The Twitter Sensation: Folkestone Toddler Nearly Eats Slightly Out Of Date Pasty
By Tim Prater
Front page of the Folkestone Herald (if you excluded the advertising wrap-around) on 25 August had the headline of "Out-of-date pasty is sold to young mum: Toddler took bite of food three days past its sell-by date".
The story, such as it was, was about a local Mum who had bought her two year old toddler a meat and potato pasty in "99p Stores" on Sandgate Road in Folkestone, and had snatched it away from her child after it had taken a bite of it having noticed it was three days out of date. Child slightly ill overnight (although whether or not that was due to the pasty is questionable) and when the Mum went back to the store, she was offered a £5 voucher by way of compensation for selling an out-of-date 99p pasty.
A classic "Slow news day" story - I would guess many stores have from time to time sold out of date food by accident: whatever systems are in place then errors happen. Equally, the pasty is not reported as rotten, filled with maggots, green or even stale: it was beyond a "sell by" date which tend to be several days before the food is actually likely to have gone off. The shop appears to have offered not just a refund, but compensation (OK - not thousands, but really - it was a slightly out of date pasty). And?
And: a week later, the article (which had been discussed on Twitter by a number of local people as pretty much a non-story at the time) suddenly goes "viral" on Twitter, with hundreds of people posting tweets such as "STOP THE PRESSES! You just *have* to read this week's Folkestone Herald http://t.co/LeMG4aM". Mainly suggesting it was this weeks paper, which it wasn't. Any suggestion that the ramping of this article was to boost the profile of the Folkestone Herald, and its journalists (who are nice people, honest!), prior to the proposed sell-off to its local rival newspaper group would of course be unfounded.
Folkestone currently has a major art exhibition running (the Folkestone Triennial), has a forthcoming nationally renowned Folkestone Book Festival, one of the Country's only Ska Festivals (the Skabour Festival) this week, and new restaurants up and running (such as Mark Sargeant's Rocksalt which is gaining a lot of national newspaper attention and, as far as I'm aware, has never sold a pasty).
There's lots of good things happening in Folkestone. It's more than a bit sad when the local newspaper runs "disaster" headlines about problems in the town which, really and truly, don't merit it.
Oh, and yes, I've put a picture of the front page in question with this article.