Monday, January 3, 2011

Shopping in Cairo

Well Norris and I have been living in this culture for the last 3 years and we are starting to get the hang of shopping here.  It is hard to describe the chaos, yet order, of being at the grocery store.  I can honestly say there have been moments that Norris and I pick up one thing on our grocery list and we realize we are not going to make we put it back and leave the shopping to the next day!!!  It is funny when we try to rationalize whether or not we REALLY need to do our shopping when we look in the store and see the crowds of people!!  Now when thinking about shopping I have to paint you a picture about what the norms are for Cairo.

First:There is NO such thing as lines....REALLY...NO such thing!  If your cart is two inches away from the cashier someone else will find their way to the front.
Second: They never have change.  They will either insist that you give exact change or it takes a LONG time for them to walk around and try to find you change!
Third: There are about 25 million people that live in Cairo and I am pretty sure that they all go shopping at the same time.  We have not figured out what time that is yet.  It seems to be every time that we go shopping!
Fourth: If you get any fresh fruits or veggies you have to get them all weighed and priced in a separate line that everyone is also waiting for!
Fifth: All the carts are made with four moving wheels.  They all can rotate each way and it can make it very difficult to move the cart! 
Sixth: I love IT!  It is so fun to pretend that you are playing bumper cars with all the other carts! It is always a fun adventure to see if you are going to get cut off by someone who thinks that half an inch is enough space for them to fit!

The strange thing is it works for them!  I would not change what they do, if you did I think the system would fall apart!  Someone very wise told me that they do not see a line...They see space!!!  If there is space there is a place for them!  After our 3 years we can't quite get to that point but we now know how to protect the "space" that is around us!   

Enjoy your shopping!!

1 comment:

  1. Are you calling the middle school student who said "What line? I see space" wise?