I like to support my local shops. Particularly when they are cheap. But I am also happy to pay a premium when they are open and no-one else is. Or I can’t be bothered to walk to the supermarket for a couple of items that I forgot the other day.
Fresh produce – certainly here in Spain and Gibraltar is often fresher than it is in the big supermarkets. Much of it is grown locally, or at least within hundreds of miles so it is not flown in, or sitting around for days in frigitrucks travelling the length and breadth of Europe.
I usually speak Spanish in the Moroccan shops and English in the Indian ones. Or a bit of both.
The other day I went to one of our local shops in Gib. (Not the one in the picture above – that’s a different one that I also use). They had been shut for a while so I asked if they had been on holiday or if they were closed for another reason.
Sadly it turned to be a funeral. In India – hence the reason for the long closure. As I’d been to India some years ago I asked whereabouts. They had gone back to Mumbai so I said chattily what a nice place it was. The woman looked at me slightly puzzled, and said “I don’t think so.”
Perhaps it has changed since I was there. Apart from anything else – everyone called it Bombay way back then. So I added “Oh it’s a while since I was there.” Note to self: Be very careful when commenting about places you have not visited for more than 20 years…….
Some days later Partner went to the same shop. He has a very chatty relationship with the owner and his wife. For some strange reason the owner often speaks to him in an Indian language. I have no idea which one. Gujerati maybe? I’ve asked Partner what he is saying and had an exasperated response: “How should I know? Hello and goodbye I suppose.”
Mostly though they speak in English, and sometimes in Spanish – which is par for the course in Gibraltar.
There were some Spaniards in the shop, so the conversation was in Spanish. They were asking about the price of cigarettes. Now this particular shop sells cigarettes and spirits at pretty cheap prices – hence he usually has a queue. The Spaniards were umming and aahing about the price. Eventually they decided they weren’t going to buy any. (Don’t know where they thought they were going to find them any cheaper).
The shop owner smiled nicely at them and suddenly switched into English. “OK. Please your fucking selves.” And winked at Partner. “Adios,” said the Spaniards and walked out of the door – fortunately without any idea what he had said to them.
I have to say Partner was somewhat speechless – although very amused – as he has never heard this guy swearing in English before. But I am beginning to wonder what the shop owner is really saying to Partner when he greets him in his Indian language.