Photo by mightykenny

Photo by mightykenny

We have an Aldi that has opened up next to us at work.

In the past, I have a had a general hatred of Aldi. Partly because the word balding contains the word Aldi, but mostly because they have oversized barcodes. I find it difficult finding joy in packing that is 60% barcode. It doesn’t say “We care about taste, flavour, and happiness for all people”. It says “We care about scanning things quickly – chances are this food tastes like barcode and we don’t care.” So I have a hatred of Aldi.

But the fact that Aldi, its barcode overshare, and its ridiculously cheap imitation brands are within about 50 metres of my desk, they’ve swayed me. I’ve been shopping there rather regularly.

Another ridiculous Aldism has been the discovery that they have a car park underneath that is free, all-day. This seems too good to be true. There are no signs, no restrictions, just pure, unfettered, free parking. Yesterday, feeling a little guilty to get such an extravagant gift in an area that’s all 1 or 2 hour parking, I parked my car in the Aldi car park and headed off to work. I didn’t feel too guilty because I was planning on buying $1.50 worth of rice later in the day, so I was technically a customer. It wasn’t as if I was ripping them off. Who knows, it could take me 8 and a half hours to find a packet of rice. There are three isles in Aldi, it’s very complex.

As it turned out I didn’t buy my rice, one of my work friends did. Thanks Rin!

After work I headed down to Aldi to get my car out, I walked into the car park, walked to my car space, and there was no car. In fact almost the entire car park was empty. I wondered if perhaps I had misplaced my car, but no, the car park only had about 50 spots in it. When there are only 50 spaces it’s pretty easy to tell that your car is not where you left it.

My first thought was “I knew this was too good to be true, they’ve towed my car because I was here all day.” My second thought was “I better go buy something from Aldi so I have a receipt to show for my shopping when I try and get my car back.” Finally I thought “Maybe my car has been stolen. At least the Police Station is a short walk away.” So I headed up to Aldi and bought myself a frozen dinner. Frozen dinners aren’t really the best thing to have on hand when you’re facing hours of looking for a missing car. Probably some sort of trail mix, scroggan perhaps, would be best. Keep the energy levels up in case of possible hand-to-hand combat. But that’s just the point. Buy a frozen meal and you’re obviously just some shopper who happens to have been caught up in the vicious world of supermarket bureaucratic rules, regulations and punishments. Much like a refugee caught in Australian off-shore processing I suspect. Perhaps they should buy more frozen meals before they leave to establish the refugee bona fides.

But I’m getting distracted. Once I bought my meal, I headed back to the car park, searching all 50 spaces, just in case. I made sure I had an innocent, bewildered shopper look on my face for any watching security cameras. Still no car was found. I headed back out of the car park up the travelators, ready to find a shop assistant to ask where my car had gone. At the top of the first travelators I saw some women coming out of a door I hadn’t seen before. “What’s behind that door?” I thought “Narnia, perhaps.” Car or no-car I’m always up for a trip to Narnia. I looked through the door and there was no Narnia. What I did find was another car park that looked exactly like the car park I had been in, only this one contained my car. It was like I’d been in some alternative universe, where my car didn’t exist, and now I found the one where my car did exist.

Turns out the car park has two levels, yet no signs indicating what level you’re on, and, as far as I could tell, no signs in the shopping centre indicating where the car parks actually are. But despite the lack of adequate signage, I felt dumb. It seems I’m the sort of person who loses their car in a 100 space car park.

Later I went home and ate my alibi, Aldi meal. It tasted like barcode.

Thanks Aldi.