’m sorry for all the sleepless nights you must have endured. So VERY sorry.

Last Saturday I ventured to the markets with my out-of-date cheese. I nervously approached the cheese dude. I suddenly thought, “WHAT IF HE READS MY BLOG? WHAT IF HE’S WAITING FOR ME?”

Cheese dude does NOT read my blog. From what I can tell anyway.

I reminded him of the week before when I’d told him about my out-of-date cheese. He remotely remembered. I pulled my cheese out of my granny trolley. It was in it’s own baggy, so it may well have looked like a drug exchange, only it was cheese. I showed him the sticker. No shock. No apology. I was right {YAY!}. He was wrong. But the cheese, the cheese was most definitely in date {the top date should have read 2015, not 2014}.

So I was sent home with my baggy of cheese.

And you know what, for a while there I was all, “I’m not even going to eat that cheese because I’m over it”. And then I made a salad and was cheese-less and so I served it up to my family. Just like that.

And we’re all still alive.

Was there ever a happier ending?

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  • ok i laughed out loud several times during your story. take the tub back to the guy and ask him to tell you how to read it. if he cannot tell you how those numbers work any other way than how you read it, ask for another! and by all means, let us know what happens!

  • You are entitled to a replacement or your money back as it is out of date. My understanding is use by means don’t eat after that day, where as best before suggests it is still ok to eat after the suggested date. I agree with Susan go back with the tub or is there a phone number you could call today. Use by must be the bottom number which is 13 October 2014 as that is past the other date ( 13 April 2014). I presume it has a 6 month shelf life.

  • Wendy

    You’re not reading that sticker wrong. It says use by 13 April, batch number 13 October. So if it’s not out of date, he’s labelling them incorrectly. I worked in manufacturing for over 8 years, so I know how to read useby labels.

  • Mount Chick

    I would have read the use by date as the bottom number as well – 13 October 2014 – so it depends on when you purchased the cheese? I’d take the whole tub back though (or show him the picture) – as that way the man can clarify it for you πŸ™‚

    • I bought it on the 1st of November. πŸ™‚ I’ll probably just leave it, and get my cheese elsewhere.

  • I would be totally dissappointed in buying $12 cheese and coming home only to discover its out of its use by date. I am just totally miffed to think this guy was so arrogant to think a customer isnt worth listening to and that he is the only one that could be right. I know you do get the odd customer who might try and pull the wool over ones eye, but seriously he could have handled it so much better. And having been in business its all about keeping the customer happy. Best form of advertising is word of mouth…worst form is also word of mouth. Its the most expensive $12 cheese he ever sold!

  • planet8crafter

    Just no? With customer service like that he doesn’t deserve your business!

  • 12 bucks is a lot for a pot of cheese. And out of date cheese at that. (I’m like you, once I know something is out of date, I can’t go near it, let alone eat it!) I’m an A and B – totes would have taken it back but would be too shamefaced to grace his cheese stall ever again. Not that I would want to grace his cheese stall ever again with customer service like that!

  • Sara

    I’d take the tub back (& the receipt if you still have it), remind him of your previous purchase & subsequent visit, then show it to him and ask how exactly it should be read (for the record I agree with your reading). I’d expect a new tub or a refund of my $12.

    That’s like 3 visits to my favorite coffee shop πŸ˜‰ ….I wouldn’t just let it go.

  • Okay so I don’t have much guts when it comes to stuff like this but I think I would take it back. Whichever date it is it was still out of date and if it was taste tested and tasted off then definitely out of date. Writing about cheese isn’t such a bad thing.

  • I would definitely be taking it back. Alternatively if it was out of my way, chalk it up to experience and never go back there.

  • I’d take it back and ask him to show you how to read the numbers and then give him a gracious “out” by saying that maybe it had been mixed into his current stock by mistake. And if he doesn’t take that gracious out then I’d be mighty tempted to hand him your business card and say “No problem… I’ve had about 20,000 ask me which brand so I guess I’ll tell them. Have a great day now.” But that’s because I’m not quite as nice as you… but we know that already. πŸ™‚

  • How disappointing πŸ™ The way I read that sticker the cheese IS out of date. You’re braver than I approaching these cheese guy, well done even if you didn’t get a good outcome. I think you should take the tub back to him and ask him to explain it though.

  • Holly

    Oh cheeeeses!
    I think I would do all of the above, except the never eat cheese again part….. I could happily live off cheese

  • I would take it one step further and take it back again reminding him that it was indeed out of date and if he didn’t either efund the money or give you a fresh one then you will take it up with the operators of the markets. If was more friendlier then it wouldn’t be such an issue but to be plain outright be told NO. That is NOT on. I can’t stand how people like this manage to turn the situation around so that we walk away feeling like its our fault and we are overreacting. Put your big girl panties on Chantelle and tackle him again next market day. You go girl.

