Saturday, February 19, 2011

friday night at lidl

friday night at lidl, originally uploaded by Joker the Lurcher.

herself has been a little flakey of late and has been signed off work with stress, hence the lack of blogging on my part. stress has many symptoms, one of which seems to be an inability to face the ravages of supermarkets. as himself has been otherwise engaged this has meant that the larder has become somewhat depleted.

yesterday herself decided to pluck up courage to visit the local co-op to pick up some essential provisions. my boy was feeling a little under the weather with aches and pains and asked her to pick up some paracetamol for him. herself drew up in the car and looked for a space. there were quite a lot of spaces and she was not planning on being there long so she left the car at a rakish angle and collected her bags from the back. as she got out a small child, whose mother was strapping an even smaller child into a people carrier, started to shout and wave his arms. it appeared that he took exception to the way herself had parked her car.

"mummy, that lady has taken two spaces!"

the mother tried unsuccessfully to turn his volume down.

"but mummy, look!" he continued.

herself by now was mortified. she has quite a big social conscience and generally tries to do the decent thing wherever possible. the prospect of being thought a sociopath by a small child was too much for her in her fragile state and she very nearly got back into the car and left. all that stopped her rushing off in tears was the thought of the paracetamol for my boy.

walking swiftly into the co-op whilst avoiding the gaze of the judgmental 4 year old, herself grabbed a basket and found the hypochondria aisle. she shovelled 2 packs of paracetamol and 2 packs of ibuprofen into the basket and grabbed a carton of milk before running out of bravado and heading for the checkout. but her shame was not over yet. the checkout lady looked at herself's purchases and rang her bell to summon a colleague.

"am i allowed to put all these drugs through?" she called over. it seems you are only allowed a certain amount of pain at a time. fortunately herself's purchases were of two sorts of drugs and were therefore acceptable. by now she was very keen to leave.

later on mrs toby came round. after a bowl of spaghetti with cheese and tomato the talk turned to shopping and how difficult it was. mrs toby has issues with supermarkets herself and was able to empathise wholeheartedly with herself's experience at the co-op. she confided that, only that same evening she had been compelled to seek out the warm and well-appointed toilets in the very same co-op in order to gather her thoughts before carrying on with her shopping. in fact she may well have been sitting there while herself was having the collie-wobbles.

it was agreed that there was safety in numbers and, as mrs toby pointed out, it was important to purchase provisions before all the food ran out. a plan was formulated to go to tescos that very evening. mindful of the previous outing to tescos herself said that she would be more comfortable with lidl, where she knows where things are and where hers was not one of the mugshots on the security desk. a check on the interweb showed that lidl was open until 10pm and the fearless pair therefore set off without further ado.

when they arrived at lidl the car park was deserted apart from one car that was just leaving. herself parked, again rather rakishly. she was just taking this photo when mrs toby came back from fetching change for the trolley.

"i suddenly thought you might look a bit mad taking a photo of an empty supermarket carpark so i thought i'd better get back quickly," she explained. had i been there i would have pointed out that taking photos of empty supermarket carparks is the one of the least mad of herself's foibles.

they went into the shop and spent a leisurely while collecting foodstuffs. then they got to the central aisle. regular customers of lidl will know that the central aisle is a wonder of the modern world. you never know what the theme will be, other than that it will be a surprise that a not very large supermarket has a market for whatever it is. this week's theme was horsewear.

the pair fell upon the rugs and saddle pads with glee, finally selecting a saddle pad each for the magnificent bonzo and toby and a special rug for bonzo for when he is sweaty. these were remarkably cheap (for my horse-owning readers the pads are £4 and the rugs £6 - get along while stocks last!)

by now the pair had begun to attract the attention of the security guard. this may have been partly to do with mrs toby's famous high-viz yellow shopping jacket, which rather stands out. or it may have been that they were both rather muddy, having been involved in horse-related activities earlier in the day. either way, once they carried on round the shop they were followed closely by the guard. they were also followed by a lady in a grey suit who spent more time than is natural examining the labels on things as uninteresting as bleach and not buying anything. this is a sure sign of a store detective. herself had a job once as a store detective and knows all the tricks. (her store detecting career was short-lived due to her only arrest being one of someone who turned out not to have stolen anything.)

herself refrained from approaching the security guard with her 'i'll have you know, my good man, i am an upstanding member of the legal profession' speech, on the grounds that she did not have any proof of this on her person, and anyone looking at her would have laughed at such an assertion. they finally paid for all the shopping and loaded it into the car, discussing the security guard and store detective.

"i think the security guard fancied us," concluded mrs toby.

mrs toby has great faith in the pulling power of a high-viz jacket...