I’ve officially made my first enemy. Maybe two enemies. They are my local grocery store check out chicks. I say “chicks” losely because these women are in their late 50’s and they joined in their mutual dislike for me. Firstly it’s worth mentioning that I have a much more convenient grocery store literally 45 seconds from my door, however, I choose this other store because they are slightly bigger and I prefer their cheap wine over the one next door to me… For wine I will walk the extra 10 minutes.
So I fill my small basket with a handful of items and proceed to the checkout. I always choose the line that is the longest because I know I can slow down people when I don’t understand the check out “chick”‘s response or questions in French, so I feel those who are waiting patiently in the slow line are going to be much more accepting of the delay I may cause. Anyway…enter Enemy Number One and she ushers me across to the self serve terminal which is fine by me. That way I won’t annoy anyone as I take my time. Incorrect. I’m super pleased to see that the machine has an English option so I happily change the setting to English. Well Enemy Number One doesn’t like this, walks over, and turns the machine back onto French. I look at her, smiling and turning my cute factor onto a bagillion, and turn it back to English whilst smiling. She does not like this. Then Enemy Number One asks me, “How do you say blah blah blah de blah blah in English?” I look at her and say, IN FRENCH, “I’m sorry but I have little French”. She keeps persisting and gesturing asking me how to say that in English. As she keeps persisting I make an executive decision that she is asking about something to do with grocery shopping so I lie and say “Ohhhhh… it’s called E-F-T-P-O-S”. Enemy Number One looked at me and I knew she knew what Eftpos was, but for the life of me I couldn’t understand her and she was revelling in the fact that she kept putting my self service machine back into French and watched me struggle.
I hold my head high and walk back into said evil grocery store a few days later thinking we are both adults and can move past our small misunderstand and cultural difficulties. Incorrect. For the second time I mind my own business and proceed to the check out. This time, because of the pressure and scrutiny I endured on my last visit on the self service terminals I decide to wait it out in the long line. Out of 5 possible people it appears I have chosen the line of Enemy Number One’s best mate. They stare at each other, say something, and stare at me. I smile back and confidently whisper “Bonjour Madam!” (I deliberately used Madam instead of Mademoiselle because I wasn’t going to compliment these people). After loading my stuff and waiting for the lady to put it through, I politely asked, again IN FRENCH “Excuse me, may I have a bag please?” as you have to pack the bags yourself. She grabbed a bag and then held it out and just as I was about to grab it, Enemy Number One said something to Enemy Number Two and then she pulled the bag back slightly. I still had my hand out and tilted my head like a confused dog and said slowly, “pllleeeeaasssseeee??” just in case she missed it the first time. She didn’t. Enemy Number Two looked me in the eyes, and slowly retracted the bag whilst holding my confused gaze. I didn’t get it. I asked nicely, I used my best French I had in me. I blame Enemy Number One. Luckily for me my handbag is called the Never Full, so I shrugged and stuffed my groceries into my handbag like it didn’t bother me.
I now have mass anxiety about this store, and literally get a bit short of breath walking in. If you don’t want to annoy anyone in France it’s your grocery store folks. You see them almost daily because you carry everything and buy things on a day to day basis. I’d like to say I will boycott them and never go back, but after the Pushing Incident at the store closest to me I just feel no where is safe; but that’s a story for another day.
P.s how gorgeous are the Luxembourg Gardens? 10/10 in my book.