  • Kelly NH

    I would take it back. Challenge accepted :o)
    I worked in manufacturing for so many years, part of my job was to make sure all products that left our facility were labelled correctly (we had a big export market as well, with lots of labelling variations). Massive fines can occur if they are not. We would have been practically crucified if we had let a product labelled like that (assuming it is back-to-front?). Im shaking my head also at his massive disregard for you as a customer.

  • First of all, I am a big cheese phobic but I still read your cheesy post and it had me giggling! I love your witty writing!

    But yeah, it is totally obvious that the cheese has clearly expired – there is no mistake in reading that! If it was the American style of writing dates, it would STILL be expired.

    You are not a cheese fool but that cheese dude is! πŸ˜›

  • Could simply be a personality trait. Quite a hard one to navigate in retail/customer service.
    He might be on the spectrum. He believes he’s articulate in his job, therefore there’s no reason why he’s made a mistake. Therefore.. Maybe that’s why you got a gruff response.
    Give him a second chance πŸ™‚

  • Adrian

    I am amazed at your ability to reel me into read this article, which was thoroughly entertaining, I was genuinely curious about your cheese story πŸ™‚ I would totally take that cheese back, but I am curious if maybe they have labeled it incorrectly because it seems weird the batch number would be after the use by date? I would have imagined that the use by date would be after the batch date. I also agree about with the person who commented on the labelling – I would imagine they are breaking a regulation law because it definitely isn’t clear in regard to use by date and the batch #.

  • I would take it back and ask him what the correct way to read it is … because unless we all have the year wrong except him, that cheese is outa date o.O Don’t walk away without a refund x

  • gilly

    Wait…I’m confused by what he is saying?? Both those dates are out if you bought on November 1… Funny read BTW!! πŸ™‚

  • Woah good luck with your business cheese man, with such excellent customer service, low prices and fresh products you’re one savvy operator! I’m sorry but this post isn’t about cheese, or whether its lame to return said cheese, it’s more about people…and Ol cheesy doesn’t sound like your kinda people! Maybe he’s bitter from all the goat milking….

  • I don’t eat/drink anything past the sell by date and if I buy something past its sell by date, I take it back. I would read your cheese as manufactured on 13 April sell by 13 October that is how our labels normally work. If you bought your cheese on 1 Nov it is past the sell by date and I would take it back and not shop there if he has a bad attitude to a mistake

  • Narelle

    I agree with all of the above comments. No matter how you read it it is out of date & you deserve a refund. If we are all reading it wromg (which is doubtful) then how does he expect you to read it? I was giggling as I read your post & I would like a follow up ( hopefully with a positive result πŸ™‚ )

  • How rude! No matter how lovely the cheese vendor is normally, that’s no way to treat you. I’d take it back for sure. And I’d be suggesting he checks all his stock!

  • Seeing as my family have nicknamed me “The Rotwieler” I can hand on heart say that not only would I have gotten the $12 back but also a complimentary cheese for the inconvenience of having to educate the cheese dude in reading labels which clearly say ‘use by 13102014’!

    Funny post though, especially the food-daring husband part, I have one of those too lol πŸ˜‰

  • Alexis

    The only thing your wrong about is it was out of date in october not april.

  • The cheese may not be expired: there’s the chance that the batch is 13/10/2014 and use by is 13/04/2015 and who printed the label made a huge mistake with the year. But you should go and ask him, the label is wrong anyway and you are entitled to ask for an explanation! (and a refund or a new cheese pot if the cheese you bought is expired)

  • I’d be mortified! Forever mortified. BUT – if it was my very favourite cheese ever then I’d have to sort it out and face the cheese guy, just so that I could go on eating the cheese. Maybe you’ll be doing him a favour by showing him the sticker? There might be whole batch of incorrectly stamped cheese! Or loads of grumpy customers who spent $12 on out of date cheese. I’d like to know that, if I was a cheese dude. And if he takes it the wrong way I’d never buy his stinkin cheese again.

  • Arvonne

    Doesn’t matter what the date is. Your sister tried it and it was spoiled. Tell Cheese Man his temp is wrong, his container was not sealed correctly or his date is expired. You don’t care which reason he prefers. You want your 12 bucks back and you want to speak to his supervisor so he/she can retrain him on how to interact with a customer.

  • kate

    Hang on what? I don’t follow? I would read that label to be production date and the bottom use by date. Would fresh goats cheese really last until 2015? My dear I think your cheese man is a con!

  • I would ask someone to explain how the date works. I work in a bakery, everything has an expiry date. Some of our customers read the year ’14 as the date and will ask us if the product is outdated and we will explain how the numbers work. If in doubt take it back, especially if you have the receipt.