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19th Apr 2018

A car got beaned in Cumbria and we’ve got some questions that need answering

Bean there, done that.

Ciara Knight


‘Beaned’ is a term that I have coined to describe what happens when something gets covered in beans, baked or otherwise.

Here is what has happened. This is what we know. Deadline have reported that a car in Cumbria got beaned.

The driver, Emma, left her car in a carpark that’s used by workers in BAE Systems, a place that makes submarines.

When she returned to her vehicle, Emma noticed that her car had been BEANED.

For legal reasons, I cannot include the actual image, but I have drawn a reconstruction of what Emma found upon returning to her car.

Emma explained online:

“So I got back to my car today to this – I wouldn’t mind but I asked someone if it was ok to park where I was they said it would be fine and I was by no means blocking any gate! So whoever you are go tell who you like and tell them how your vandalised my car! To be honest the whole car park is terrible to get round and some houses back onto it which is what I am supposed to have blocked. I just think what a sad world we live in to do that to someone’s car. The note fair enough if I have annoyed you, fine, but the beans! I’m a single mum working two jobs and trying my hardest but when something like this happens – yes it’s funny but it’s also time I don’t have to waste cleaning them off my car. As far as I was concerned I was not blocking any gate and I even asked another employee if I was parked ok and they agreed it was fine. I also noticed when I returned to my car, a resident was able to park their car through one of the gates I apparently blocked”.

The post has rightfully gone viral on Facebook and various other social media websites because it is by all accounts utterly insane.

Naturally, I’ve got some questions.

Precisely what amount of displaced beans are we dealing with here?

To gain further clarity on the situation, we need to work out precisely how many beans were delicately poured onto the roof of the car. Having seen the original image, I can assure you that the beans were delicately poured because they’ve held their shape impressively well. Splattering the beans would’ve surely released some of the vandal’s pent-up frustration, but the beaner for some reason took a gentle approach for reasons we may never truly understand. Anyway, we need to know how many tins of beans were spilled onto Emma’s car.

A standard tin of beans weighs 415g, with approximately 465 beans contained within. In dealing with the image of beans that I cannot include for legal reasons, I split it in half and decided to count the larger side of beans. I put a tiny dot on each bean so that all would be accounted for and so I could sleep soundly tonight knowing that I’d done as accurate a job on this investigation as possible. The total I got was 185 beans. I then doubled that amount and got 370 beans. Now, I’m not a moron. I noticed that the right side of the bean spillage was smaller than the left, by about 30 beans or so. So we’re looking at roughly 340 beans on the car. But a standard tin of beans holds 125 more that that. So where are the unaccounted for beans? Were they consumed prior to the beaning? Or are they still in the can? Something doesn’t add up here. Did this sick filthy vandal have a couple of spoonfuls before he did the deed in question? It seems so.

Where did the beans come from?

We already know the motive for the beaning. Emma was parking in what the perpetrator deems to be an unfit carpark space. But we now need to get our heads around why someone would commit such a heinous act. Was it premeditated or carried out on a whim? Well, to answer this one we need to look deep inside ourselves. Take a minute to complete this exercise, if you will. At this exact moment in time, how close are you to a tin of beans containing no less than 340 beans? Personally, I would need to walk two minutes from the office to buy some beans, assuming they’re in stock. Some might have them to hand, others could potentially need to travel to the nearest stockist.

The issue here is whether the vandal’s attack was planned or carried out on a whim. Did he/she deliberately purchase beans on their way to work with a view to carrying out a beaning, or did he/she reach breaking point and expressed their frustration with the nearest item to hand – their lunch? The presence of a lengthy note must be taken into consideration here. He/she had enough time to write a note (using a sheet of notebook paper), so there’s an abundance of thought gone into the attack. Surely the beans were the first item to plan, then the note, then the specific area of the car to bean was decided on. I’m inclined to believe that the beans were bought specifically for this purpose. Spaghetti hoops would’ve been funnier, but this isn’t about humour. This is vengeance.

Why was the car roof specifically targeted for beaning?

