Jan '05 - Jan '07
As we arrived on the night before New year's eve in Paris, the 31st was reserved for some supplies and a quick first look around.
Let's just say the 31st of December is an interesting day of the year for taking a walk on Haussman or Champs Elysees. The show cases at Printemps and Lafayette animated the whole street. Tourists and locals mingled, some English combined with a ”˜mersi' or 'pardon' that betrayed their origin, some french and of course, the famous ”˜do you speak English?'. At Lafayette Gourmet I saw the most beautiful use of colors: around 50 different spices, each on a different plate. They seduced all of your senses. I asked whether I could take a pic and got spices instead. ”˜A little' means mostly no English.
The day before we had been to a regular shopping center in one of the suburbs, but strangely enough, I got the same feeling there as I had at the Lafayette: a circus like atmosphere, rivers of chocolate and eatable grass, chips as decorations and walls out of cake. Even the moon is for sale.
In the supermarket the way the products were simply thrown on the ground, all the shelves stuffed with God knows what kind of products, some opened by the curious, others just torn apart by bad handling, gave you the sense of a huge surplus. Like the hunter and the hunted, except for the actual act of ....... No, except for nothing. Just as violent, just as greedy and the hunt is not easy at all. Only the prey doesn't run but you have the constant fear it might, don't you?! And the walk / drive to the supermarket/stores is an effort which you'll have to make up for. Reward yourself. One bite makes you wanna take the next one. Stuffed? Then let's get some more. You don't need that? That makes it perfect.
In the heart of the town I was fascinated by the variety of products. To chose a mustard is not as easy as it may seem when you have 10 square meters of different types. Imagine there was butter at 35% fat, at 36%fat, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41% fat ...at 97, 98, 99% fat. Now amplify this to every type of product (and I'm not referring to cheese and wine). Decisions are not easy. Shopping is not easy. How often did you wish you had a wheel chair to be able to get to next store, because your feet hurt so badly but the urge was there and it kept you going more then in the gym?
I enjoyed it and played the game. Pushed whatever was in the way to get the last item of a kind, walked over bodies for something I didn't need and pretended to be very serious and aware of the difficulty of my assignment to decide which mustard to buy. Just act as if you would know the fine differences of taste between the bigger or smaller grains in mustard. Everybody else does it too.
And I didn't even catch the sales (unfortunately, I might add).