Why is supermarket shopping in France nicer than at home?

It’s no secret, that I LOATHE supermarket shopping. The actual act of going to a supermarket, and having to buy things. Online shopping takes a lot of the sting out of it, but as much as I would like to pretend that supermarkets don’t exist, sadly they do, and they are useful. That doesn’t mean I like going shopping, and lets not mention taking the children, because that frankly is an act of torture I prefer not to think about. (I would like to say here that if you LOVE supermarket shopping and have found a way to make it a fun and pleasurable experience with children in tow, feel free to get in touch, you can write me a guest post about it. Every little helps…. 😉 )
I think I dislike supermarket shopping for several reasons, the main ones being that they always move stuff about, so when you go to look for an item you buy regularly and it’s been moved, to try and encourage you to buy other products as well, or some such product placement scheme, and you have to spend extra time hunting things instead of speeding through your list and getting out of the place as fast as possible. I also dislike the pretence that you are getting a bargain. “Buy two washing up liquids and save 20p…” or “buy one get one free”. They aren’t really saving you money, are they, it’s all just a ploy to get you to spend more…
Theyre usually busy, full of people who probably like me, also wish they were elsewhere, and doing something more fun, and having worked in a supermarket when I was a poor student needing extra money to pay my rent, I can tell you that the staff may all seem very cheerful and helpful, to your face, but in reality they also probably want to be elsewhere too, and are definitely not paid enough to be nice to people all day asking where things are, complaining about prices or having a rant about a product not being available. (I witnessed one man shouting at a poor, helpless shelf stocker once, one morning, because he couldn’t get the brand of coffee he wanted, and it was clearly said shelf stocker’s fault, entirely, of course!)
Anyway, you get my drift? Supermarket shopping is the pits, right?

carrefour
So, imagine my surprise when I came to France and discovered that actually, I quite like supermarket shopping here. I don’t know why…
The set up is the same, pretty much, the aisles are the same, the way they run is pretty similar. I also have to work harder, not just to keep my children from mowing people down whilst calling out “excusez-moi” as they push the baby trolleys that are provided around (OK, that does make shopping slightly more fun for them, it gives them something to do other than pester me for things!) but also because I have to concentrate and translate labels and prices. I have to read labels to make sure we are buying foods that won’t cause health issues for my dairy and gluten intolerant boys too.
But it seems nicer, calmer, and more interesting. The fresh food area is much more inviting and appetizing, and whilst people do get grumpy if you take too long weighing out your veg and fruit, it does feel like you are actually buying things that you want to eat, rather than just stocking up the fridge for the week.
Maybe it’s the huge cheese counter and selection, or the cheaper wines available, or the enormous tubs of Nutella dotted here and there (ahem, no I haven’t bought one yet!)
Maybe it’s the excitement of finding things you love but cannot get in the UK (I have already contacted two companies to try and rectify this one) or maybe it’s because things do seem slightly cheaper, despite the current Euro – pound Brexit slump? Who knows?
I actually enjoy going to the supermarket, and don’t feel the need to plan it time wise so that I can come home and pour a glass of wine as soon as I get in the door, to soothe my shattered nerves.
Perhaps the novelty would wear off if I lived here and had to go regularly. Maybe locals feel the same way about my beloved Carrefour as I do about our local supermarket back home.
Who knows? All I know is that I will be sad to leave and have to go back to the UK and the grind of supermarket shopping at home…
anyone else feel the same? Can you explain it, or am I just weird?

*this post is not sponsored in any way shape or form… ;)*

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