Saturday, September 16, 2006

I know I've been living in Paris too long when I'm OCD about the way I place my items on the conveyor belt even at Publix*. In Paris, where I shop, you have to bag your own stuff. To make it easier on myself I categorize the stuff as I place it on the belt - veggies, cold stuff, bottles/cans/jars, etc. I have no need to do this at Publix, where the fabulous bagboys double bag as policy; automatically put the bread and eggs in their own bag so they won't get smashed; and even help you out to your car - no tips expected or even allowed!; yet I can't help myself.

Other things I've noticed while home:

-Shampoo bottles seem like they were made for giants in the US, compared to the itty bitty French bottles. And everything else, for that matter. On one of my first days back I went to Costco. I was overwhelmed, not only by the quantities of the items (a gallon of soy sauce, anyone?) but also by the sizes of a majority of customers. The free samples in the food aisles highlighted the differences between France and the US. Americans really are fat. Very fat.

-How easy it is to contact companies and resolve problems.
I had bought a Christmas gift for R last fall, but it didn't fit and so I had to return it. Even though it had been months since I bought it, I had the receipt and I got my money right back, no questions asked. So simple, so hassle free, I love it.

-Going to eat in restaurants.
I don't even care. I know that might seem wierd for anyone who has ever read this blog before, where it is very obvious how much I love the food. But I'm just not excited. As soon as I get my major cravings out of the way, it's all the same to me and I could eat Honey Bunches of Oats for dinner every night without complaining. Even though it is so cheap and so easy to eat out here. Part of it is the timing - why does everyone want to go out to dinner so early here? I'm not ready to eat til 8 pm at the earliest. Another thing is the huuuge portions. I prefer 3 dainty courses to one imposing American one anyday.

-How addicting Half and Amazon marketplaces are
I had ordered the obligatory American DVDs, CDs, and books before I left, so that they would be awaiting me. Dude these places rock. As cheap as ebay and without the post-auction hassles and delay. And I have only had one sour transaction where the condition/quality was not up to par.

-How annoying commercials are
Praise French TV!

So, yeah, it's great to be home. But I am also missing Paris, and when I return I will feel a different type of relief -- ahhh...pain au wine...museums -- and discomfort -- shit everywhere...stinkymetrosmell...expen$ive prices...
Just the give and take of being able to call two fabulous, parallel, cities home.

*I must confess, my loyalty to Publix is wavering. On a recent trip to visit a friend I discovered Wegmans, which combines Publix customer service and prices with Whole Foods random-ass selections. I think I'm love...
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rion said...

"categorize the stuff as I place it on the belt"
wow, that makes so much sense that I can't believe I didn't think of it before. Yay! my trips to Monop will never be the same.

Dionysis said...

Leave in Chicago, home city Athens, Greece. While Athens is no Paris for sure, I totally feel the "good this-bad that" every time I'm in each city and constantly compare and contrast! I miss each city a lot when I’m in the other. I think its a privilege that I can experience that... thank for doing the same with USA (city?)-Paris.

laviejolie said...

I thought I was the only one who did the conveyor belt organization!

Pam said...

We have to bag in Austria too, and I sort on the belt as well. You HAVE to because the checker is hurling the next person's groceries even as you're still bagging yours. If you don't sort your eggs are, well, you know.

I always avoid Costco until I'm settled back in stateside, it's just too much to deal with right away...

Reading you via "In Paris Now" and enjoying it very much.

:) Pam in Austria

Etienne said...

It's amazing how the whole checkout procedure in France (and Austria, I guess - Spar?) makes grocery shopping so much more stressful. The cashier barking at you, the people behind you in line giving you the evil eye, the people in front of you who are taking up all the space...argh! Back home I could spend hours in Publix/WholeFoods/Wegmans, grocery shopping is actually fun. Sigh. But back home I can't get the same great selection of cheese or wine...