So a year and a half after making Aliyah – I have a confession to make…
I am not a huge fan of Israeli supermarkets.
It’s been a long time coming. At first, I loved them. I was amused by the surly cashier, looking at me blankly when I asked for help packing my shopping. How I laughed when all the items in my overflowing shopping trolley wouldn’t fit on either end of the conveyor belt (design fault anyone?). No shopping trolley to be found? Don’t worry, walk around the shop until you find someone else’s and nick it.
But now, I’ve had enough. Today was the day that broke my happy go lucky shopper attitude’s back.
For 25 years I pledged loyal commitment to my favourite place ever – Tesco. I could never understand my friends who bought ‘a few things’ in Sainsbury’s and would ‘pop’ into Waitrose if they were on the Finchley Road. No, I was a Tesco girl through and through. But after making Aliyah, I have become a supermarket flirt.
Unable to commit to any of the local supermarkets due to their complete lack of care whether I ever return to their shop, or indeed whether I keel over and die there, I have flitted and fluttered around, freely, trying each chain in turn, comparing prices (the price on the shelf is always different to the one you end up paying) and ‘service’ (‘MUH??’) and knowing, just knowing, that my Supermarket Prince is out there and soon, soon, he will reveal himself to me.
But he’s not. And he didn’t. And I‘m sad. I’m alone and lost in a sea of crap Israeli supermarket chains.
Why are they so crap here? Why? Not one of them wants my custom. Not one of them gives a monkey’s whether I return next week or not.
They. Just. Don’t. Care.
As an overly polite and courteous shopper myself (‘No, no I’ll pack and take my 45 bags out to the car myself. I wouldn’t want to trouble you to do your actual job’), now, I am slowly, changing…….
Today, I dropped two bottles of beer on the floor. Huge loud smash. Totally my fault. All over the shop floor, all over the produce and most importantly, all over me, the customer, the ONE WHO IS ALWAYS RIGHT. There was beer and broken glass everywhere.
In England, at my beloved Tesco, three assistants would rush to help me. ‘Are you alright Madam?’, ‘Let’s get you away from that nasty broken glass, shall we?’ ‘There, there love, cup of tea?’. Followed by the comforting tannoy announcement (‘Ye, Derek, spillage in aisle 3 please mate’) that tells you, the customer, that it’s OK and no, you don’t have to clear it up yourself.
I waited for the rush of attention. And I waited. Nothing.
The smash could be heard in the next town and yet not one assistant in the relatively small shop moved a muscle. There was a lady stacking shelves three feet away from me. Impossible to miss the noise, or the broken glass that shot towards her feet and settled around her in a pleasing shiny pattern and no way could she ignore the (not unpleasant) smell of spilt beer around her vicinity.
But she didn’t even move.
Without the prospect of Derek from Tesco coming to clear the mess away, I certainly didn’t want to risk being asked to do it, so I made a quick escape to the crisp aisle, red-faced and sweating, frantically looking around to check for the spillage police to investigate my clumsy spillage. I pretended to be frightfully interested in the ingredients in a packet of Doritos and nonchalantly passed off my soaked t shirt and jeans and stench of stale beer as an unfortunate drinking problem.
I needn’t have worried. No one took any notice whatsoever of the lady covered in beer. No mops were brought out, no worried health and safety official rushed over with a clipboard to assess the risk of broken glass to other customers, no one seemed aware that I was slinking warily through the shop, followed by the waft of beer.
I finished my shop and left. As I did, I caught a sly glance at the drinks aisle on my way out.
The broken glass and spilt beer was still there as it had fallen. Not one of the assistants had made any attempt to clear it up for the benefit of other customers..
And I realized. They. Just. Don’t. Care.
And so I have decided, in the future. Neither. Will. I.