I've known it for most of my life, but now I have official confirmation - shopping is a pleasure!
I needed to go the supermarket today - the one nearest us on the marina - Spinneys, which I think caters mostly to expats rather than the locals. It's full of Waitrose products and high end groceries.
Anyway, I pulled up right outside at 8.30am and got my cart and proceeded to the aisles. Firstly, the meat counter where I learned they had no minced beef on the shelves. I asked one of the assistants if they had any - he asked me what weight I was looking for. I told him - he then proceeded to go out back to his mincer and prepared me some straight away. I also rather excitedly found the "pork" area - it is set in a slightly separate area of the store (am sure there must be a good reason why) but I pounced on the cumberland sausages with a squeal of delight! I found everything that I needed - Heinz beans are about 70% of the cost of those in the UK and for the most part, food is cheaper - even in this particular supermarket. I bought two of the most amazing rump steaks for £2 - quite how they can be imported from Australia for that price, I have no idea. The only thing I can't get is non-biological laundry detergent - it doesn't seem to exist, but whether Oliver's eczema will flare up without it, we will soon find out!
Anyway, before I bore you senseless, this is the exciting bit - I got to the checkout and a checkout guy emptied my trolley for me - loaded it onto the conveyor belt, packed it and then put it back in my trolley. Thank you, I said, thinking that was the end of the service . . . . . but no, there was more. He proceeded to push the trolley out to the car, opened the boot and piled my shopping into the car for me, nodded his head and went off with my trolley, leaving me nothing else to do but adjust my sunglasses and get into the car.
Could this experience get any better?
I then drove another 500 yards back to our apartments, to pull up outside the door. I got out and the bell-boy gave me a ticket, asked for my car key and said he would valet park the car. Another chap meanwhile was emptying the contents of my boot onto a gold trolley in order to bring it to our rooms! I walked up the steps, pressed the button for the lift and went upstairs to wait for the delivery. Sure enough, 5 minutes later, there it all was. It was carried into the kitchen, but not unpacked (gee, a girl has to do something!) and all for a small tip of about £1.
Beats Tesco hands down . . . .
I fully appreciate the fact that my time here in the apartment is numbered - less than 2 weeks before we venture out into the wide world where bell-boys and valet parking do not exist at my front door, but hopefully they still will at the grocery store!
PS - before you think that I'm just crowing about it over here and the grass is greener on the other side, it is NOT. I will write another entry soon with a lot of the cons of living here.