by Melinda Gallo

First visit to the "Coop"

When we were with Simone the other day, he told me that we should go to the "Coop" (which Florentines call "la Ho-op") supermarket instead of "La Standa." He said the prices are better and there is more of a selection too. It's on the other size of Piazza Beccaria, which has two lights to go across.

Dave and I use a hand basket for our groceries. As soon as it's filled up, we know that that's all we can buy for the day. We have to carry it about 3/4 of a mile back home so we try not to buy anything heavy or bulky, like water or paper towels.

We get to the cassa (cash register) and Dave hands the woman his credit card. "Accettiamo solo Bancomat." (We only accept Bancomat, like ATM cards, no credit cards.) I know I looked at the entrance for credit card stickers and saw some, but didn't really notice that it was only for Bancomat. All the other supermarkets, like Esselunga and La Standa take credit cards and even American Express.

I asked the woman where I could find the closest ATM machine and she said it was right out of the exit. I rushed over to get some cash. "Mi dispiace tanto...non sapevo." (I'm so sorry...I didn't know.) The woman was kind and patient and said, "Non c' di che." (It's nothing.) The man that was behind us in line didn't say anything either. They both just waited.

I came back and handed her the cash, while I excused myself again. "Non c' problema...buona serata," (No problem...have a good evening.) she said smiling to me. "Grazie mille!" (Thank you very much!) I responded. We grabbed our bags and as the exit doors closed behind us, we both burst out laughing.

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