Can you guess how many doctor's appointments people booked, then failed to turn up for without cancelling, in 2022? A few hundred? A few thousand? Nope. Over half a million. That's right, half a million or, to break it down into an equally mind-boggling bite-size piece, just under twenty thousand per day.
We are told on a regular basis how difficult it is to get an appointment with a family doctor within a decent time frame and yet, it appears, much of the responsibility is ours. We just can't be bothered cancelling an appointment if we realise we don't need it. That's why it's also quite common to come across bags of bananas stuffed between packets of cheese and onion crisps in the local supermarket.
First we think 'Mmmm! I'd love some bananas' and so we put them in a bag, weigh them up and pop them into our trolley, whistling a merry tune. Three and a half minutes later, in the manner of a capricious four-year-old child, we stamp our foot, stick out our bottom lip and sob to ourselves 'No! No! I don't want bananas any more, I want Monster Munch. Beef flavour, actually.'
This is where a chap really needs to stand up and be counted. We're faced with three options on these occasions: buy the bananas anyway, take them back to where they came from or, quite shamefully, dump them in the nearest empty space so that some other poor sap can do our bidding for us.
Judging by the random selection of items scattered willy-nilly all around my local supermarket, the last option is very much de rigueur in these parts.
When we get home, simultaneously bereft of bananas and physically oppressed by the weight of Monster Munch, it may be that we open our email to discover another friendly reminder (we also received one last night) that we have a doctor's appointment at one thirty that afternoon. Extraordinarily, in a miracle worthy of Lazarus, our athlete's foot has recently cleared up and we decide we won't be needing the appointment after all.
Again, we have three options: attend anyway and mention that bunion that's been troubling us since 1996, decide not to attend and cancel the appointment (it takes about thirty seconds online) or, shamefully, decide not to attend and toddle off to the pub without so much as a by-your-leave.
Every single day, in Malaga province, it appears that about twenty thousand presumably sentient souls opt for the last of these three options.
I bet their larders are jam-packed with Monster Munch.