Thursday, 17 January 2008

Lidl...

I can feel a letter coming on. Dear Gordon Brown, it will begin authoritatively. Please petition the House of Parliament with a legislative proposal to... Okay, I haven't yet thought out the rest of the content, but I feel aggrieved. Even though I'm not sure what they are, I feel as though my statutory rights have been violated.

At lunchtime today, I flung open my food cupboard with all the bravado of a starving warrior and sighed melodramatically. At that moment, I knew how Old Mother Hubbard felt as she shrugged sheepishly at the hungry doggy waiting patiently for its bone. As my stomach grumbled like someone walking over fresh snow, I eyed the sorry state of my personal larder. Its contents revealed the lonely remnants of food that no one ever eats. A packet of pork flavoured pasta shapes that simply just need boiling water in order to allegedly transform them into a delicious treat; half a Rivita that lost its way some time ago; an oxo cube; a curiously empty bottle of TCP and a tin of sardines that I think I've had since university but don't ever throw out as I am immediately filled with a hideous guilt. I've tried binning it before. As I approach the dustbin lid, my mind's eye liberates a thousand images of a starving Ethiopian child looking distant and forlorn as a load of flies decide to have an orgy on the end of its nose.

At five pm, I switched off my PC terminal and groaned as the monitor faded to blackness. 'Enjoy your trip to the supermarket,' my colleague chirped happily. 'Yeeeahhh...' I chuntered, unconvincingly. at 5.30, I pulled up - inexplicably - outside Lidl in Stanmore. One word fogged my mind as I entered the premises: grim. The first drama played out as I realised that I needed a pound coin to secure a trolley. I fingered my change resentfully as I totalled it up in my head. Twenty three pence and a piece of red cotton. One trip to the cash machine later and I entered the bizarre world of economy shopping.

There seemed to be no plan to the layout of the store. A variety of fruit juices blended into fizzy drinks with questionable names presented in garish colours: Fizzo orange, Trezpo cola (diet and regular, no less) and Popcob pineapple. As I passed by them, by trolley remained empty, except for the pound coin leering sheepishly out of the handle. And then the strangeness started: opposite the fruit and veg was a random assortment of things that I didn't expect to see: there were luminous yellow workman's vests sitting next to a smorgasbord of 'yoga fleeces' (I mean, what the eff?), car batteries, sewing kits, a tasty variety of flavoured condoms (citrus johnnies - yum!) Next to the disputatious prophylactics was - obviously - dog baskets and neighbouring those were toilet roll holders. My trolley remained empty and continued this way as I got to the shower gels. A range of bright colours with - again - odd names tried to tempt their way into my trolley. I picked up Opang and smelt it: vomit. I had a whiff of Torrance. It smelt of bread. Pookonk smelt like a corpse and Driftkit reeked of an unclean old woman that had recently pissed herself.

I wearily continued on and finally reached the checkout. In my trolley was a one solitary jar of olives. I took in the length of the queue (that read of a who's who of Romania's Mafia) and deserted the olives, trolley and all.

Dear Gordon Brown, my letter will begin. Please petition the House of Parliament with a legislative proposal to... retrieve my pound from the trolley that I legged it from in Lidl...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

That made me laugh out loud at work. Johnny Redpants - you're a legend!

Anonymous said...

You have just made me choke :O)
Love your work!!

Michael H said...

God, I've missed you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

spunkysmurf said...

it took an american ( I'm a born n bred brit and spoilt by mummy dearest and her passion for marks and sparks) to break my lidl virginity...that was in ealing, the one near the hospital...i was traumatised... even when you get to the checkout, the person at the till just flings your food and you barely have time to load them into your trolley, never mind pack (I was told afterwards by my american friend that you pack afterwards). Now it takes a lot for me to go to lidl... the other half insists theres summat good in there...

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