OF all of the impromptu educational opportunities that eddy into my life as a parent, perhaps least likely was someone else’s breakfast. But here we are. The viral image, branded a “monstrosity” by the diner, prompted me to talk to my kids about gratitude and graciousness.

The perfectly edible dish was deemed so aesthetically sub-par that it was considered news by the Mirror, The Sun, HuffPo, Liverpool Echo and more. It was no Heston Blumenthal effort, but it was ostensibly an honest plate of grub. Apparently, we’ve become so miserly that we think nothing of sneering at other people’s efforts and inviting everyone to join in on the fun. We’re not talking about the big stuff here, like holding the people who run the country to account when they are steering us off a cliff – I’m talking about poached eggs.

The dish in question was a plate of eggs Benedict, the American brunch dish that has made its way across the ocean and onto the menus of almost every eatery more formal than a greasy spoon. As the anecdote goes, a Wall Street broker stumbled into the Waldorf looking to quell a hangover. True to habitual cravings of such a diminished state, he sought refuge in the usual place: carbs, eggs and bacon. The maitre d’ took notice. With a bit of polish (English muffins instead of toast, sliced substituted sliced ham and a dollop of hollandaise), and you have something you could sell to the most discerning of customers. One has to assume he never imagined it being served in a Tesco cafe.

Now you would think that when most people order food, they might reasonably expect the quality to be commensurate with the type of eatery. Given that a supermarket cafe is synonymous with a full English, a pot of tea and maybe fruit scone, you have to ask what a hotel brunch dish was doing on the menu in the first place. A dish that requires culinary skill to make well, being made not by an expert, but by a “cafe team member” earning £7-£8 an hour, working part-time and shifts. A worker with little job security when a customer complains and a social media stushie erupts.

What pisses me off most about this is that it’s emblematic of something I see every day; how acceptable it has become to punch down on social media. So often we think nothing of turning other people into a spectacle for our own and others’ amusement.

When you post a picture like this you are ultimately taking a shot at a low-paid worker, likely just doing what they can to make ends meet. They are likely in the job they could get, rather than their dream career. They’re doing the best they can with cheap ingredients and minimal training if any. If anything, it’s Tesco we should be raising an eyebrow at – if you want restaurant quality pay for a chef. If you’re not willing to do that, defend the staff you’ve set up to lose.

The saddest thing about this instance is how quick Tesco was to acquiesce to the customer and publicly throw their employee under a bus. Who knows if that worker still has a job today? All because some sneering young man decided to tell the world that his breakfast wasn’t pretty enough.

Watching the way media outlets scooped this up and turned a wee plate of food into a grotesquery for the ravenous masses makes my heart sink. It’s just so unpleasant and unnecessary.

You can bet everyone jeering, retweeting and posting sick-face emojis has hoovered up a Pot Noodle or soggy Ginsters pasty with little concern for its beauty. It seems with our use of social media to document the minutia of everyday life, the media picking up on non-stories like these has helped turn mocking other people into a national pastime. It doesn’t feel good to know that someone went to work, came home, and woke up to be the butt of a national joke.

What worries me most is that this scoffing happens so often that we don’t see it for what it is: little more than scaled-up playground bullying. The ones who can afford a fiver for breakfast on one side, the ones who earn little more than that per hour on the other.

However you like your eggs in the morning, surely this isn’t it.