Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Shopping stories!

We’ve been carefully eking our groceries during this brief last stay in the flat here on Calle Aragón. There has been little point in buying value multi-packs of anything as stuff that we don’t use and can’t donate to charity will have to be thrown away. 

Yesterday morning I just about scraped enough coffee out of the packet to put on our usual moka coffee pot for breakfast. So I needed to get some more, reluctantly! I had already been to the Mercadona supermarket next door for milk and a couple of other items. There I had semi-grumpily given way to a stressed woman clutching a pizza and a jar of hotdog sausages who pleaded to go in front of me as she had to go to work. I let her scuttle through, graciously accepting her thanks.

It’s a good job she wasn’t in the Eroski supermarket, that’s all I can say. 

Because my coffee purchasing involved a trip down to the Eroski supermarket on Travesía de Vigo. We don’t much like the coffee they sell in Mercadona but Eroski sells quite acceptable ground coffee. And it seems to me that it’s worth going slightly out of your way to get decent coffee. And it’s only a short walk, and besides, the sun was still shining.

However, I had forgotten how slow they are in Eroski compared to the brisk efficiency of Mercadona. Only two out of five tills were operating. I chose the one which had the shorter queue, a queue of people with baskets rather than huge trolley loads of stuff. Mistake! The customer at the till, all her goods already in her wheelie shopping bag, was having a long conversation about her Eroski card and whether she could redeem the points on it and goodness knows what else. As ever, this involved much pressing of buttons on the cash desk, a consultation with an under-manager and about a ream of paper being printed off. 

Eroski still has special offers on kitchenware that you can save up for by collecting points or stamps if you have their loyalty card. I still have at home in England some very nice supposedly Wedgewood coffee cups, tasteful white with a pale yellow flower design, which I saved for during our first year of living more or less permanently in Spain. The current offer is some rather tacky-looking melamine mugs and bowls. Standards have clearly fallen. 

After that blockage had cleared, the queue started moving. The lady with the most purchases got through in record time. Then the elderly lady ahead of me, having placed her few goods on the belt, remembered something she needed desperately to buy and scuttled off. I was about to suggest to the cashier that she put my single purchase of a packet of ground coffee through the till while we waited but the elderly lady returned. She had selected some kind of beauty product which came in a sealed sturdy plastic container from which the cashier had to release it, the kind of thing you get on expensive bottles of whisky. Another little delay.

The elderly lady paid with a twenty euro note. So her face cream was not so extortionate in price as to merit such security measures but that’s how it is. The cashier then put the twenty euro note through one of those little machines that check the validity of the folding money being offered. 

I swear I spent longer in the queue than it took me to walk there and back again!

The people who live of Travesía de Vigo must be a bunch of scoundrels, that’s all I can say, if so many security measures need to be put in place. It’s not as if the elderly lady had proffered a fifty euro note, and even those are not exactly uncommon these days.

Goodness! I remember some years ago being in a small supermarket in Sanxenxo where a very elegantly dressed elderly lady bought about fifteen euros’ worth of stuff and proceeded to pay with a five hundred euro note (yes, that’s €500)! You can imagine the fluster and flurry at the till! I think it’s the only time I’ve seen a five hundred euro note. And even so I didn’t get much of a look at it. 

Do we even have £500 notes? I’ve certainly never even seen anyone offering a £50 note in a supermarket in the UK. Different strokes for different folks, as somebody I once knew used to say. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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