Friday, October 22, 2010

Why is buying food so complicated?

Today I am recovering from a whirl wind Thursday. Yesterday was an exhausting day if I ever had one. It’s not so much that I had non stop errands to run or crazy people all around me, no just my son and I. From the moment when the fog cleared, after my first café au lait, to the time I finally sat down with my dinner plate on the couch, seemed like no matter what I did, things just kept being dumped upside down. I hate mornings when from the time you are standing up, you feel like you are running late. After a rather long preparation to get ready for the day, which included a few laps running around the living room and a toothbrush incident we were off to do the one regularly required activity I hate most in France. Grocery shopping!!! I wonder if there is any other American in France who hates grocery shopping as much as I do? I find everything about it incredibly inconvenient. I miss it in the US, it’s so easy. You pull in the parking lot, and drivers are considerate, if you were waiting for a spot, they don’t go take it just because they are faster than you. Plus the parking spaces are large enough for you to open your car door to get your child out of their car seat, without touching the neighboring car. You don’t need a token or a 1€ piece to even be able to get a cart. I understand the reasoning for this, to avoid more carts from being stolen, but really who steals grocery carts besides stupid teenagers and the homeless? Probably more than I think, but that is beside the point. I hate when you either forget your token in the car, which is not that close to the cart parking area due to the millions of people at the store, or when you don’t have a 1€ piece. Then you have to go into the store, ask at the “accueil” or the customer service desk, ha that is a joke, but then you have to wait at least a minute or two for anyone to ask you if you need to help, and all that for a token.  Once you have obtained your new token, you must then walk back out to the parking lot, because who would have ever thought of parking carts inside the store, oh ya the Americans. Once you get your cart, you must be sure to not forget your bags in the car, which I am totally ok with. For those of us with kids, we must be careful which grocery store we shop at if our child isn’t able to walk next to the cart, some places have carts with no child seats in them. Made that mistake once, and now am a loyal shopper at the place where every cart has a seat in it. Grocery shopping with toddlers, is the same anywhere, their patience only last so long, so you must be quick or buy what they want. Eventually when the cart is full a check out line must be selected. This being a rather difficult task, many variables go in to play here. Is the checker quick, is the person going to bag fast, are they going to pay buy check are just a few questions that should be posed. These are valid questions to pose in the US too, but they don’t have the same strategic power as in France. Once your items are on the belt they are scanned through either as quickly as possible, so that a grocery mound forms before you can barely get your bag open to start bagging yourself, because never would a checker help you put something in a bag, or they are almost completely forgotten about while the checker kisses her newly arrived colleague or chats it up with the checker at the next line about their plans for the weekend. From start to finish, you better “pen in” at least an hour or more. So after a morning of grocery shopping chaos, getting home, putting everything away, making lunch, pipi breaks since we are officially trying to potty train I then could even start to think about the incredible mess around me! So my day went…but who cares, today is new and now that I am done writing this I am off to do something fun, like nothing!


  1. be prepared to get super sweaty and super stressed!!!
    you forgot to add all the angry old people complaining!

  2. Hahaha!! I hated grocery shopping in France!! I can't imagine trying to do it with a toddler! Miss you guys!

  3. r- tank tops year around while grocery shopping...