The Marks and Spencers coat/basket incident (22 March 2011)

Marks and Spencer in Morningside, Edinburgh is just a small one but has a good variety so today I went there to pick up some food.

Outside the shop there are stacks of wire shopping baskets so today I grabbed one and headed inside the shop.

I had just finished work so I had my work bag on cross body and my handbag on my shoulder.
Two seconds inside the shop I tried to move the basket away from me only to discover that somehow the basket had become attached to the left hand pocket of my jacket.

Just where the handle of the basket meets the main part of the basket the metal loop had pierced my pocket and secured itself using a surprisingly large amount of material.

I thought it would be easy to unhook but no.  I rested the basket on a stack of boxes containing strawberries and attempted to free myself.

Not a chance.

I tried for a couple of minutes then I looked up and saw the M&S assistant stocking up further down the aisle.  I gave in and decided to ask for help but as I swung the basket from the strawberry boxes it smashed into a person walking up the aisle.

I apologised profusely to the rather sturdy gent who was wearing a suit.  He took it well considering by now he’ll have a large bruise on his right arm.  He smiled and said it was OK and headed off down the aisle.

I thought at that moment he was just another shopper (who was luckily not attached to a basket!) but when I saw him talking in a familiar manner to the assistant down the aisle (who I was now heading for to get help) I realised he was the manager.

So I lingered by the cold meat until he walked away and then I shot towards the assistant.  She had her back to me so I said, “excuse me, can you help me out?”

She turned around saying, “of course I can.”

“Now,” I said, “don’t laugh but I’ve somehow become attached to this shopping basket and I can’t free myself.”

She laughed, who wouldn’t?

I was laughing too though and the assistant tried to free my jacket from the basket but she couldn’t manage it either.

Predicament.  “I really don’t want to take it home.”  I said.

The assistant said, “yes, it would look a bit strange getting on the bus with that.”

So by now we were giggling even though we couldn’t free me from the basket.  “This is the strangest request for help I’ve ever had.”  She said, laughing away.  Strangely, it’s not a request I’ve had to make that often either.

Thankfully the shop wasn’t that busy.

“I’ll have to take my jacket off.”  I said.

“Good idea.  I’ll hold the basket.”  Said the assistant.

So in the middle of Mark and Spencer I proceeded with what certainly must have looked like a strip.  I dropped my handbag, took my work bag off unzipped my jacket, got tangled in my iPod headphone, untangled them and got the jacket off.

Seconds later the jacket and the basket were free of each other.  Yes! So I thanked the assistant who went off giggling her head off.  I redressed myself  and carried on with my shopping…managing to stay basket free for the rest of it.

Now I know why I prefer trolleys.

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