nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic


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Blimey, what’s that?

This is a gourd. It’s a sort of vegetable, pumpkin type thing. They are everywhere at the moment as New York gears up for Halloween. This is a particularly nobbly one that I found in Fairways this morning. Isn’t it great?

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The prawn hierarchy

In the UK we say ‘prawn’, in the US they say ‘shrimp’. Fair enough. I am used to this. In the UK they generally come in small plastic boxes with cellophane lids and cost about 3 quid, depending if Sainsbury’s has an offer on at the time. Occasionally you see them raw and grey, but mostly people buy them cooked and pink. In New York, in Fairway’s of course, they have fresh shrimp, cooked or raw. They aren’t the same size as those in Sainsbury’s, they are huge. The smallest ones are called Extra Large; the next size up is Jumbo. Normally that’s it, there’s no medium sized, or just right sized, or small (nothing is small). No, today, we were offered Colossal shrimp. Colossal? Really? I mean they were quite large and I would have been terrified to cook them, but colossal? Honestly, what’s wrong with small, medium and large?


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It pays to tip well in New York

Every weekend I loyally go to Fairways for my weekly shop. It’s not quite as good as driving to Sainsbury’s, but I’ve got used to it. I started off by being really friendly to the staff, expecting them to comment on my accent and be nice back. But no, it doesn’t work like that, so I stopped bothering. The staff are helpful but not friendly, they all speak Spanish to each other and pretty much ignore you. On a more positive note they do pack your bags and offer a delivery service.

Today it was raining and cold. I did my thing, wandered around my usual circuit and expected no interaction. I was stunned when the guy who served me on the deli counter asked me if I was Australian or English. He must have served me dozens of times before and now he decides to be friendly and ask a question. The cheese guy corrects my pronunciation of Comte cheese and smiles. What is going on?

At the checkout I witness the woman at the checkout next to me having to justify the type of beans she has bought because the cashier won’t let her use her coupon. She says chick peas are not beans. Come on, give her a break, she wants to save 50 cents or something like that and they are giving her a hard time because it doesn’t say beans on the tin and she has six tins to get the discount. They are mean to her. Then my cashier starts giving me grief because my food is perishable they don’t want to risk delivering it. What? It’s cold outside and raining; they aren’t busy, they usually deliver pretty quick and I’m prepared to take the risk that my milk might go off. It won’t! ¬†Urgh. My unusually pleasant experience is blighted by the perishable policy being invoked. I threaten to use Fresh Direct but they don’t seem to care. They take $85k a week in this store so my dollars are insignificant. I recognise the delivery guy and explain my plight. He says I tip the best in my building, so he’ll take my delivery straight away. It pays to tip well in New York.