If you’re going to bean a car, the most obvious area choice is the windscreen. The driver will have to clear the beans before they drive off, which they can do with the aid of some washer fluid and by putting the windscreen wipers on the highest setting. The vandalism is unmissable, as it’s the first thing the driver will see as they approach the car, or failing that, right as they’re about to drive off, it will obstruct their view. Beaning a car’s roof is like throwing a cream pie at someone’s kneecap. You always aim for the face and similarly, the windscreen. That’s an unspoken rule in the beaning community. So why the roof?

In essence, it seems more cowardly to bean the car roof, as the driver might not notice it straight away, nor does it obstruct their view while driving. But here’s the fact coming at you hard: The roof is more difficult to clean. You’re going to have to use some implement to clear the beans away before you start driving, otherwise the wind will displace them all over the car and even onto the cars of fellow road users. Beaning the roof is a far more sinister act, as the driver has to think quite literally on their feet about how they’re going to rectify the situation. We’re dealing with a real piece of work here. This is an experienced and malicious vandal. This wasn’t a one-off.

Why was the note decorated with smiley faces?

Upon inspecting the note which again I cannot include for legal reasons, there are precisely 3.5 smiley faces decorated on the page. But. For. Why. Why would someone bean a car, leave a snarky note and then add some smiley faces for good measure? This isn’t as innocent as sending a risky text to your friend that annihilates their character slightly more than usual so you throw in a quick ‘lol’ at the end to soften the blow. This is a handwritten note. A means of communication that’s been around since the year 3000 BC. The paper has been taken from a larger notebook and you can tell that it’s a fancy one because it hasn’t even got page markings. We are dealing with a sociopath.

The smiley faces surround the lines “…and we will also go to the council. If you want a proper parking space wake up earlier”. That’s the chosen area for some comic relief, even though it’s the most threatening part. Emma doesn’t have time for this bullshit. She found little comfort in the presence of some poorly drawn smiley faces, as she is fully within her rights to do. If you’re going to bean a car and leave a threatening note with it, own it. Own your actions, don’t shy away from confrontation with some smiley faces. The vandal is scum, dangerous and still at large.

What became of the beans afterwards?

Put yourself in Emma’s situation. She’s just returned to her parked car to find that it has been beaned. Beaning is something she was previously unaware of, but now it’s a thing that she has to deal with head-on. She reads the accompanying note and her rage grows. How does she deal with the beans on her roof? With a handbag and unsuitable tools contained within? This situation demands a squeegee, plenty of water and even some gloves if there’s any lying about. None of those items are available to her at present as she is in a carpark.

Does…. Does Emma eat the beans? I apologise, but I have to cover all possible outcomes here. Does she eat them? Does she wipe them off with her hand or the nearest item available to her? Does Emma, in a moment of madness, invite the local alley cats over for a party? What does anyone do in a situation where their car has just gotten beaned? Personally, I am driving straight to the nearest carwash facility. If those beans fly off mid-journey, so be it. The motorway and other road users shall too be beaned. Then I’d get home and eat beans for dinner because for some reason an unshakeable craving would dictate my evening. Nobody beans me and gets away with it. I will bean myself, for nutrition.

Where do we, as a society that now has to deal with beaning, go from here?

We need to accept that beaning is now a thing. It can happen anywhere and at any time. It’s likely that copycat vandals will take up beaning in light of this story going global. It’s even more likely that one of my idiot friends will bean my car after reading this because they are all scum. So what can we do? Personally, I feel we should embrace beaning. Getting beaned is incredibly frustrating and inconvenient, but it’s also quite heartwarming. Someone has gone to the trouble of purchasing a tin of beans and pouring it on your car. That’s a lot of effort to go to. In a way, that’s what love is.

I think we can all move forward from this beaning having learned something. If someone has annoyed you, don’t take drastic measures. Simply talk to them, try to get your point across and urge them to listen. Don’t jump straight for the beans, communicate. If all else fails, fine. What you do after that is entirely up to you. I’m not condoning beaning, I’m just saying that we need to acknowledge that it’s a genuine thing that can happen at any given time. Beware of beaning. But also, lol.