Observations of a non-American visisting Boston – The supermarket marathon

This non-American, visiting family in Boston, went food shopping today. To get to the supermarket she drove her father-in-law’s car. An automatic Toyota Cambri. With father- in-law in the passengerseat.

When in the US I let my husband drive. He’s good at knowing where we’re going and I don’t like driving in foreign countries. I guess I’m a perfectionist and like to be in control. Not knowing the way ánd being unfamiliar with trafficrules puts me too much out of my comfortzone.

Now it was different. Husband not being there and father-in-law handicapped I was to be the chauffeur. Was I going to get this car to the shop in one piece and back? With some trepidation I started the car and could not get the handle to shift from Park to Reverse. I pulled, father- in- law pulled, the thing would not yield. Than I remembered from a long ago past experience with automatics: you must put your foot on the break and than shift to Reverse…That did the job. I was overjoyed and punched father-in-law’s shoulder in my enthousiasm. It was the wrong (broken) shoulder.

So we drove over to Somerville. Smoothly and without any problem. Driving an automatic car is so comfortable that I wondered why on earth we bother to drive cars in Europe with clutch and gears? To show our driving skills? Silly, if you ask me. I for one would love to drive an automatic.

Anyway, we got to the convention-center-size shop that they call supermarket here and started our trip along the aisles. My father-in-law has been going there for years, so he has a method. I followed him meekly, trying not to get over stimulated by the endless choices and billions of products. But some choices had to be made.

Like the choice not to worry about the packaging for once. Back in Holland I’ve started to avoid plastic wrappings as much as I can. Which is difficult enough in our compareratively small stores. I bring along used bags, paper and plastic, and put my veggies and fruit in them. But here I felt I would have really frustrated my father-in-law, going through that process. So I decided to just do things his way.  I must admit, the ease of just loading anything into our cart that was handy and convenient, wrapped in layers of plastic or not, was very pleasant. Principles are good but always take more effort, it seems. At the cashiers all our shoppings were put in individual plastic bags…ouch. That did hurt a little.

We had stocked up, since my father-in-law cannot drive on account of his arm in a sling. We have a great supply of garbagebags now.  At least he recycles them as such. It soothed my conscience a little.This non American is going to buy a decent shopping bag for her next shopping spree.

American supermarkets will have to change their packing policies. France has done it in the past. There too everything was put in plastic bags,, but now no longer. The bags are even outlawed. Even the paper bags, so typical for the American shops,  are unneccesary if and when folks would bring along their own bags.

Chris and I were exausted when we came home. We had shopped for an orphanage. And I had safely driven his car through Boston traffic.


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