Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Picking and Paying

I'm cruising down Grant Avenue towards the Norwood Pick and Pay Hypermarket. The precisely descriptive "Pick and Pay" title aside, Hypermarkets are large Walmart-esque strucutres, about the size of Elkins Park and much loved in Jo'burg. I park and pay the self-appointed guard 3 Rand to "watch" my car. He is self-employed and payment for services rendered is required--- pay him 3 Rand and there will only be about a 25% chance your car will be stolen during grocery shopping. Refuse payment and you can be sure that the car will be off to an Alexandra chop shop or at the very least, tires slashed.

I'm having an American barbeque (what South Africans would call a braai) and I need kosher hamburger meat, parve chocolate chips, and about 25 bottles of Coke Light (Diet Coke). Since it's all kugels anyway, I could skip all the food and just serve Coke Light, but I need to refute the stereotype of Americans as non-cooking hogs. Today my Domestic Goddessness will radiate.

Into the Hypermarket. Dodge the Chabad lady to the right. Make sure the shirt is not too low-cut-- the travelling rabbi's (he caters to distant African Jewish communities with a Torah and ark belted onto the carriage of his truck) large stomach and long beard is visible in Aisle 6. Shereen is manicuring at the back of the Hypermarket. The kosher french fry stand is booming--- I want some chips with vinegar and garlic salt but the cool frum girls are lined up three-deep.

How hard can it be to find the kosher meat anyway?

Aisle 1: Golf Equipment
Aisle 2: Bacon Products
Aisle 3: Kosher Chicken Feet
Aisle 4: Ribbon and Streamers
Aisle 5: Yogurt and Chocolate
Aisle 6: Tin Muffin Pans
Aisle 7: Garden Furniture

I think this Hypermarket was designed by the Minister of Planning and Transportation.

Oh No. I'm going to be here all day. I have a report due in 24 hours and Pick and Pay is totally out of kosher hamburger meat-- only chicken feet remain. A sheitel to the left grabbed the last hamburger pack in a low blow to the right, and I'm left totally unruffled. Phone Bev. She'll know what to do.
"Sweetie... try Feigels, or Shirleys, or Shulas. They'll have it. But you're late! It's already Thursday afternoon-- why didn't you go on Wednesday? That's when all the kosher meat is cut."
"Bev, how do I get to Feigels? I'm feeling kind of overwhelmed."
"Sweetie, darling, make a right out of the Hypermarket and go for about three or five robots (traffic lights). I'm not sure which. Then make a right where Mr. Cohen's pharmacy used to be. I'm sure you'll see it."
"Uh... Bev, you know I didn't grow up in Jo'burg. Remember?"
"I know darling, but we don't do street names in Johannesburg."


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