Help — Get Me Out Of This Store!
Two seconds after I get through the door, I’m bombarded by a glitzy array of beer, wines, spirits, syrups, sodas, fruit juices, cakes, chocolate, sweets, biscuits, crisps.
I’m trying to give up alcohol and sugar, so I quickly walk past the brightly coloured packets. Only to bump into a gigantic glass counter so wide and deep it could be an aquarium.
Except there’s no fish. Just meat.
So much meat, it’s like the entire zoological class mammalia has been shot on sight and laid out in this giant hearse for examination.
Rabbit, goose, hare, cow, sheep, pig, chicken, cock, horse, pigeon, pheasant. All neatly diced and quartered into every cut you could possibly imagine.
I’m trying to give up meat as well, so I hurry on and end up in the clothes aisle…
The layout of French supermarkets has always baffled me. Where else in the world would you get frilly pyjamas and sheepskin slippers next to the butchers. Or the perfume aisle next to the fish. Or baby goods next to strong alcohol. There must be some subtle design at work here.
I reach the fruit and veg section.
‘At last, something healthy!’ I gasp. But it’s not what I want.
In fact, what do I want?
My mind goes dead. What had my wife said? Oh, yeah.
‘Can you get some cheese on your way home…’
I was going to go to the deli in the centre of town. But there was a queue. So I decided to come here.
That was a mistake.
Like in all countries, supermarkets here have grown in size since the 1990s. When I first came to France in 1994, I used to visit a supermarket called Mammoth. As the name suggests, it was big, but nowhere near as big as this one.
You could play Champions League soccer in here and still have space for the Super Bowl.
I normally shop in my local store near where I live. It has a select and small amount of products, which cuts down my weekly shop to about twenty minutes.