I rushed into my local Coviran (small high-street supermarket in every Andalucian pueblo except Murtas and Turon) to grab a few essential supplies. Turned the corner towards the checkout and inwardly groaned, a queue in front of 6 people and, by the time pleasantries have been exchanged, 15 minutes at least. Never mind, I live in Andalucia, I expect this sort of thing.
Little boy with his mother in front of me saying (in Spanish) “Mama, mama, I need to have a pee-pee” as he desperately clutches the front of his shorts. His mother says “Don’t be stupid, you can’t have a pee-pee in here, wait until we get home”. Little boy says “But why, mama, he is?” as he points to similar boy aged about four who is squatting in the supermarket aisle with his trousers around his ankles.
Embarrased as I am to admit it, I replaced the shopping on the shelves and fled! From experience, the entire queue was going to get involved with the drama and time to the till would have doubled to 30 minutes.
However, that’s why I love Spain!
You can see the context of this at Notes from Spain which is one of my favourite blogs on the life over here. http://www.notesfromspain.com/2009/07/10/why-spain-great-4-your-thoughts/#comment-113649
However, living in Andalucia, Spain can be frustrating and expensive. Their whole definition of customer service is to give each customer an unlimited amount of time as they reach the front of the queue. There is no concept of someone walking out because they don’t have time to queue and, having taken 30 minutes to reach the front, they are bound to want their time with the main man – the shop assistant, bank teller or post office clerk who is holding court in their own little kingdom.
Equally, the huge manpower doesn’t come free. Retail price mark-ups are enormous which is why you are routinely offered a 15% reduction without asking. Then there’s the no IVA (VAT) for cash route which deducts another 16%. However, you can still save a small fortune in time and money by buying over the internet if you can get your purchases transported to Spain securely and cheaply.
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Enjoy your weekend. Edmund