Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)
TITLE: Shopping As It Should Be
By cindy yarger
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Years later I was again overcome. It was in the juice aisle this time. I tried very hard to concentrate (no pun intended) on the various choices in front of me. It was no use. I threw up my hands in total exasperation and fled. I may even have been murmuring aloud.
Through the years I have found that I am not alone in this. One friend said that she almost had a nervous breakdown in front of the bread section. A long time pen pal said that she nearly broke down in tears by the peanut butter. She actually counted every type and every jar. I have a sneaky suspicion that some of you reading this may be able to relate as well.
This syndrome hasn’t a name, it is not catchy, and will not debilitate you (at least not for long!) It is shared though by many who have lived in a foreign country. There is something about shopping in a grocery store in ones home country, once you have returned, that triggers these episodes.
Apples, in Mexico, were sold from bins. They were not shiny and none were perfect. You had to pick through them to find the ones that you wanted to buy. They didn’t “seemingly say” anything at all.
Juice, in Vietnam, never came in bottles. You couldn’t even purchase it in a store. It was sold in restaurants or roadside stands – freshly squeezed from the fruit.
When my pen pal told me about her peanut butter experience, I immediately thought of shopping for peanut butter in Vietnam (since that’s where I was living then.) When I went to get peanut butter in our grocery store there, they had only one jar in the whole store.
For many of us, our “home country” grocery store enables us to make hundreds of choices. In America, the cereal aisle alone can devastate you, boxes and boxes to choose from. The longer you’ve been away the worse it is. My advice? On your first trip make your list short.
I’ve been home for a while now, so I don’t have any trouble in the grocery store. Well, that is not entirely true. There is trouble of a new type. With all of the choices available I have found that one store carries our favorite bread, another store carries our favorite bottled water, but not the bread, and yet a third store has the best produce but not the water nor the bread.
May haps that is, as it should be.
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