Friday, November 30, 2007

Matola Shoprite

We have a Shoprite in Matola now! That may not sound newsworthy to you, but trust me – it is a great day, not only for Matola, but for all of Mozambique! Even if they don't carry cinnamon and are constantly running out of stock of things like milk, it is still a privilege to be able to walk into a grocery store. And until this week, the closest (and, until a couple weeks ago, only) grocery store in Mozambique was 45 minutes drive away.

So today while I was sleepin' at my cousins' house, Mommy ventured to Shoprite and remembered two important things – grand openings have lots of people, and grand openings have inexperienced employees.

When she arrived, the music blaring from another store in the shopping complex made things seem quite festive. (Too bad it wasn't Christmas music.) There was quite a bit of parking available. There were shopping carts (not to be taken for granted per other shopping reports). They let Mommy in the store without checking in her purse. And there was food on the shelves. So far, so good!

Then came time to check out. There were no checkout lines – just a huge mob. Mommy stood in "line" for 20 minutes and it didn't move an inch. So she moved closer to another check out spot, and that one actually moved slowly. With only two people ahead of her, all of a sudden five more showed up – the person in front of her had been saving their spot while they got some more items . . .

Then the "new" person in front of her (one of the five) had to have a price check, since the juice she bought was showing up with the price for the larger quantity on the register. Finally the customer service manager came and told her she could either take the juice at the higher price or come back and get it later after they fixed the price in their system.

As Mommy was putting her food on the grimy, sticky check out counter, a woman with only a chicken came and pleaded to go in front of her. Hot and bothered, she refused. So did the family behind her. So much for her good deed of the day. That is still bothering her.

And then the cashiers changed. It's not just a matter of swapping drawers; the old cashier had to remove all the currency one slot at a time into a Shoprite plastic bag. Then the new cashier had to take her currency and sort and put it in each slot.

So finally her total was rung up. She paid with a 1000MT note (US$40), and the new cashier didn't have enough change for her US$20 purchase. So she had to wait for the cashier beside her to make change with her.

Goods in cart, Mommy headed for the mob at the door, where people were trying to squeeze past the ONE man who looks at your receipt and checks the items in the cart to make sure you are actually taking everything you bought. (You'd think he'd be checking to make sure you bought everything you're taking, but she swears that it's the other way around since he checks the list first and then your cart.

Free at last! Now Mommy gets surrounded by ten 10-year-old boys (no more, no less) wanting to grab her cart from her. As soon as she gets to the car, they grab the bags from the cart and pack them into the car. As she drives off, they are still surrounding the car, squabbling over who gets the two coins she paid them.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was waking up and running a temperature. I'm sick, you see. I was very happy to see Mommy again, and I need to go to bed now and get better before we go camping tomorrow.


Rachid said...

Hi there, i was suprised to see shoprite in matola, i live few metres from shoprite. I was happy to go and buy just like SA. everything is the same. I love going home now. hock me up when you are in Matola, my details are as follows: +27838588444 and my email is