Every brave knight (frazzled student) embarking on a perilous quest (going to Aldi) needs their trusty steed (shopping bag on wheels)Emily Lawson-Todd with permission for Varsity

Like every student ever, I made a lot of questionable decisions in my first year of university. Trying to convince myself that Sunday Lola’s was good (it isn’t), going out while hacking up a lung from the 15th upper respiratory infection of the term (probably to Lola’s) and attempting to make it to all my lectures, to name just a few. Despite this, one of the few decisions I made at age eighteen that hasn’t come back to haunt me for the rest of my life was the decision to buy a shopping trolley. Yes, one of those bags on wheels that you see old ladies pulling about. In the one time in your degree where crafting a cool first impression sort of counts for something, I decided to sack off any pretensions of coolness and lug around my groceries in a wheely bag.

“Screw Freshers’ Fair tote bags: if the SU really want to engage the student body, they should give us all bags on wheels”

But hear me out before you start laughing at the image of me wheeling around an old lady trolley: there’s a certain sort of je ne sais quoi about the trolley bag. Once relegated to simply being the fare of pensioners, or worse, holding connotations of being a little too similar to that one guy in school who had a wheelie bag for his maths homework, the bag is having somewhat of a moment. Seriously, those 70-year-old women were onto something when they took the humble bag and decided to slap some wheels on that baby, because it is so darn practical. No longer contending with the clunky and decidedly rather unchic rucksack, nor making myself more lopsided than I currently am by weighing myself down on one side with an impractical tote bag, the trolley bag allows me to do a hefty big shop without compromising on fashionability. I can haul back my Aldi goods with ease, laughing at all the losers I see still using plastic bags, or worse, still trying to do an affordable big shop at Mainsburys, as I merrily roll along the streets of Cambridge. Cobblestones seem as though they may be a problem, but so far my bag is proving to be surprisingly robust; those chunky rubber wheels are going nowhere anytime soon.

My own bag is a rather classy polka dot affair. A nineteenth birthday present from my nan after fresher me complained about the arduous trek from Sidney to Lidl that was a whole (shock horror!) 20-minute walk on completely flat terrain, the trolley arrived to save me from all my shopping woes. I’ve admittedly been out-trolleyed by some of the fabulous examples sported by the Aldi-going OAPs of Cambridge, including one old lady who has a rather fabulous hot pink leopard print number. I hope she knows that whenever I pass her on my way to do a big shop, I briefly consider quite how evil pensioner-mugging really is.

“Those 70-year-old women were onto something when they took the humble bag and decided to slap some wheels on that baby”

In fact, hauling around a trolley bag has also seen me foster a strange sort of camaraderie with the OAPs of Cambridge. Walking up to Aldi on a Tuesday afternoon, should I spot another wheelie-bag user, we exchange nods, like cowboys trekking across the wild wild west. Is this the community that everyone talks about when reminiscing on their university years? I’m certainly getting all misty-eyed thinking about how mine and Janis, 87,’s trolley wheels clatter down the pavements like a particularly tuneless duet. Maybe we could even try solving the generational divide by giving every twenty-something a trolley bag? On second thought, scrap that. Janis’ bag is probably not full of Aldi’s finest Sauvignon Blanc and cheapo ‘cold and flu relief’ tablets.


Mountain View

Agony aunt: “there’s nothing sexier than a man who isn’t a slave to his masculinity”

There’s also a certain form of smugness that comes with using a trolley bag. Especially when hailing from a college where Sainsbury’s is about ten steps away (no literally), something about the bag on wheels screams “I am organised, I am leisurely. Look at me! I made a shopping list for this and I have enough free time to go on a chic little walk up to the big Aldi! I am so put-together”. Or at least this is what I like to believe. Regardless, there is something so thrilling about stomping up that hill, podcast on and trolley in tow. It’s like a very productive mental health walk. (After writing out that sentence, it strikes me that I might need to get a better hobby if the highlight of my week is my big shop walk).

In short, I love my shopping trolley. Screw Freshers’ Fair tote bags: if the SU really want to engage the student body, they should give us all bags on wheels. The shopping trolley is so perfect, so brilliant, and so amazing that it almost makes up for the internal anguish of doing a big shop before realising that the lift in your accommodation is broken and now you have to lug your worldlies up three flights of stairs. Oh well. Can’t win them all.