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Grocery shopping

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The dearth of big supermarkets in NY means that you end up dropping an unbelievable amount of money by shopping in the independently-run delis and bodegas. (Our nearest is called ‘Earth’s Bounty’. I refuse to shop there out of principle).

So I did my research and hit up Pathmark yesterday. (Pronunciation key: Path (northern pronunciation) + Mark (southern pronunciation)*. Reviews warned me that “the fruits and vegetables seem to be crying,” that there were “crackheads galore” and that queues at the tills were “insane”. All in all, it sounded like an opportunity too good to pass up.

The Gowanus Expressway looms at the end of 12th Street, a huge elevated snarl of traffic in the sky. It also passes through a heavily industrial neighbourhood, a significant portion of which is lined with dumpster trucks. So far, so good.

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Illustration: a section of the chip aisle

Would place Pathmark somewhere between Asda and Lidl as regards apperarance. It boasts hangar-like dimensions and overwhelming choice. The chip aisle was unbelievable. Spent a good five minutes trying to determine the difference between detergent labelled “clinician tested” and the same brand’s “dermatologist tested” offering. Thieved the one remaining shopping basket from the register and asked a chap with gold teeth where I could find the bread.

The highlight was a bloke at the chiller hastily moving items from one trolley to another and casting worried glances at an elderly (and oblivious) Chinese lady. He kept muttering, “wrong cart” under his breath.

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