So far, It’s been cold and rainy in Scotland but the demon drink has kept my heart warm, overloaded my calorie count, and turned my head-a-spinning. I stumble around in the nights buying alcohol with my biometric residence permit, proof of age since I don’t have a provincial, and I need it. Let’s face it, I don’t look old, and the cashiers ID me every time. I can’t even grow a beard to look older. As is common knowledge, the facial hair of an Asian looks like the curly locks sandwiched between the navel and the groin, so if I want to keep my pride and my buzz I’ve pretty much got no choice but to use my visa – growing
pubes on my chin will do me no good.
But, Aldi, dear old Aldi, rejected my visa. Heck, they rejected every single form of identification I provided for them.
We don’t accept your kind of cards around here, the comely cashier said, proudly informing me that she was an expert at this sort of identification, and had been working at the palatial edifice of Aldi for over a year and a half. I asked her that surely she would accept my visa, at the very least. But no, in all her time working there she had never accepted someone’s UK government issued identification before.
I get it. You want to be safe, you know how young even the oldest Asians look, fair enough. But never before have I been barred from alcohol purchase in a bloody supermarket, despite three forms of identification, and of all places where would they not serve me but in Aldi, the struggling student’s haven in a town
where buying a shitty cocktail costs you a fiver.
So I fought for my case. I checked all the other supermarkets. All of them accepted my visa. What was it then? Was Aldi ethical? Was I simply wasting my time on something minuscule? Should I complete my essay that’s three days late? No. I needed to confront them. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night with this injustice weighing down my soul.
I went back in a fury, ran around Aldi looking for a staff member until I bumped into this bearded bear-like attendant and sheepishly asked him “if I could see the manager, please.” Took them fifteen minutes to find him: I explained my grievance and asked him if I could read the store policy – to get it down in writing. Took him another ten minutes for him to find the policy, it almost felt like those times I message a girl, and she reads my message but doesn’t reply.
The anticipation was making me sweaty and nervous. But, alas, he did produce the document and I read through it, closely, the same way I read my tutorial readings every first week of semester. There it was, under “accepted identification”, the biometric residence permit.
I showed Mr. Manager the policy but he told me he would stick by his clerk’s decision, for some odd reason, despite the fact that she was wrong. So I decided to ask him about Aldi’s politics, I asked him if he had ever seen this sort of identification before and had he been training his staff to ban it all this time. No and yes, he replied, with his plastic grin and five pound aftershave, a miasma of middle-management reeking from his chest.
I asked him if he accepted passports but not government issued visas, and does that mean that he doesn’t approve of the immigration policy of the UK at the moment. “Yes, wait, what?” He replied. “Ahah! Got you!” I yelled. Awkward silence ensued.
But, in all seriousness, Aldi is known to be very strict about their identification, but in a town where everyone is perpetually in alcohol induced bliss, should the staff not be trained to simply be more competent with identifying what a proper card is? And the rudeness with which they replied to me was astounding, as if I was some underage child trying to buy beer for his two other friends so that they could look cool at the popular kids’ party.
I must say, I expected a lot more from the most exclusive supermarket in town, that is for certain. But apparently the staff can’t even identify what a biometric residence permit is. The same card that every single immigrant student with a Tier 4 Student Visa carries around. Bravo, Aldi.