I try not to purchase fresh vegetables and fruit at supermarkets here in Spain because I want to avoid unnecessary packaging and there are less expensive options.
Therefore once every week I walk to a traditional Spanish market about 15 minutes from where I live to buy those. My faithful companion is always a lovely, cherry-colored folding Rolser shopping cart, made in Pedreguer, a town in the province of Alicante, just south of Valencia.
To get it almost three years ago for about 50 euros was a conscious decision. I wanted to support a Spanish manufacturer that offers good quality at a reasonable price and have never regretted it.
It’s a very convenient, environmentally-friendly way of shopping and I don’t care if anyone considers that to be sissy. On the contrary, I tend to joke that most female neighbors are envious of my wheel-equipped darling.
Well, recently I have noticed that the quality offered by the cheaper stands where I usually buy due to current budget restrains caused by a lack of subtenants in the middle of the endless coronavirus pandemic has decreased significantly.
Although one that doesn’t really belong to that category has lately stopped offering price-reduced goods which often looked more like they belonged in the rubbish bin, others apparently haven’t done so, quite the contrary.
Today I bought some tomatoes and red peppers at my favorite booth merely out of compassion. There were no onions, cucumbers or garlic and the rest just didn’t appeal to me or simply was in a very sad state…
Talking to the nice owner, a muscular guy of my age who is married to a talkative big lady, at the same time I realized again how bad the mood among ordinary people has turned.
Although I know that his family-owned business hardly makes enough money to feed all of its members, my buddy openly said that we would refuse to attend some left-wing politicians whom he correctly blames for the catastrophic economic situation in Spain.
The current progressive government wanted to destroy the middle class as soon as possible. Once Socialists and Communists had succeeded in making most citizens rely on social welfare, they could do whatever they wanted. The fear of becoming a second Argentina or, even worse, a European copy of Venezuela is palpable.
When I returned home, I realized that most of the pitiful peppers will have to be used up during the next two days. I feel terrible about it, but I’m seriously considering not going back to that Spanish bastion, where there’s only one foreigner-a rude Latin American butcher whom I have decided to boycott because of his racist attitude towards Chinese.
The problem consists in a lack of alternatives if you want to stay away from chain stores: most of the corner shops that also offer vegetables and fruit are owned by Pakistanis with questionable attitudes and practices.
I have walked out more than once repelled by a strong putrid smell and often wondered how these fellows seem to get away with it. Parts of what they dare to offer I wouldn’t want to touch with a barge pole…
Why are the usually so strict Spanish health authorities tolerating this? Is there possibly a two-tier system to protect supposedly marginalized immigrants from a Third World country? Anyway, hopefully I will soon be in Taiwan again, where I have never experienced anything remotely comparable.