That is, I had no qualms until I arrived at the grocery store, a place I have enjoyed since I worked out my own grocery shopping system when I started college. Apparently these were habits that a year in Paris would have no trouble erasing. I have gone from grocery shopping aficionado to confused European girl in just twelve short months.
From my first steps into the store the experience overwhelmed me, beginning with produce. You don't realize how automated your actions are until you begin doing the wrong thing in the wrong place. I, for example, after putting some what I would consider to be enormous Roma tomatoes into a baggy, spent thirty seconds looking around for a scale to weigh them before I remembered that in America, the customer doesn't have to weigh the produce. Grocery store 1, Courtney 0. (And might I add that the potatoes were as big as my head? Is that normal?)
I had intentions of buying a log of goat cheese until I glanced at the prices and realized it would cost me an hour's worth of work to buy some stinkin' cheese (pun not intended). Do we not have goats in America?
Regardless, I moved on to find my new addiction, fatty yogurt, something I knew would become a challenge for me to find in light n' fit obsessed America. Its funny; I remember observing the teachers' lunch hour at the school where I worked last October and noting in my Courtney in France blog how synchronized everyone's yogurt habits appeared. Seriously, everyone at yogurt after lunch for desert. And, well, a year later I have lost all resistance to the fatty delight, but have learned to continue my yogurt-eating obsession by introducing plain Greek yogurt into my diet. It's geographically close enough, right?
So an hour later I was ready for checkout (and don't worry, I bought more than fatty yogurt and giant potatoes). I ignorantly believed that my adventure was over, unaware that it had only just begun. Here were my first impressions of the checkout process:
- Why is there a wall of low quality but ridiculously tempting chocolate staring at me?
- Please, someone get that poor checkout woman a wheely-chair! She must be exhausted standing on her feet while swiping people's giant potatoes all day! And look at that hustle!
- Wait, now why is the checkout woman smiling and chatting with me about my purchases? I don't have time for this, I need to get down to the end of the checkout line to bag my...
- What?! There's actually an employee whose sole job is to put my things into bags, and they actually give me a preference as to what type of bag... this is phenomenal.
And when that was all said and done, I could just roll my purchases out in a cart, throw them in the car and drive them home, which cut out the part of grocery shopping where I was constantly concerned about how many liquids to buy because I wouldn't be able to carry them home (which ended up being a nice bicep workout).