Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Grocery Store Gripes

I am heading back to the states next Friday and I can’t wait. A whole year away and Switzerland is really starting to get on my nerves. It’s bad enough that now it’s rained for a week straight, everyone wears black and no hint of a smile, but then they also have to be pushy on top of that. Literally. Yesterday I was minding my own business trying to look at something on a bottom shelf in a grocery store. I just had a small basket as usually I don’t get a cart as it involves one, having the correct coin for your cart deposit, and two, because Swiss grocery stores are not built for heavy cart traffic.

My situation was classic. A woman wanted to pass by me with her cart, but the aisle is only big enough for one cart and NOTHING else. This did not phase her. She began pushing her cart towards me until I had the choice of either getting bruised or moving. Being less of an Anglo-shopping wimp than in the past, I held my ground until it was clear there was no stopping an impending doctor visit. Then I got up, gave her a dirty look and stomped out buying only a banana.

Last Friday was no different. Except this time I had the Swiss weapon of choice, a cart. The event took place as I was coming up the ramp (yes, this particular store has the smart design of two levels, so to get anything besides fruits and veges and chilled items you must go up and down a ramp with your cart). I got the creepy feeling that I usually get in most Swiss stores that someone behind me was about invade my American-sized personal space. I could feel this woman’s breath literally on my neck. But all she had was a basket and she wanted to get past me. Now I am all for the whole stand on the left, walk on the right concept of escalators, etc, but most Swiss ramps give no such option based on their size. And I was stuck like a statue on this ramp because it’s designed so that a cart can’t move once a cart is on it. (Alas, the Swiss designed the ramp to prevent accidents from carts, but they failed to consider the consequences from their impatient people stuck behind such a secure cart.) So as I get to the top of the ramp, it takes a second to get the cart to come out of its protective groove and back on the normal floor. Well the lady behind me couldn’t take it anymore and plowed her basket right into my back. I stormed off the ramp and into the produce section, only narrowly missing an employee throwing a rotten onion into a crate beside me. As I checked out, again my cart caused an older woman behind me angst, because I was not fast enough grabbing my items after they were rung up so she pushed my cart into a corner and blocked me from getting it and my 2 franc deposit back until she was done packing her things. I could have pushed her back, but I was trying to handle my own personal cart, the store’s shopping cart, and an additional bag full of groceries that wouldn’t fit in my personal cart, so I just grinned and beared it.

I went home dragging my purchases, another day, another grocery store escapade. And another night of wide aisle dreams.

2 comments:

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