Monday, June 29, 2009

What you can do at the grocery store in Peru...

I am continually amazed by everything one can get done at supermarkets here. Lots of expatriates complain about how ineffecient things are, but seriously, you can do just about everything you need to at the check-out stand of the grocery store. I just reserved a flight on and can get super-cheap fares because my computer's address is in Peru. However, (here is one of those ineffeciency things...),I can't use my US-based credit cards to pay for them. But what I can do, is print out a reservation paper from LAN with a barcode on it-not unlike what would be on a carton of milk-and take it to my friendly neighborhood Wong's and pay in cash or with my US-based credit cards.

I also frequently refill my cell phone credit at the check out stand. All you do is give them your phone number and as long as the cell phone company's system is working (which is isn't always...another one of those things crabby ex-pats complain about), you can charge your phone while you pick up something tasty for lunch.

You can also pay your telephone bill, your light bill, and even your income taxes with the check-out girls. I say girls because they are overwhelmingly women. In fact, I don't think I've ever been rung up by a man at a grocery store. All of the men work as baggers and as deliverers, since here, you can have somebody walk your grocery stores to your car, your taxi, or even your house. I haven't figured out what the distance is that they will cover, but have seen some Wong's guys in their trademark red uniforms pretty far away from the store pushing the oversized carts they use only to hand-deliver groceries.

And, if it's entertainment you are looking for, you can also find that at the grocery store. I have seen 1) live bands; 2) a grand piano in the seafood department; 3) and elderly people taking salsa lessons in the pharmacy.

Next time we have a medical emergency, perhaps we'll see if the grocery store can take care of that, too!

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