Clean up on aisle 9

Welcome globetrotters to a new year full of opportunity. For those of you who spent the Christmas and New Year period away from your family or loved ones I hope it was a great chance for you to try something new.

As part of getting involved in your new home overseas, a visit to at least one local supermarket is a great start. This is your number one intro as an outsider to the brands, foods and some customs of the local people. This week we follow a fictional scene in a typical Dublin supermarket at closing time.

The Matador, Banderilleros and Bull in action

The time is 9pm and shopping bags are gathered from home to home. Doors close and the streets of North Dublin creep with shifting street light shadows as a mass of covert bodies descend upon Parnell street. The lights of Tesco beam brightly, drawing the local bargain-hunters like moths to a flame. Shoppers of all varieties enter the automatic doors and pass the latticed-concertina partition, sealing off the last public access to the precious alcohol section. All traffic leads to once place, the light at the end of the aisle, the reduced to clear section.

Eagerly poised await the keenest competitors for tonight’s best buys. A shy, 20-year-old staff member, self-conscious by the last of his remaining acne nervously works his label gun as he is alerted to the oncoming crowd. The tall Burley Czech with the narrowed eyes rushes for the prime cut of beef that will head straight to the freezer since it goes out of date today. The Irish mammy, eyes equally narrowed, trolley forging her path, rushes for the best of the local dairy produce which she knows is her entitlement by birth. The Brazilian couple then nabs some rice, dried beans and a few spice packets with small tears in the corners. A push from the right sees two Aussie girls grab for the last pack of sausages, they may be pork instead of beef but still haven’t been on the budget since London. Shelves clear swiftly and the volume rises as large groups of Spanish and Chinese speakers join the throng. Animated conversations begin discussing the merit of various specials and whether or not they have been reduced to satisfaction. The security guards leave the buzz to follow a group of hooded  15-year-olds that have disappeared around the corner. All buzzing is stilled by a breaking announcement, “shoppers please note, this store will close in ten minutes, please make your final purchases and proceed to the checkout, thank you”. Panic ensues and a tug of war begins over a previously un-noticed length of Chorizo. The bored checkout girl scowls at each approaching survivor, clearly displaying her discontent at being delayed from her night at the pub and her first cigarette of the evening. Change is swapped and bags filled as the tired group exit but at a brisk walk, heading home to share the trophies of tonight’s expedition.

Well there we leave our supermarket for now and as always, thanks for joining us! Until next week, shop safely 🙂