Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Condiments and Culture Shock

We had a small commissary in Wildflecken. You could only shop in one direction, and if the place was full we all formed a sort of grocery conga line and shuffled through the aisles. It was a good idea to shop with two people, that way you could grab stuff from both sides before the great shopping tide moved you on.

Not that there was much to grab. Anything that wasn't fresh was imported from the states. There was some inside group that seemed to know when the shipments came; the rest of us just hoped we hit the right day. Even when the unit moved and we had a much larger commissary there was the same amount of stuff, just spread out more. We made it worse of course because as soon as something did hit the shelves everyone would buy as much as possible because you didn't know when you would see it again. You could tell when something particularly popular arrived because of the rising dust from the mini riot. People would trample eachother for chocolate jello pudding.

I don't think I've ever had a clearer lesson in culture and economics than I did the first time we shopped in an American grocery store. I admit we got a few stares though.

'oh my gosh. Kirk look - LOOK.'

'I know.'

'How do we choose?'

'Well, what did we used to get?'

'... I don't remember. Should we just grab one?'

'I guess so...'

But we stayed there, mesmerized by the abundant choice of ketchup.

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