Bakers: don’t let a basket hamper your Christmas

Bread baskets company Bakers Basco has to be extra vigilant at Christmas because of the massive increase in unauthorised ‘borrowing’ of its equipment. Steve Millward, the company’s General Manager, explains why small retailers and bakers don’t want to be caught under the mistletoe with someone else’s baskets…

Christmas is supposed to be a season for giving, but when it comes to bread baskets, it’s actually a season for taking – or at least ‘borrowing’ on a permanent basis.

Normally, we have around four million baskets and up to 500,000 wheeled dollies for moving them around on out in the market at any one time; at Christmas, though, the extra demand for bread, and the slow-down in returns due to two days of shops being closed and deliveries and pick ups not being made, means we have to feed another 500,000 baskets into the supply chain.

The extra demand for bread means smaller bakers and shops need more baskets and dollies to transport stock on. Honest, well-run ones will make sure they hire additional baskets. However, less scrupulous people just ‘borrow’ other baker’s baskets, without asking and often without any intention of giving them back – which is, let’s face it, theft in most people’s eyes.

This can disrupt the supply chain which, in turn, could result in many families left without bread for their turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day.

We don’t want to seem like Scrooges, but our baskets are an essential element in keeping the whole bread supply chain running smoothly.

Our bread baskets and dollies carry clear warnings that we will take action against anyone using them without permission. We start by asking for them back politely. But every year, if that doesn’t work, our specialist teams spend some of their precious Christmas making calls – backed up by the police — on small shops and bakeries to get back our property.

If we don’t, then we may never see those baskets again; or if we do, it’ll be because they’ve been dragged out of a canal or fly tipped in a beauty spot. That’s because the sort of people who ‘borrow’ someone else’s equipment tend to be thoughtless, lazy and greedy – in short, people who definitely aren’t on Santa’s Nice List.

Thoughtless, because stealing or throwing away baskets ignores the damage this causes both to the baking industry and to the environment, at a time of year when people are supposed to be thinking of others.

Lazy, because it’s easier to throw them away than return them properly.

Greedy, because taking them means they think they save money.

However, more and more people who steal our baskets are being caught and dealt with in the criminal courts, thanks to our recovery teams and improved tracking technology and intelligence. They end up saddled with court costs and possibly even sent to jail. That’s a Christmas present no one wants.

At Christmas, bakers are supposed to be jolly providers of beautiful breads and baked goods, making a real contribution to the festive feast. Those who pinch other bakers’ baskets, though, are in danger of ruining other people’s Christmas – and their own.

So, if you’re thinking about saving a little money this Christmas by taking something that isn’t yours, think again.

By Steve Millward, General Manager, Bakers Basco