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    Oana S. Jan 18 '06 12

    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).
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    • 12 Comments

    • brian buchalski
      Jan 18, 06 1:01 pm

      fun displays...which store was the 11th one down? it turns out my giraffe needs a scarf and that one looks perfect...much nicer than the selection available in the un-ited states

      aml
      Jan 18, 06 2:12 pm

      i want cats to clean my bathroom too!!! [if that's what they're doing... actually they just seem to be playing around]

      A
      Jan 18, 06 4:05 pm

      My girlfriend, originally from Canada, often complains that her recipies are harder to make in the USA because we have more variety on the supermarket shelf. It takes her twice as long to find the right canned tomatos or lasagna noodles. Upon arriving at home she's too exhausted to even cook.

      I wonder if we really are happier having dozens of varieties of each product - low sugar, low fat, reduced calories, no sugar, no acid, no carb, all natural, no msg, family size, king size, single serving, shatter proof, squeeze bottle, etc. etc. From packaging to flavoring to what's in the actual food, it's mindboggling. Is this all a sign of our success as a society? Has success gone too far in some instances?

      brian buchalski
      Jan 18, 06 4:25 pm

      success = having a choice of designer wear for your pet giraffe

      we have not yet achieved that

      Quilian RianoQuilian Riano
      Jan 18, 06 4:58 pm

      A-
      That is highly debated topic. I have heard that in america we are more stressed becasue of too much choice.

      I remember that shopping in Italy was easier you went to the supermarket and got onew of the 3 or 4 boxes of cereal. here I go to the supermarket, and it takes me at least 5 mins to look through all 200 brands.

      vado retro
      Jan 18, 06 9:18 pm

      that baby is obese quit exploiting fat babies people!

      Oana S.
      Jan 19, 06 9:27 am

      regarding pics: the ones 'til kong are from Printemps. Kong and the next 2 ones from Lafayette and the Baby from United colours of Benetton.
      Printemps had a great succes due to the really nice designings and the moving puppets.
      The bathroom scene was by far my favourite - though i never considered those cats. i'll upload later some close-ups.

      regarding way too many products: i sometimes catch myself staying in front of a shelf and not being able to pick one product - one has a new super dooper extra something special bottle, the other one makes you slim (!) - that's why they wrote fitness on it, right? - so i don't have to go to the gym anymore 'cause i eat only 'fitness' products ) and so on.
      In the end I always choose the nicer package and ignore the big writings that promise miracles.

      brian buchalski
      Jan 19, 06 1:40 pm

      now that i look again, that looks alot like my bathroom. but i don't especially like cats.

      i don't like smoking either, but for some reason i would like to have a cat that smokes cigarettes. that'd be a great addition to my apartment.

      vado retro
      Jan 19, 06 6:27 pm

      9th image from the bottom is that you ms. oana???

      Oana S.
      Jan 20, 06 4:48 am

      i was wondering how you didn't notice it in the first place and instead you reffered to the baby...hmmmmmmmmmm

      brian buchalski
      Jan 20, 06 1:59 pm

      vado been getting in touch with his "motherly" side

      vado retro
      Jan 20, 06 6:05 pm

      well as foxy as oaaaana be i haf to think of the children...

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