Genevans are daily shoppers it seems. With little bench space and mostly tiny kitchens, they like their bread fresh every day and purchase what they need for dinner that evening so that it fits into one shopping bag that can be carried on board the tram with minimum hassle.
Except for toilet paper, that is. These same small shoppers seem to like buying their bog rolls by the gross and I've often seen a passenger struggle to fit through the bus doors when tugging a plastic-wrapped multi-pack larger than our sofa.
Perhaps it's to reduce the public shame of flaunting one's personal brand of bathroom butt wipes to a once-a-year event.
Whatever the reason, on most occasions when I'm at Migros with my nanna cart and fold up bags I'll be standing behind someone purchasing a single croissant, two courgettes and - Whallumph! - the strength to lift and bung 144 toilet rolls on the conveyor belt.
My own method of shopping is proving to be rather difficult in this environment because I don't particularly want to spend every damn day at the supermarket and prefer to get it over and done with once a week. Or twice, if we're entertaining and want everything super-fresh.
The checkout staff aren't used to this. Nor are they used to using their arms beyond scanning each product and flinging it to their left. Don't be mistaken; I'm not expecting them to pack my bags but they're beeped through at such a rapid rate that it sees me panic slightly. An automated tennis ball machine operates more languidly than these Migros Mammas do.
I find myself bending over-and-up, over-and-up, over-and-up like an enormous pecking emu as I wildly fling everything into the nanna cart before the pile up falls over the edge. The checkout lady just sits there staring at me like I'm mildly entertaining but not actually a three-dimensional human being in front of her, sweating profusely and hearing several eggs crack in the carton when three tins of tomatoes are thrown in on top. As I'm trying to ignore the slow trickle of yolk over the half-price raspberry yoghurt six pack she'll address my arse: "Vous faire a une carte de migros?"
With sticky egg fingers I'll turn around, smile weakly at her disapproving face before wiping my hands on my jeans, rummaging around in my now pick-pocket (and Kath) unfriendly hand bag for the credit card.
Steak doesn't feature. At 60 francs a kilo and usually wrapped in single pieces we just can't justify buying it. Minced beef, I've sadly discovered, is not beef at all, but some form of hackfleisch that consists of three types of meat - one of which is usually horse. Pork gets a look-in when it's half price (26 francs a kilo) and chicken very regularly (22 francs). Proscuitto, at 9 francs per 100 grams, goes a very long way to adding flavour and interest to many meals - most of which feature a tin of tomatoes.
I'm aware that the prices are high in order to subsidise the non-sustainable swiss farming industry but can't comprehend why non-Swiss things such as shampoo, ball point pens, five-pack underpants and dog crunchies are eye-wateringly expensive as well.
And thus, this morning, I thought I'd bent-and-flung, bent-and-flung, bent-and-flung all of my groceries onto the conveyer belt before rushing to the other end to bend-and-fling, bend-and-fling, bend-and-fling them back into the nanna cart before Chuckle Trousers the Checkout Chook started catapulting the next customer's groceries into my pile when I noticed, nestled down in the dark depths of my fetching brown and pink flowery canvas cart a bottle of olive oil and three school lined writing pads.
The oil cost 6 francs and the pads 4 francs. For three very long seconds I contemplated leaving them there. Pretend I didn't see them. I'd never had my cart checked before, so why would it happen now?
But I didn't. "Je suis desolee madame," I wheezed and put them back on the conveyor belt to the annoyance of the woman behind me who'd already flopped down her vacuum sealed packet of rabbit kidneys and container of quark.
The temptation was there, though.
May the first and last time I steal anything be the last truffle left in the fridge*** and the second issue of the Official ABBA Magazine that I 'lost' after Barry H lent it to me in 1977. Sorry, Barry, but you'll be relieved to know that my evil ways are no more.
*** it doesn't count as stealing when:
a) it is chocolate or chocolate-related
b) it's in my own home; and
c) my family are aware of my addiction.