I have a very sweet tooth. I love most desserts, oozing banoffee pies laden with cream and dulce de leche, apple crumble with it's partner in crime of a sweet slick of yellow custard, the sharpness and crunch of a lemon meringue pie. If I could eat desserts all day, I would.
But this unfortunately just isn't practical. So instead, I carry around sweeties with me in my pockets, handbag and anywhere else I can store them. You never know when you might need a lemon sherbet to suck on! Haribo is always a perfect after-dinner treat! My desk at work is over-flowing with strawberry laces and chewy fruit sweets in their bright paper wrappers. Everyone in the office knows that they can rely on me, should they need an afternoon sugar fix.
The downside of this habit is that it gets pricey, and also sometimes inconvenient. My intense desire for sugar at nearly all times will see me trudging to the supermarket in the rain, the snow, with feet that are supposed to be raised above my head due to some lovely steroid-based side effects.
When at the supermarket, and looking ahead of me at the rows and rows of Pick & Mix, the jelly beans glistening under the artificial lighting, the chocolate mice looking up at me, asking me to choose them with their tiny chocolate eyes, I slip into child-mode. I take a giant jelly strawberry, my favourite, from it's clear plastic box and pop it into my mouth and chew. I take a few and drop them into the paper bag, before selecting a cola cube and slipping it into my mouth and savouring it under my tongue while I select a handful of apple laces and place them into the bag too.
After choosing a few more select items, I am done, but not without taking a block of vanilla fudge, "for the road" and chewing on it while I make my way to the till. And I don't feel bad about it. The Daily Mail reported this week that I am not alone.
A survey has revealed that I am among the 17% of people who take Pick & Mix sweets and don't feel guilty about it -- why is this? Do I feel entitled to them? I don't think I do, I just can't seem to help myself! I want to try before I buy!
The study revealed the top 10 items people take without feeling guilty.
93% of people take hotel shampoo and other items. I am so, so guilty of this. Whenever I stay in a nice hotel, or even a crap one, I always completely empty them out of miniature shower gels, shampoos and sewing kits regardless of the fact that I will probably never use them at all.
88% of people will use someone else's unsecured Internet. Yep. I've done this. But only on holiday when I was DESPERATE to check my emails. Does that make it OK?
55% of people will take restaurant condiments. Now, this is a little blurry -- do they mean sachets of mayo? Because yeah, I'll take 20 of those. But full size bottles of ketchup? I'm not sure I could fit them in my handbag to be honest.
Erm. Probably best not to look in my glass cupboard. NOTHING TO SEE HERE.
27% of people will take office stationery. I don't really have much use for Post-Its or a hole punch outside of work, so I probably wouldn't bother. I probably have a whole drawer of branded biros though that I've "borrowed" over the months. That's not stealing though, is it?
22% of people would take a colleague's tea or coffee. NO WAY. People who do this are dead to me. There's nothing I hate more than people taking each other's things in the office. Once, someone ATE MY CHEESE from the work fridge. I have never been so mad. I can see the irony here that I got so crazy about someone taking my cheese when I have a cupboard full of Kronenburg 1664 glasses but I've just got some fucked up view of morality OK?
17% of people are like me and like to taste those delicious pick and mix sweeties before they buy them. They'll need to put bear traps on them before I stop doing that.
11% of people take supermarket fruit. I wonder if this means just tasting a grape when they are walking around doing their shopping, or stuffing a pineapple up their jumper and doing a runner? Guilty of both. (Joke.) (I think)
8% of people will take the rubbish little pens you get at betting shops/IKEA etc. To be frank, if IKEA are going to sell me delicious sexy horsemeat in those meatballs of theirs and try and pass it off as cow, the least they can do is let me take a pen or two, non? This one I think separates the real wheat from the chaff. Those pens are rubbish. I think you've got to be a real klepto to bother pocketing them. Kleptomania is the inability to refrain from the urge to steal items for reasons other than personal use or financial gain. I do. I can't help it.
3% of people would take flowers from a park! EVEN I WOULDN'T DO THAT.
Over the years, I have collected a myriad of pointless items, liberated from various restaurants, shops and public spaces. What about you? What do you feel is acceptable and unacceptable on the above list? Would you ever take someone else's cheese?
I'm on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM