Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Grumpy old French men

The supermarket near Maylin's school is Champion. On Tuesdays, it opens at 8:30 am. I arrived early, just after dropping off Maylin. When the doors opened, three people out of nowhere somehow beat me to it. One of them was an older man, in his late 60's, who I recognized as a regular. Let's call him Monsieur X. He acted as if he deserved everyone's attention. M. X was running around like a chicken with his head cut off in his quest to find the right confiture, otherwise known as jam. He barged into the already very narrow aisle which was occupied by pallets of products needing to be stocked on the shelves immediately, an employee who was in the process of stocking, and myself. M. X stood right in front of the jams, oblivious to the poor Champion employee who was trying to juggle unwieldy packages of paper towels and cereal and get past him at the same time. Unfortunately, the staff member was stuck doing his balancing act while trying to advise a very flustered Monsieur X, who wanted help but didn't seem to want to listen to anyone either. Finally, Monsieur X grabbed what he thought was the right jar off of the shelf and bolted down the aisle. A minute later, he was back complaining that it was the wrong one. Another employee suggested, "Bonne Maman?" which is a very reputable company which makes delicious jams and cookies. Nope. Well, I didn't stay to see how his story panned out.

But, towards the end of my shopping trip, I ran into another crazed man, Monsieur Y. He was moving quickly up and down my aisle mumbling, "Ou est blah-blah-blah oiseaux?" Eventually, I realized he was looking for "des graines d'oiseaux," or birdseed. M. Y wasn't really talking to anyone and no one seemed to be paying him any attention, but I decided to help him out anyway. I took him over to the right shelf and brought down a box of birdseed for him. He looked at it blankly and walked off to ask an employee the location of the birdseed -- as if I didn't exist. (By the way, that's the worst insult you can give me.) "Next to that woman." Duh. I just pointed it out to him! I tried to be patient and offered him the box again. Gruffly, he said it wasn't the right one. It was supposed to be in a bag, not a box. No word of thanks. No smile. Monsieur Y just walked away as I stood there dumbly with birdseed in my hand. Fine. That's the last time I'm helping you again.

Last year, it was the year of grumpy old women. This year, grumpy old men are in season. C'est la vie.

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