My little local grocery was crowded this evening, when I went to try to prepare for Ted’s visit. Last week was orientation for the foreign students at the local university, and now the Dutch students are trickling back. The store itself wasn’t too badly crowded, but the lines at the register were some of the longest I’ve seen. This store, only a block from the train station, seems to be aimed mostly at people stoping by for that night’s dinner, on the way home from work. Most people buy fairly small quantities on a trip there, even by Dutch standards. Since re-organizing last month, they have it set up so that if you use a cart you pay in one particular line, while if you use one of their new nifty baskets (that have wheels! and can be pulled or pushed around the store like a toddler toy) you can go to any line. It’s nice because now you just put the basket there and the cashier checks items directly out of it – they used to insist on you unloading baskets onto the belt.
The lines stretched back into the aisles; most people waiting were about 20 years old, and of varying nationalities. The couple behind me were speaking Mandarin. Then an old lady came with a cart, and tried to wedge her way into our line. Our cashier told her she’d need to stand in the cart line, and the old lady complained because the line was too long. Well, yeah, with other people waiting for their food! Then another register opened just past ours. New cashier also told her to stand in the other line, and the old lady complained again. The cashier gave in and rang her her three items.
And I was left thinking, “Congratulations, you old bitch. Lucky for me I know that most Dutch people aren’t like you, but you just taught a store-ful of young foreigners that the Dutch are rude, self-absorbed, and possibly somewhat racist. Good going.”