Accounting for the Cash

My latest theory is that people should have to pass a shopping-cart test before they are allowed into a grocery store.

My primo (cousin) sent Alex some money. For some reason due to ‘technical error,’ my debit card won’t work. Fortunately, my MasterCard will, but only for cash purchases.

So on Friday Alex and I went off to Da Una. It is a cheap, no-frills supermarket where everything comes in bulk. I told Alex he had 100,000 COP – about $50 – gave him a cart and said ‘shop.’

He looked at me with a blank caught-in-the-headlight look. In Latin America mothers shop, cook clean, wash, and do whatever else has to be done. I realized that Alex had never shopped in a supermarket before. I wasn’t having anything to do with it so I stayed at the front of the store.

Alex pushed the cart around. Then he found a place where four aísles crossed and he parked it there. He would then run down one aisle and get some hand-soap and put it in the cart. Next, it would be a trip to the freezer for some frozen chicken. Oh, need some pasta, the other side of the store.

After all the performance he pushed the cart to the till. Then the bill hit 100,000 he started to take ítems out. I told him it was okay and I would just deduct it from the total for next week.

Alex was beaming as he loaded the supplies into a box. The trambia (train) runs past their house so it is a relatively easy trip. Rubiella – Alex’s mother – can relax as they will eat well for a while.

Then I called Zuieldi – my contact for the 23 refugees from Venezuela. We went to the supermarket, she picked out the food she wanted, put it in the cart and I paid the bill.

Sort of ho-hum after watching Alex sprint around the store to get individual ítems from, here, there, and everywhere.