Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The State of the Economy

One of my favorite things about living here is how easy it is to avoid chain-store shopping. Even in the States I preferred to shop at locally owned stores: the florists who knew my little family & loved to show Cami how they wrapped up her flowers; the gift shop & toy store owners that were siblings. And my favorite way to spend a Friday: Highland Park farmers' market.

Now we have a bigger range of mom-&-pops. There's the local fruit-&-veg stand where the owner always gives the kids raisins, dried apricots, or anything else they want to sample. The coffee shop/import food store where we grab last-minute cheese & pasta & they have researched how much it would cost to order Torani vanilla syrup for me. The hardware store whose owner bought a house on our street in the 1980s for 17,000 pounds. And the sweet & stylish grandmother at the "dress agency" whose tiny granddaughter had chicken pox at the same time as Cami.

I really value that personal connection. And it isn't always social. Being able to chat with the proprietors has proven educational. Like today. Jason and I went to the butchers. I tend to ask questions of the experts. Today it was whether or not the special price for minced beef was available. And the answer was it isn't. I asked if it was because of the was season: now is the time for spring lamb. The butcher smiled & explained that normally the spring lambs have a peak price early in the season, but since we are heading into summer, they have usually dropped by now. But because the British pounds is low compared to the Euro, French buyers have bought up all the lambs, keeping the local price up.

I've never before gone shopping prepared to buy beef & had world economics determine that I'd come home with pork.


rushton family archives said...

Having had to do some bookkeeping in USD and the Colombian Peso I've come to hate exchange rates. :) Ugh!

celine said...

well you may have had that happen before, but you wouldn't have known that the pork was on sale at Shop Rite for that reason.

love the education. wish it could continue state side.