Calvin's sister, Li, who owns and runs veganstore.co.uk, asked me to help her on her stall at the Cruelty Free Christmas Fair yesterday. I jumped at the chance, because for years I'd listened in wonder of tales of the crazies who go to these shows, and I wanted to see them for myself. Plus I secretly quite like playing shop.
Once I got over my paranoia that people would be able to tell that I enjoy barely cooked steak and wearing leather just by looking at me, I really, really enjoyed myself. And whilst I knew being vegan isn't at all easy, with so many things being on the no-no list like meat, diary, or KFC Bargain buckets, I never appreciated all the little things someone who wants to be cruelty free can't eat, like fudge, jelly babies, white chocolate or marshmellows. And it's because Li sells all these things, and especially the little tuck shop bags of sweets, that meant we were completely swamped all day. We started the day with nearly 1000 bags of mixed, gelatine free lollies like licorice all sorts, jelly beans, dolly sweets, and within 4 hours had sold out completely.
At the end of the day, Li sent me home with loads of vegan chocolate and a couple of bags of vegan soya based cajun bacon flavoured jerky. Being a fully fledged meat eater, I feel strange about eating something I know is completely cruelty free, so I in order to keep a balance in the universe in check with the amount of cruelty I inflict on animals when I normally eat something, I am forced to punch the Flatmate everytime I eat a piece of the delicious dark, milk free chocolate. And to bring balance to the force, after a day spent being at a vegan fair, when I got home the Flatmate made me a lovely dinner of net caught tuna and pasta, with added dolphin for flavour.
As for the crazies? Unfortunately I didn't meet any of them, as every one was just incredibly friendly. Though, I did have a very wierd conversation with one wide eyed woman about soya milk:
Lady: "Do you sell soya milk? I'm looking for soya milk".
Me: "Soya milk? No, but we do have this vegan whipping cream, just in time for Christmas"
Lady: "Whipping cream? Cream is made with milk."
Me: "No, no, this is vegan whipping cream. It's made with soya "
Lady: "Cream? No I want soya"
Me: "This is soya."
Lady: "You said cream? This is a vegan festival you know"
Me: "No, this is whipping cream made of soy. It's completely vegan"
Lady: "No, I want soya milk, not soya cream. Didn't you hear me? Do you sell soya milk?"
Me: "No" (me thinking: oh go bugger off.)