Being a man of limited earnings, sometimes I see it as necessary to take a break from buying Waitrose finest premium superior Kobe steak cuts and slum it with a budget shop. I paint a much rosier portrait of my shopping exploits than I face in reality. In reality I cannot afford the free parking that Waitrose provides and that means effectively all of my shopping trips are budget ones in one sense or another.

Where I live, the Tesconian Empire surrounds me with their Express stores, which provides such outstanding value as “£1 each or 3 for £3”. So from time to time, to stop my finances looking like the annual balance sheet of Greece, I must go to Aldi.

I have nothing against Aldi in principle. Some products they sell offer outstanding value for significantly less than the branded counterpart. Sure, some products taste like a particularly poor grade of soggy cardboard but at least the price meets expectations.

What I do take an exception to is the customer service, or lack of. If you have been to an Aldi, you may know what I am getting at. The people working the checkout seem to strive for world record swiping times. I’m not sure if this is store policy or if they just enjoy the rapid beeping noises to achieve Daft Punk flashbacks, but it makes packing a carrier bag impossible unless you are the Flash.

I am not the Flash…… *lowers my voice* I’m Batman.

I have found that using a shopping trolley is a good solution to this first world problem. As soon as the item is swiped, I use the momentum provided by the speed (not drugs) addict, and divert the item back into the trolley to be taken to the bagging area and sorted there. The problem here is, you need to use a trolley. Basket users be damned.

On my last excursion, I didn’t have the pound coin I would have needed to pry a trolley from the trolley conga line outside the store, besides I don’t buy enough to warrant using anything but a basket. So I picked up my basket, proceeded to fill it with knock off brands and eventually made my way to the checkout.

I decided that in an effort to speed up the process, I would take my basket past the checkout to catch the goods as they are swiped. This ingenious plan would allow me to bag my goods after paying and not holding up the queue for the people behind me. Enter Kenneth, stage right (the generic name I will use for the cretin at the checkout).

Kenneth – “Sorry, you can’t take that (pointing to the basket) any further. It’s against store policy.”

Me – “I’m just trying to speed things up”

Kenneth – “It’s store policy so the baskets don’t get stolen. You have to put it back”

I obviously look like the kind of basket thief who takes these items as trophies of my shopping conquests. That plastic piece of crap will sit alongside my LIDL trolley and my stolen ASDA Bag For Life on my “Death to the Supermarket’s”’ shrine inside my Batcave. He must have spied me as an insurgent seeking the downfall of his beloved store.

I don’t want a shopping basket, let alone one that looks like it will dissolve when it rains. The insinuation that I could be a basket thief rendered me speechless and more than angry. I suggested that should they provide better logistics for people without a trolley, we wouldn’t be having this issue, but received no response. In fact, the only time he then spoke to me was telling me how much I needed to pay. But sod you Kenneth, I’m not paying until I have packed all of my goods carefully and diligently into the canvas bags I brought with me as Tim Minchin suggested. No level of glaring will speed me up, I’m Batman dammit.

So I settled the payment and my nerves, with my head held high and a long queue behind me (there are always innocent victims in war), I head towards the exit. The exit where a large stack of baskets stood. The urge to take one was strong and I needed an iron will to resist. Maybe I’m the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So my new Aldi basket now sits proudly as the centerpiece in my Batcave.

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