There are some times that a girl just really does not want to be hit on. During a work-out, for example, or by the 16 year-old boys working at the University Place Trader Joe’s. Anywhere her father (or brother) is also present, and anytime she feels particularly unattractive. Doing her Saturday morning grocery shopping with no make-up on and dirty hair, for example, is one of these times.
You know, I normally do my grocery shopping at the Monoprix on Avenue de l’Opéra. Yes, it’s more expensive than a Marché U or an Ed, but it’s so convenient. It’s like the Target of France, and the closest I’ve found to one-stop shopping in Paris. Imagine Target, but with a boulangerie and a wine department, and you’ve got the Monoprix. Plus it’s open late! Well, it’s open until 22h on weekdays, which is a good two hours later than any other grocery store in the area. Oh, how I miss 24-hour grocery shopping.
It is kind of pricey though, which is why I decided to be smart today and go to the Franprix around the corner from me in the opposite direction. Usually I do my shopping after nannying in the evenings (when most stores are closed), so Monoprix is the default, but since I was out and about during normal store hours, I figured I’d be thrifty with my milk and green beans (and coconut yogurt, which I discovered in the fridge downstairs while I was babysitting last night and fell instantly in love with).
It took me about…two minutes in the Franprix to remember why I like to buy more expensive groceries – the employees in the chi-chi stores don’t hit on you (we had to stop shopping at the Ed near our September apartment because there was an employee who would not leave Rachael alone). I was casually checking out the prices of paper towels when a young employee (who turned out to be the manager) walked up to me, asking if I needed help picking out a good bottle of wine or anything else. I thanked him, but I was just interested in regular groceries today and I started to walk toward the cereal.
This employee, whose name is apparently Christophe, continued to follow me around the store asking me questions for the entire time I was shopping.
“Aha, vous venez d’Italie, non?” (Aha, you’re from Italy, right?). When I told him I was actually American, I was met with the typical response: “Ah! George Bush.” I nodded and smiled and kept on my way, but Christophe had apparently decided that we’d been small-talking for long enough, and started asking me out.
He wanted to go out to a bar tonight, or to brunch tomorrow, or dinner if I couldn’t make it to brunch, and if not that, we could go out one evening next week. I told him I was really busy this weekend with homework, and that I didn’t own a telephone (a pretty obvious lie, but I thought it would deter him a little), so he informed me that I would have to call him to make this date.
He told me to follow him back into the manager’s office where he gave me a business card and instructed me to call him tonight. “On verra…” (we’ll see) I told him, pocketed the card, quickly paid for my groceries and escaped.
It’s really annoying actually, to be trying to quickly accomplish something to I can go home, take a quick shower and get started on this scary éxposé I have to present on Monday, and not be able to because some grocery store employee would rather parade me around to his employee friends saying, “Elle est belle c’est demoiselle, non?” (She’s pretty, this girl, isn’t she?). It’s not flattering, it’s just obnoxious.
It wasn’t until I got home and began unloading my groceries that I pulled Christophe’s card out of my pocket. I’d been expecting some kind of Franprix manager card, but no. Apparently this guy is a customer harassing grocer by day, and DJ Scoop by night! “Ambiance 100 percent guaranteed.” I don’t know what he expected, but I am not going to be calling him unless I need music for a party.
At the least, I’ve got another card to add to my tally – I didn’t even have to work for it though, so it’s not as special. For the guys reading this: The tally is kind of a running score all girls keep. There’s never a winner declared, it’s more of a personal victory thing. The number of business cards you manage to collect is like a measure of your skills – and you never throw them away (you may lose them, but never purposely trash one). It’s like notches on a belt…except to keep track of all the obnoxious guys who hit on us. Guys here kind of throw them at you though – I’ve acquired a small pile from guys I pass on the street and chat with just long enough to tell them I’m on my way somewhere else and can’t talk to them.
Anyway, now that I’m properly irritated and apparently can’t shop at the Franprix anymore, it’s back to old Monoprix for me. It’s my own fault really, my loyalty should have never been in question.
*** Apple Cup today (errrr, tonight/early morning here, since the kick-off is 12:45 Paris time). GO Huskies!!!