Saturday, April 7, 2012

Surviving a Shopping Trip to a Mega Supermarket the Day Before Easter...

Our supply of diapers was getting dangerously low so I knew I needed to get some before Sunday when all stores in France are closed.  I needed a few other grocery items as well and decided to shop yesterday afternoon on our way home from the playground.  I walked into the mall and saw that I was not alone in needing items for the weekend.  It appeared that everyone else on the planet had decided to stop and shop at that time. 

We decided instead to take the advice of a very nice, English speaking Mom we had met on Thursday and had connected with again yesterday.  I had asked her if she did her grocery shopping at Carrefour - the mega store in the mall.  She said that she rarely went there because of its size and because her girls - ages 4 & 6 - like to run in the aisles and she fears losing them there.  She pointed out the spot she most often used which was within sight of the playground - an organic items/health food store and she said she was on her way there and would be happy to show me around.  I declined because I was sure they didn't have diapers so I planned to go to Carrefour. 

When the mall store was so full of people, we decided to turn around and head to the store Alessandra had pointed out to me.  It's nearly directly behind our hotel.  I knew we had enough diapers to make it through the night and I assumed Carrefour would have fewer people on Saturday morning so we would get the grocery items we needed at a smaller store and head "home" for the day.  The little store was very nice and very unpopulated so we found some bread, yogurt, fruit and milk and were happy.  We saw Alessandra in the distance as she and her girls were leaving the store as we arrived there. 

Cozzie awakened a couple times in the night for some milk but slept until nearly 9:30am today. 

We got ourselves ready and headed out to Carrefour.  I had already figured out that strollers with young children were allowed in the store.  There are not the type of grocery carts which hold children inside the grocery store.  There are the types of smaller baskets you can carry or can set 2 of those on a cart made to hold those but which have no place for a child to sit.  The carts where a child can sit are available for a charge somewhere in the mall.  I think they must be on a lower level which is the parking area because I see people pushing those carts on ramps up and down to/from a lower level of the mall.  So I was grateful to know I could take the stroller with Cozzie into the store.  But it's also necessary to supply your own bags for your purchased items so we were ready with a few of those.  You supply your own bags and pack the items you purchase.  Many people have pull carts for their items. 

As soon as we entered the mall, we were met by a couple of Easter Bunnies.  One of them immediately came over to Cozzie with his basket of candy and I grabbed my camera.

The Bunny was happy to pose for a picture.  Cozzie was very interested in the Bunny and didn't seem afraid.  
Of course Cozzie is used to people wearing masks and costumes in his world so he has no fear of such things.

Check-out lines at the store...
Oops!!! Not everyone on the planet shopped last night.  Many, many of them were there this morning.  But since we had not choice, we decided to brave the crowd and head into the store to find the diapers. 

We took a "drive" around the store and finally discovered the aisle with diapers.  They were stocked with what we needed and we didn't really evaluate at great length to determine the best deal.  We selected one and headed for the check-out. 

Under 10 items check-out line...

We had also picked up 3 other items.  I knew there was an "under 10 items" line so I wasn't going to exceed that limit.

I took these 2 photos to share with you.  As soon as I clicked the second one, a man came rushing up to speak directly to me.  I asked if he spoke English and he replied, "No photos are allowed in this store!"  Not sure why.

As we got closer to our turn, I realized I was in a line that had self check-out scanners!!!!  I had a moment of thinking, "this is going to be a challenge!  What shall I do?  I can't bear the thought of finding another line and starting over to get a live person!"

So I spoke to the gentleman behind me and asked him if he spoke English.  He said he spoke a little.  I asked him if this was a line that was only a self check-out option.  He said it was.  I told him I didn't know how to use the machines.  He said, "I don't know how either.  I'm just here on vacation."  I told him I was also.  He pointed out a lady in a yellow top and told me she was there to help.  I stayed in line.  We inched forward and eventually it was my turn.  The man behind me said something like, "Now it's your turn."  I confidently pushed Cozzie and our items forward making immediate eye contact with the lady in the yellow top.  I told her I needed help.  She responded in English and came to the machine to get me started.  I had to select the English speaking version which I learned had a British flag as its symbol not the USA flag.  So the machine started speaking in English and the lady scanned my first 3 items and told me to do the 4th.  But I wasn't sure which 3 items had scanned and started to scan the diapers when she said, "No, No, No!" and came back to scan the 4th for me and then told me to put my money into the machine.

