a wandering woman writes

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

An American solution?

Saturday, 11:10 and I'm already half way to El Arból.

Thrilled to be arriving long before the Saturday crowds, I make a quick stop at the bookstore, where I ask for one book about Salamanca history, and leave with three. This guy sees me coming, but I do enjoy his enthusiastic page-by-page book tours.

1130 and my chic purple and green plaid grocery cart and I roll through the doors of El Arból. Thinking of my last shopping excursion, when I chased a woman up Calle Conde de Crespo Rascón hollering "That´s my caaaarrrt! Myyy caaarrt!" (she was mistaken, for the record, not criminal), I decide I'll do like the natives and pay 50 cents to lock up my precious cart while I shop.

Only the machine doesn't work. I wrap the chain around the handle of my beloved if nerdy carrito and lock it in place. But the machine won't take my money...and the key which will allow me to later reclaim my carrito...just..won't...errr...budge.

American solution 1: Get shopping. Deal with imprisioned cart later.

Cut to later. Chain: jammed. Fast. El Arból staff: less than sympathetic.

-Sorry - says the last cashier to give it the good college try.
-Come back Monday and pick it up.

Bags: many. Home: far.


OK, my fellow Americans: what do you do?

I ask because at least 6 thoroughly amused Spaniards have accused me of solving a Spanish problem (something doesn't work) with a American solution (buy something, but whatever you do don't ask for help).


I pack my groceries and books in to the manacled cart and head off to make the man's day at the ferretería. (Ferretería: picture a small town general store where everything is behind the counter, and the dependiente hollers

¿Más cosas?

at the top of his lungs every time he slams a customer's product onto the counter. The kind of place that carries 1 of every thing ever made.)

-¡Es de risa! Juán, ¡su carrito está atrapado en El Arból! José, ¡ven! ¡Mira esta! ¡Quiere comprar un carrito de emergencias!

They are amused. And sell me the 1 carrito they have in stock. From behind the counter.

Back at the El Arból, the cashier stares at me, aghast.

-You bought another cart????? (Translation: What planet did you say you were from?)


Funny thing is, now that I think about it I see the Spanish solutions. Take 3 trips home. Call a friend with a car. Take a taxi. (Knock the last 2 off the list, by the way, since I'm not yet Spanish enough to have my cell phone handy during every waking moment. I gasp! went shopping without it.)

And I can take the wisecracks, when I ask for a ride to Carrefour to pick up the goodies for Saturday's cosmos party, about me just taking one cart in either hand and heading up to Carrefour on my own, independent American wonder that I am.

But I think the real American solution is not to trust Spanish carrito-locking machines. Who is it exactly who's so hard up he's going to steal my purple and green plaid grocery cart, I want to know? If he does, I'll buy a new one then.

By the way, I did think about naming this post Much Ado about Nothing..... :)



  • Doesn't that supermarket take your shoping home for you?

    By Anonymous Alex, at 9:01 AM  

  • Ha.
    Good point. I´m sure they would have. Weird they didn´t offer. don´t you think?

    Hmph. I never thought of that! Although I hate having to be home waiting on deliveries.

    Another logical Spanish solution. :)

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:29 AM  

  • At the moment I´m not interested in a second hand cart. You know, my house is so small that it drives me crazy when I have to store a new device.
    HoHowever, I´m afraid, Fer will want to purchase one and it will take him no long to do it. He bought a ironing-board last time. He was announcing it for six weeks and finally he got it.

    Fortunately, there were a place between the fridge and the wall.
    If I have to do it I´ll buy yours.
    It is a deal.
    On the other hand, what about trying the second-hand-carts in Spain? It would be interesante! I mean, a new experience
    (OK, I did my best in english. Sooooorries)

    By Blogger Nomadita, at 5:20 PM  

  • Haha, this post is too funny.

    I would have probably done the exact same thing.

    By Blogger melusina, at 8:36 PM  

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