A Lesson at the Local Store

A couple of days ago, I went shopping at our tiny local store. Only one customer was in front of me. Pretty good, I thought, it won’t take me too long. Little did I know that I would be in that store for 45 minutes!

As the person in front of me needed every item in sight and the store owner loves interacting with his customers, I couldn’t help but listen to their conversation. So it went:

The store owner is tired of tourists taking pictures of him through the window so he put a white plastic cover on that window (he is one of the last dinosaurs of Mom & Pop’s kind of store). He went on explaining why he doesn’t like being on films, it’s something that he doesn’t trust. Humm, I thought, this is a philosophical and a psychological conversation.

The customer described on a spray that could be used instead of a piece of plastic – some stuff made of fine particles of glass. There was chemistry.

Next the customer explained how the cops on freeways are now taking pictures of fast driving cars from any point, then check the time it took for the same car to arrive at the next toll booth – from there they can calculate how fast that car was going. The is math.

Election time is coming. They both agreed that politicians are crooks,they are just there for the good life and a good retirement. “Why do you vote them?” I asked. They both looked at me funny, like this was a strange question. What I understood was that it is better to vote for the best bad guy of your choice than having no bad guy at all. Well, psychology? Philosophy? Never the less, here is political science or law.

I couldn’t help but tell them that being in that store was like going to school and I explained the various classes they had gone through. “Where is the history class,” I asked?

It didn’t take them 5 minutes and there they were talking about the last war, how the village priest , the gas-station owner and some nearby château owner had all helped the nazis. The customer looked at me and said, “You know, the best history isn’t written in books.”

The moral of the story: I could have taken the car to the closest big town, shopped at THE big store where it’s warm, get a quick, cold “bonjour” from the cashier, then zipp, zipp, bleep, bleep my food and come back home. Instead, I got to interact with the locals, get a class lesson of 45 minutes and leave with a smile on my face!


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