You're now going to be very proud of me.  I figured that out on my own and got it right!!!!  I owed 19 euros and I pulled out a 20 bill and found the slot which accepted it.  Then the machine gave me change and I figured out where that was.  The lady also said don't forget your receipt which I wasn't going to do either but I was glad for her reminder!!!  Another time you're proud of me, right?

So we loaded our items into our bags and left the store.  The lady said as we drove through the gate, "Au Revoir. Merci!"  And I replied the same.

It hadn't been so bad after all.  Thanks mainly to friendly folks who were willing to help a "foreigner" and to a little boy who was content in a stroller as he fastened and unfastened the Velcro straps on his shoes a gabillion times and watched all the people at the store.  While in the check-out line, we were beside another little boy in a stroller and that made good watching for each of them.

We took our items back to the room at the hotel immediately.  As we got to the hotel front door, guess who was entering just ahead of us.  The man who had been behind us in line and encouraged me while there.  So both of us survived the mega store experience.

But I figured all that time in a stroller deserved a time to play so I put the monkey harness on Cozzie and we headed for the outdoors.  For some reason, my little guy could hardly stop running.  He ran all the way to the park with only a few stops at the corners to look for cars.

 Having fun with another child in the little playhouse at the top of the slide.

You can see the monkey harness with a "leash" for walking an active child.
So we played for awhile and then headed back to the hotel for lunch and a nap.  It's 3:35pm and he's still napping but that could end anytime. 

Alessandra and her daughters were at the park yesterday as I mentioned earlier.  The girls are Julia, 6 and Georgia, 4.  School gets out at 4:45pm here so Mom and daughters stop at the park each day on their way home.  Yesterday they weren't at the park when we got there but before long, Julia came running up to me speaking in English.  I looked for the Mom who was looking for the girl.  She said that as they came through the gate, Julia took off and the Mom didn't see where she went.  Julia had spied me before the Mom did.  Julia is a very friendly, sweet child.  So the children all played and we Mom/Grandmom chatted.  I asked if she could help me know how to ride the train.  She told me they are called trams and she showed me the ticket you buy ahead of time and put into a machine on the tram.  She also told me where to buy them.  You can buy a ticket for one ride or for 10 - 1 euro/ride in one direction.  She explained it all and so I feel confident that we could manage a tram ride without difficulty.  Stollers can be taken on and there's not a charge for a child in a stroller. 

Alessandra also invited us to her apartment today if it would be raining after naptime/schooltime as they have lots of toys with which little ones can play.  She took my phone number and will call if the weather is bad.  But it is not raining and doesn't look like it will rain anytime soon so I think we'll all be at the park as usual today.  

It has been sweet to have a friendly gal with whom to visit as the children play.  And the advice and help is also wonderful. 

3:50pm and still napping.

In some ways, this time away from all familiar has given me more time to meditate on the significance of Easter.  To know that Jesus loved me enough to surrender his life for me is over-whelming.  Knowing that Jesus considers me worth dying for causes me to praise and rejoice with deep gratitude.  And it causes me to consider that Jesus has a plan for my life.  A plan that includes living in such a manner that others see him through me in a way that draws them to him.  It's an awesome privilege and responsibility to be one of his forgiven, redeemed children. 
Jesus prayer before his arrest, trial and crucifixion begins like this: John 17:1a - 5; 20  "Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.  ...My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message...
 Thank you, Jesus, for leaving your message for me to hear and believe.  Amen

4:25pm stirring...

1 comment:

Marge B. said...

Yes....I am proud of you! Grocery shopping the day before a holiday is challenging enough here, where you're familier with the store & understand the language. So shopping in a crowded foreign setting on this busy day, had to have been a monumental challenge. Thankfully, God used the very helpful people He placed in yours & Cozzie's path to assist & encourage you.

Glad to hear that you're feeling confident to tackle the 'tram'. Assumming you will rely on that to get you to the Easter service Sunday evening. I'm sure that great adventure would greatly please your little traveling mate. Has he riden on a train before?

Trust Shara's engagement went well last night.

Thanks for the updates.