I am on a very long journey and keeping on budget is of importance. I am staying in a lovely and recently renovated Airbnb terraced house in Tottenham Hale which is in North London. Tottenham Hale has an underground station and is near regional train and bus stations. It is an ideal location for visiting the London sites within minutes.
This is a working class neighborhood that makes one think you are on the set of Coronation Street. It has the requisite café, corner shop, textile factory and The Pride of Tottenham Pub.
All of the above makes this an attractive location for immigrants to settle into. Just a short walk through the local park or down the street and you can see every ethnicity and hear every language.
On a recent visit to the local grocery store, I was reminded of the famous Seinfeld “No soup for you!” episode. If you recall it was about a chef who made secret-recipe soups and ran a take-out soup shop. There was a very regimented way in which to place an order. If the patron deviated in anyway from this way, they would be immediately ejected from the restaurant and told, “No soup for you!”
The Aldi retail chain sells a large range of grocery items at discount prices. I was pleasantly surprised at the great prices! Even with the exchange rate, many items were far less expensive than in Canada. I happily filled my carry basket and proceeded to the checkout. Little did I know that there is a specific way in which to put your items through the checkout.
I placed my items on the conveyor belt and awaited my turn. I could not find a place to put the empty basket and so after the cashier, an efficient pretty blonde woman, finished scanning my items through, I motioned to the basket still in my hands and started to ask her where I should put it? She commanded me in a thick Polish accent with an impatient look on her face, “No! You keep basket!” I keep it? Confused I started to ask for clarification, when thankfully my Airbnb host who had just finished his shopping stepped in and helped out.
Apparently one of the ways Aldi can discount prices is to keep the lines moving quickly. So as soon as you have emptied your basket and your items start being scanned, you go to the end of the cashiers counter and start putting your items back into the basket. Then once the bill has been paid, you take your basket to the long table by the window and pack your items more carefully into grocery bags.
Once I got over the shock of the cashier’s manner, I realized what an ingenious idea it was and laughingly started telling my Airbnb host about how it had reminded of the “No soup for you” episode. He looked at me with a blank expression not knowing what I was talking about. With another laugh, I quickly realized that I had just shown my age and that the Seinfeld episode probably aired before he was even born!
Was it really that long ago?! Am I really that old?!