Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Spending a Little, Living a Lot

This morning I decided, for a change, to experience life from the perspective of a member of the Working Class. I therefore disguised myself as a prole and visited an Aldi supermarket in order that I might "spend a little, live a lot."

To be quite honest, the foods on offer in Aldi weren't that much cheaper than those in rival, socially superior supermarkets, so my plans to buy an entire week's shopping for less than £5 were unfortunately thwarted. However, there was one bargain which I couldn't pass up. At the entrance to the store were dozens of shopping trolleys. Admittedly, they seemed to be second hand, however, they were all on sale at the amazing, rock-bottom price of just £1 each, so I couldn't resist. You simply put your pound coin into a slot, which releases the trolley, and then walk away with the thing. (I'm unsure of the physical mechanism by which the £1 gets from the trolley slot to the retailer, but technology has never been my forté.)

Anyhow, I am now the proud possessor of a sturdy metal shopping trolley with four swivel-wheels and integral compartments for (should I wish to produce one) a baby and, presumably, some sort of shopping bag. Or perhaps it's a baguette storage area. Whatever, additionally, the handle-cum-steering device at the trolley's rear is fitted with a highly efficient brake mechanism which can be operated simply by squeezing one's fingers. I'm unclear, at the moment, how it will perform in the wet or in icy conditions, but that's for another day.

Of course, some people might ask what I want with a shopping trolley. Indeed, I'm asking myself that right now. But I suppose early adopters of any new technology must initially ask themselves much the same question. I could, I suppose, push it into a nearby canal or river. I'm not sure what the point is of this (then again, I'm similarly confused over the point to activities such as fishing and morris dancing, so what do I know?), but lots of people round here seem to do it, so there must be some degree of satisfaction to be derived. Or I could load the trolley up with plastic bags, cardboard, a sleeping bag, and cans of beer and push it around the streets while simultaneously shouting, "Are you fuckin' lookin' at me?" and "Fuck, you wanker!" at passers-by. Again, the appeal of doing this isn't immediately apparent, but sufficient numbers of people do do it, so it's yet another case of Don't knock it till you've tried it.

My only real concern is that the trolley is unbranded and therefore, as yet, confers no social cachet upon me. So before I take it out for its next spin, I will affix a Selfridges logo on to it. Then when I ram people in the back of the legs with the thing, they will instantly be aware of my up-market credentials.

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