Unless you have shopped in a supermarket (grocery store) in Brazil you may not appreciate this blog entry. When in Rio, Camillo and I generally walk about a block and a half to the Zona Sul (South Zone) supermarket. We walk up and down the 8 rows, which includes a cold meat and cheese counter, a fruit and veggies area, a fish area, and a small snack area - then you stand in line that usually twists and turns through the fruit and veggie area, blocking other shoppers to have your veggies weighted, on a good day you then stand in another line of at a minimum 10 people which takes another 15 minutes to work your way to the front, you unload your 10 - 20 items (not many because we are walking back home and carry our sacks and do not have them delivered) from the shopping cart - then we leave the cart in everyone's way because the carts are too big to fit through the checkout lane - on a bad day there are at least 5 carts blocking the people trying to unload their groceries. !total chaos!
Today Patty and I stopped at the FoodAramma supermarket on the way home from work. This 'smallish' market is about 4 miles from her house and the only way to get to the store is by car. The parking lot in front has wide diagonal parking slots - about 100 of them. This being a Monday and not a peak shopping day, I would say there were only about 50 cars out in front. Inside the store seemed empty - the 50 or more people that belonged to the cars are swallowed up inside. The fruit and veggie department had the most people. It is about the size of the total Ipanema Zona Sul market.
The isles are clear, the checkout quietly going about its business. Like in Zona Sul about half of the checkout stations are closed (off peak days). But in this case it means 7 of the 14 lanes are open. We enter the checkout lane, put our items on the conveyor belt as the person in front of us pays for his groceries, and in 5 minutes we have paid and are headed for the car. No music was playing - lighting bright, isles wide and clear and clean - checkout painless. This is shopping for dinner groceries in the USA.