Not so super supermarket

I was asked once what I thought about the supermarkets here compared to ones in the UK. The first thought that entered my head was boring and how much of my life I’ve wasted shuffling around in these places.

I tend to do most of the food shopping and we live in the Girona neighbourhood of La Devesa minutes from 4 supermarkets, so me and my shopping trolley are happy with that. Anyway, if I had to take the car I could carry more but I’d have far more work getting in all upstairs. That’s because our apartment’s parking space is underground and the block’s elevator doesn’t serve our floor. That’s another story.

Just to go back to the subject of shopping trolleys. In the UK they’re synonymous with only the elderly using them, as they trot off down the high street. After moving here and buying one I just couldn’t wrap my mind around actually using one for several months. After all, here you see both young and old pulling them around. I have even cast my inventor’s eye to imagining a suitable trolley designed for beachgoers. One that has a tardis-like space to carry everything, keep beers cold, and wide rubber wheels capable of gliding across the sand.

My local Mercadona supermarket. Leading contender for the highly competitive title of ‘Most Boring Girona Supermarket ‘. I could walk blindfold around here and still  know where to get everything. Sometimes it serves a curved ball and I get mildly frustrated when I can’t find a tin of coconut milk or some sod has bought every single pack of avocados. The product ranges remain permanently entrenched and any newly stocked item or ‘novetat’ brightens up your day. So much so that it prompts me to report on such front page news to my good wife.

The last new and welcoming thing was Sharwoods Korma Curry Sauce, a true revelation for Catalan taste buds. Sadly it didn’t last and is no more, maybe it was a novetat too far.

Some other novetats have endured and remain as part of the run-of-the-mill Mercadona family, like versions of Hummus. Any UK Tesco’s  has about 6.

It just leaves the saga of the checkout but don’t expect any help with bag filling-you’re on your own. The shop assistants could win the Olympic gold for scanning items, leaving me to play catch-up as I load my trolley. The plan of attack is simple. Heavy stuff  like bottles and slabs of coke at the bottom, followed by layers of lighter stuff as you reach the top. Never mind the next waiting customer, the assistant’s only sarcastic sounding retort is to say “parking?”

This store also has a resident beggar who sits outside the entrance all day in all weathers shaking his plastic cup at you as you walk past. If I don’t have any loose change I offer him a can of coke instead. The hard part is trying to decipher his reply which resembles more of a grunt than a clearly defined gracias! Oh well, who am I to judge.