I couldn’t decide whether to write about the beautiful autumn trees or the Catalan crisis, so I decided to write about the joys of shopping instead...
I hate Saturday mornings. Don’t you? Having breakfast in bed, reading the paper, working out at the gym, having a swim and sauna, walking around the lake, cycling through the mountains, sitting in the park, chatting to friends... Yes, that’s what everybody else around me is doing while muggins here sets off for BM to get the groceries in for the weekend. I’ve been doing this for the past 25 years or so, and can no longer remember what a relaxing Saturday morning used to feel like. Actually, you can remove “Saturday” from that last sentence.
Many moons ago, you see, I made the terrible mistake of choosing to work in a school which is located opposite a supermarket. In practice, this means that every evening when I finish work, I have to nip over the road and grab some chicken, pork, pizza, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, melons, mandarins, or whatever it is I have been instructed to buy for tonight’s dinner and/or tomorrow’s lunch. ‘And get some ice cream while you’re at it, can you?’ ‘Oh, don’t forget to order the chops for Sunday, ok?’ ‘By the way, we’re out of kitchen roll...’
The plus side is that I am BM’s greatest customer, so they always give me the full red-carpet treatment, greeting me personally as I run round the aisles – ‘¡Siempre corriendo, Mike!’ –, and opening the other till when they see there are more than two customers in front of me at the checkout. They even give me the choice cuts when the other customers aren’t looking. Mind you, given that I spend half my salary there, I think I deserve a little pampering, don’t you?
The worst thing, of course, is not the shopping itself, but the interrogation which awaits me when, seventy-five minutes later, I crawl through the front door, armed with eighteen bags of shopping:
‘You took a long time!’
‘It was packed!...’
[Every “Saturday Shop Feedback” begins like this; regardless of how long I actually took or how many people there really were. Ha! Two can play at that game!]
‘Did you remember the bleach?’
‘You didn’t tell me to get any.’
‘Do I have to tell you everything?’
‘No. Just the things you want me to buy...’
‘Why did you get these potatoes?’
‘Because the last ones we got were rotten, so I thought we’d try these.’
‘They don’t look very good.’
‘I thought I told you not to buy these biscuits any more?’
‘You never listen to me, do you?’
‘Sorry. I promise I’ll never buy these biscuits ever again...’
‘Why did you buy two bottles of shampoo?’
‘They were on offer: buy one, get one free.’
‘The shampoo’s cheaper in Lidl.’
‘Usually. But not if you get two for the price of one...’
‘How much were these peaches?’
‘Two seventy-three a kilo. Not bad, eh?’
‘Hmm.’‘They had some for one twenty-two a kilo, but these are much better...’
‘White chocolate. It was free with that voucher I showed you.’
‘Well, don’t buy it again.’
‘I didn’t buy it...’
‘I don’t suppose you got loo rolls?’
‘Why didn’t you phone me?’
‘I was busy.’
‘That makes two of us...’
And on and on we go. Fortunately, my wife and I don’t have time for proper arguments. By the time we’ve unpacked, inspected and audited every item – “ok”, “bad”, “ok”, “very bad”, “ok”... –, it’s time for me to make a start on lunch while my wife returns to whichever bedroom or bathroom she has decided to attack today.
Thank goodness for Saturday afternoons, I say. I don't know about you, but that's when my weekend begins.
No es precisamente Tescos ¿verdad?
Not exactly Tescos, is it?
¿Por qué no ponen los precios?
Why don’t they put the prices?
–Disculpe. ¿Cuánto cuesta esta cesta?
–Lo siento, señor. No está en venta.
–Sí, me lo imaginaba. ¿Y ese carro?
–Excuse me. How much does this basket cost?
–I’m sorry, Sir. It’s not for sale.
–Yes, that’s what I thought. What about that trolley?
–Estoy buscando los “baked beans”.
–I’m looking for baked beans.
–¿Dónde está la cerveza?
–Entre el champú y los periódicos.
–Where’s the beer?
–Between the shampoo and the newspapers.
Cero con cuarenta y cinco kilos de uvas, por favor.
A pound of grapes, please.
¿No tienen otros palitos de merluza?
Are these the only fish fingers you’ve got?
–Puedo pagar con Visa?
–Can I pay by Visa?
–We can try.
–Me enseña su DNI, por favor.
–Soy británico. No lo necesito.
–Can you show me your ID, please?
–I’m British. I don’t need it.
–¿Quiere los puntos?
–¿Para qué son?
–Tenemos una oferta en cazuelas.
–Do you want the points?
–What are they for?
–We’ve got an offer on saucepans.
Spanglish for Impatient People, Lesson 8, “in the supermarket”