Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eldorado of Modern Times

Supermarkets are packed with food and crammed with people. They either walk purposely towards their prey. They, more often, blankly stare at the shelves, confused by so much choice. One is amazed how little interaction happens between strangers. Sometimes people argue when someone jumps the queue at the till, or when the 'self-service check-out' (horrible thought and word) has broken down. On such occasions, one can hear a very loud rosary of fuck this and that. Supermarkets and the lack of contact are at the antipodes of independent food stores or markets, where the cashier -even when he is very rude - doesn't offend my hears half as much as a bleeping machine. I once needed to find some ingredients for a new recipe, and didn't know what a groundnut was. I was determined to come back home with what seemed essential to a food venture's success , and asked around me to quiet shoppers. A Swiss couple did their best to help me in my quest, without success, as they did not know more about groundnuts than I did. Some people looked offended to be spoken to by a stranger in a supermarket, and gave me dirty looks for not minding my own business, like everybody else! This sociological experience reinforces my belief that mankind increasingly prefers to talk with machines than with their peers. And, if like me, you don't know what a groundnut is, a very kind gentleman, looking sceptic at my question, eventually gave me the answer: "It is a peanut".

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