Here is a map I drew of my Carrefour supermarket. The one that has random American products and where the stunning checkout girl came out to me. Because our apartment has only a dorm-sized fridge with no shelves inside, I am forced to go here at least every other day.
It is full of nooks and crannies, and the shelves (broken red lines) are arranged to ensure that you can’t see anything until you’re right on top of it. And of course, all the outer walls are lined with shelves as well. The empty space in the back is where they keep unrefrigerated eggs and beer, because why not have the most breakable items next to where drunk students and dogs-on-a-string people are bobbing and weaving their way towards 49-cent warm beer?
I’m fairly obsessed with this market, and anyone who comes to visit me is taken on a tour of it. It reminds me of the D’Agostino’s that used to be on University Place between 10th and 11th in Manhattan back in the day. My dad has worked in supermarkets pretty much my entire life, and they’ve always been big box store with ample parking; a cramped market in the bottom of an apartment building was a revelation to me. Also, because I’d never had to shop for my own food – my dad would bring home whatever we needed every day – it was the first time I was in a market to actually shop. I loved having the freedom to check out every single item, which is still something I enjoy doing whenever I’m in a new market.
So yesterday I go into this Carrefour for dinner stuff, and half the inventory is in shopping carts in the aisles; the rest is clearly in the midst of being put back on the shelves, albeit in completely different places. Which means that every single person in there had to walk up and down every single aisle in order to find what they wanted. Sayeed, the manager who knows everyone and never seems not to be there, fielded questions from people the entire time.
Cal sometimes heads out in the afternoon to the pub up the street from the market to read a book, and Sayeed will pass by during his break. Cal buys him a beer, they chat, and then Sayeed goes back to work.
Sayeed makes a guy do the floors with a Zamboni-looking machine around 4pm every day, which is a pretty empty time in the market but is ideal for me. This guy hates me because I’m always trampling over his pristine floors and turning up an aisle that he’s taking up all the space in. The floors are matte black stone, because why not.
In the mornings, when I sometimes go because the cleaning lady needs something, the market is completely taken over by old people. The only checkout is handled masterfully by a middle-aged lady who wears low-cut sequined sweaters and disco ball earrings and looks like Tweety Bird. She chats with all of them as they fumble in their change holders and hold up each coin to see its denomination. I don’t know how she has the patience for it, but nothing ever seems to faze her. I, being a mere 42, am invisible to her; she scans my items and slides them down to me and chats with the old person behind me the entire time.
There is exactly zero point to this post, except that I wanted you to know about the market where I shop.