Monday, April 28, 2014

Grocery Shopping - Expat Style

I went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up a few things, one of which was  Marmite.  I was in a rush so I wanted to get in and out of there as quickly as possible.  I got to the checkout, chucked my items on the conveyor, said hello and waited as the lady scanned them.  Unfortunately the last item (the Marmite) didn't scan.  The lady who was bagging my groceries told me she'd go find it on the shelf and get the price for me because I couldn't remember how much it was.  That's when it started.  She began by saying "G'day mate, Vegemite, Marmite" in a very poor Australian accent.  I smiled politely whilst thinking "C'mon love, I want to get out of here as quickly as possible".  Nope, more "G'day mates" followed and then she asked me if I was from Oz or New Zealand.  Bless her.  I told her I was from Scotland so then she launched into a huge commentary about how people from Australia love Marmite and Vegemite and how I sounded just like I was from down under.  I was still smiling politely and she disappeared off to get the price of my Marmite which I told her was in the Ethnic aisle.  

At least 5 minutes later, she still hadn't returned.  I was standing making small talk with the cashier about the dog ice cream (yes, our dog is spoiled) that I'd bought for Molly.  I was getting worried that it was starting to melt.

A few minutes later, the bagger lady came back and asked me what aisle I'd found the Marmite in.  What aisle?!  I told you over 5 minutes ago!  I remained nice and polite however and told her I'd show her where it was located.  Whilst walking to the Marmite, she asked me where in Scotland I was from.  I know, she was just being friendly and I do love how friendly people here are!  But seriously, I have this same conversation pretty much every time I open my mouth in stores.  She then launched into a huge Welcome to America speech, not listening when I quietly protested that I'd actually been living over here for a few years.  I think she honestly thought that I'd just crawled out of my cave on the Isle of Sky, having lived on porridge, whisky and marmite my whole life before coming to The Land Of the Free.

By this time I was running.  I beat her there, grabbed it and ran back to the checkout to give it to the lady to scan.  The friendly bagger lady was jogging behind me, telling me I'd love it here in America and how everything here is bigger than overseas.  Did she not hear me telling her I'd lived here for a while?!  Get me out of here!!  The checkout lady had to rescan all my items because so much time had lapsed by now (it felt like 10 hours).  I was jigging around uncomfortably but still trying to remain polite and nice.  The bagger lady was STILL talking, telling me that "Guess, what, I'm actually Scotch-Irish, perhaps we're related, can I carry your stuff to your car"?  I literally grabbed my bags off the counter and ran to the safety of my car, sweating like I'd just run a half marathon.  She was still shouting after me that her family had a lot of red hair...  I didn't hear the rest.

And this kind of thing, my friends, happens all the time.  In the past, I've been in the supermarket and somebody actually came up and begged me to say "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" in my 'Scotch' accent.  Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy chatting to people and I love that people are interested in where I'm from, but this lady was CRAZY and wasn't even listening to a word I said!  I'd like to finish my little tale by saying THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SCOTCH-IRISH, especially when you were born in America!!!!

PS.  I'm happy to report that Molly loved her dog ice cream although it was rather watery from melting somewhat.

PPS.  If you haven't tried Marmite before, here's a rather funny Marmite commercial, to give you an idea of what it's like.   Enjoy!  

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