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Monday, July 27, 2009

Shopping is Hell!


Our visitors will be delighted to know that we now have bedding for them.

This was purchased in a supermarket in Sant Boi which I prefer to Carrefour. This positive preference was not matched by my experience there. Alcampo, the supermarket that I was in, is the only place which demands that you use a 50c coin in their trollies. All the others offer a selection of coins to release the vehicles, but not Alcampo. I did not have a 50c coin, needless to say. The change machine was out of order. I was in the wrong part of the store to go to the information kiosk.

I had started my shopping by assuming that a plastic wheeled basket would be sufficient. It wasn’t. Not only wasn’t it commodious enough, but I took a corner in an aisle too quickly and everything that I had in it tipped out.

Abandoning my basket in a convenient corner of the store I went in search of a trolley. I bought a lottery ticket for 1.50€ using a 2€ coin: never let it be said that my ‘O’ level in Maths did not come to my aid in times of commercial crisis!

I always thought that there was a sort of money grubbing logic to the way in which supermarkets are set out – but the logic which informed this layout of this one defeated me. To be precise: where the bread was.

Bread is a key commodity in a supermarket. Everyone buys it so where you locate it and what you place it next to is a key component in the commercial structure of the shop. I asked four employees all of whom (except for the one who said that he had no idea and I should ask Information) gave radically different instructions about how to find it. The fifth one was able to indicate with a wave of the hand and I saw the familiar cellophane encased sticks rising above a counter.

Then paying. My photocopied credit card sized version of my passport which has served me well in many transactions in spite of its illegality was refused. I therefore brought out the creased and venerable NIE (my identification document issued by the Spanish Government) that too was refused and dismissed as a photocopy. I am proud to say that I had a stand up row in Spanish and fluent splutter.

The sales assistant did give in and stomped out of the store feeling aggrieved but linguistically victorious!

Tomorrow a meeting in Barcelona with the two employees of ESCAAN to decide on future plans to get The Owner.

A meeting I think that I will enjoy.

Our great achievement for today was putting up Ceri’s big charcoal. As this picture has to be screwed into the wall because of its weight I fear that its ‘straightness’ is going to be a bone of contention for some time to come.

Those discussions, however, are going to be nothing compared to the differences of opinion about how to get it on to the wall in the first place!

Still, such efforts were good preparation for building yet more Billy bookcases. I am convinced that purgatory is full of people making IKEA furniture while hell is full of people making IKEA furniture with missing bits and faulty diagrams.


Supervised by Margaret Thatcher.
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