La fidélité

by jemma margaret

If someone named Flaubert or Balzac gave you the idea that the French are not faithful–think again!

Les vrai Parisiens are very committed, if not to their spouses and lovers, then to their grocery stores. Each chain offers a card with which the loyal can earn points and presumably receive rewards. My first encounter with this system occurred eight (!) years ago when I turned 18 and proudly went to a French grocery store to buy a cheap bottle of wine. Not understanding any more than “carte” I happily handed over my California driver’s license to prove that I was indeed of age. Ah, but this was not the card she desired, the “carding” in France is for allegiance rather than date of birth.

I do not have a card, but I do have an account at Le Retour à la Terre where I awkwardly spell out my last name after each purchase to receive a 5% student discount (they know you’re a student because you can spell). So far I have probably saved $5! (and, no, that is not a factorial sign)

As a whole though, I am a vacillator extraordinaire in the food department. For wine I go to Franprix or Monoprix. For nostalgia I sometimes visit G20 (the neighborhood grocery store during life on Beaumarchais). For milk, eggs, and grains one of the Bio stores. For produce an outdoor market, which have their own unofficial form of loyalty (free parsley!). Bakeries for bread, fromageries for cheese, bucheries for confit du canard. Yesterday I bought beets off the back of a truck.

Not unlike the neighborhood bicycle I am afraid.

With all this grocery shopping, you might wonder how I have time to do my research. Good question, I’ll get back to you. But right now I need to buy some Philadelphia.