I bumped into one of my customers the other day. It’s been a while since I’d seen her.

“Where have you been?” I asked. “I was worried about you.”

“I’ve been lying low,” she said, doing this ducking motion, like a soldier in the trenches avoiding incoming fire: “keeping my head down.”

She was pulling one of those shopping trolleys. It was obviously packed to the brim.

“I’ve just been to the new shop,” she said. I guessed she must have meant Aldi. She lives on the top of Borstal Hill. Even so, it’s quite a trek.

Shopkeepers in the town are worried about the new shops at Estuary View. I don’t think they have much to fear.

It’s not Champs the Baker or Longs the Butcher who are threatened: it’s Tesco and Sainsbury.

People who live near the town will still use the High Street. The threat there is from the High Street supermarkets.

Personally I never shopped at Morrisons and I was pleased when it failed.

I had a flatmate who was signing on at the time. He’d been threatened by the Job Centre. He was told he had to take a job at Morrisons, despite the fact he’s a qualified teacher.

It was minimum wage, and virtually a zero hours contract. He was told if he didn’t take the job he would be sanctioned.

Such is the relationship between Job Centre enforcers and the low-wage economy.

At least Aldi pays its workers well and offers all the proper benefits, like sick pay and holiday pay.

It’s a German company, and that is one of the reasons for its success. Aldi workers are much more relaxed than people who work in other supermarkets, which contributes to the atmosphere in the shop.

Anyway, back to my customer. She said: “I’ve only got one complaint.” And she mentioned the name of a well known TV magazine and told me its price. “£1.75!” she declared, in mock outrage.

She said she’d spoken to the Assistant Manager and suggested a much cheaper magazine.

“It’s for the workers!” she added, only half-jokingly. You could almost imagine her doing the clenched fist salute.

*******

From The Whitstable Gazette 23/03/17

The editor welcomes letters on any topical subject, but reserves the right to edit them. Letters must include your name and address even when emailed and a daytime telephone number.

Send letters to: The Editor, 5-8 Boorman Way, Estuary View Business Park, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3SE

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email whitstablegazette@thekmgroup.co.uk

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