05 February 2007

Move Along, Move Along!

I was doing my usual weekend shopping in Carrefour last night grabbing the essentials – bread, butter, eggs, orange juice, dumplings (it’s amazing how the essentials change) when I came across a rather “China moment.” Carrefour is enormous. Think of a Cosco, double that image, and you’ve just about got a Shanghai supermarket. Now take that and double it again, as this store is two stories! Again, this is my local grocery store.

As people are obviously purchasing an enormous amount of goods, carts are essential. To get these carts from one floor to the next they’ve installed 100-yard-long cart escalators with special grooves that “lock” the cart into place so it doesn’t slide ravenously down the slope. Anyway, enough backstory.

So here I am on the escalator heading down from “Foods” to “Household Goodnessing” poking around at the numerous “pick me up while you’re moving down the escalator and have nothing else to do” items when I hear an enormous crash from below. I turn to find that a huge foam sign has snapped off its suspension string and come roaring to the ground immediately in front of the escalator on-off area. During the fall it took out a good two or three-hundred roses, a shelf of “green tea” toothpaste and a small Chinese man.

True to form everyone in a ten-mile radius rushes to the scene and begins yelling at one-another over who is at fault, why this occurred, and what should be done about it. This all happens in the thirty seconds or so that I am still “escalating” (or de-escalating, as it is). By the time I reached the bottom it had apparently been decided that nothing would be done and rather than make any attempt to move the sign people began to just force themselves and their carts over the top of it. This was obviously no easy task, and the line to go upstairs started getting longer and longer. Because they had no horns to honk people were banging their carts and yelling as if to say, “what’s the hold-up? What, you can’t get over an enormous piece of foam board that is blocking the pathway? HURRY UP!”

Tempers were flaring, chaos ensued, and no one did a thing about the sign! Some employees came around and just stood there, watching people struggle over the top it. There was no attempt made AT ALL to move the monstrosity or shift it to the side. Instead, people just continued. Onward and upward, I guess! It just left me wondering, as always, would this EVER happen at home? Then I geared my cart up, built some momentum and plowed over the sign, heckling the guy in front of me for moving too slow. Hey, when in China…

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