I love going to the supermarket… It’s quite an experience itself, even more in NYC.
Here, winter means snow. I was used to drive everywhere, A/C, roofed parking places, big stores, the products I like, the kind cashier that nicely offers cigarettes or mobile credit, the "cerillito" (1) waiting for his tip… the “viene-viene” (2).
Nowdays, before leaving home: put on the coat, the cap, gloves and snow boots… Oh no! First the boots and then the gloves. Then walk through the snowy cool way, 5 to 10 minutes to the tiny supermarket, and having to take off every single winter cloth if you don’t want to have a suffocation attack.
What to buy? The basic and necessary only and what it seems to be a reliable product to me, as I can only recognize a few brands on the counter. There’s no Abuelita chocolate, no Parmalat or Alpura milk, no Oaxaca or panela cheese, only lots and lots of cheddar types: sharp, soft semi-soft, part skim, white, yellow and some kind of cheese called Monterey Jack… weird!
I felt like a bedbug running all over the aisles and meticulously searching, for about an hour and a half, still having an almost empty cart, and my head full of doubts of what I was really about to buy. Anyway, I should leave the place soon or the snow will get heavier, and the way back home will be almost impossible without an extreme hands and feet freeze-out!
One product, two, three… It ended in12-15 products and 4 double plastic bags (heavy by the way) that I’d have to carry all the way. The cashier: “Ninety five, sixty seven…” and I was like What!!! I give her my credit card and she looks me like “Oh poor girl… you don’t know this, right?” and tells me with her rude voice: “Swipe it!”, pointing at the machine in front of me. So I swipe the card and made it wrong way, and as a quite long queue was forming back, I got so nervious with all the pressure! I still have to put my purchase in the bags!! Finally I achieved all these difficult tasks, but I almost ended up at the kindergarden in some kind of intense courses on how to swipe the card at the supermarket quickly and correctly.
Ashamed, I took my 4 bags as soon as I could, put on my gloves, my cap, button up my coat and got out of there quickly, almost running! How many times I’d have to do this till I get used to the different way new yorkers do their shopping? I am still working on that…
1. Cerillito: In Mexico, the person (kid, guy, man or old man) that helps you put all your purchases in the bags at the supermarket. You have to tip.
Viene-viene: (aka: come on-come on): In Mexico, the way the people calls the kid, guy, man, old man that helps you get out of your parking slot by whistling and directing with a piece of cloth. You have to tip too.