So Billa is the only grocery store here on the island open on Sundays. Why I decided to go there today is beyond me. Let me paint the picture. Think of a store the size of three 7-11's put together and with more than the fire code limit of people in there. Then throw in at least 30 shopping carts, a dozen carry bins and a few carry on suitcases from tourists I saw. All that together and it is next to impossible to move around in this store.
For whatever reason, I wasnt in the least disturbed by this chaos. Perhaps because Dean Martin was singing Christmas songs on the radio overhead or I was thinking about what kind and where am I going to get a birthday cake. However, not everyone was in the Christmas spirit.
At one point when I was in line for the cashier, there were about 12 people in front of me and 12 behind me....and that was only at one of the three registers! There was an elderly couple who tried to beat the odds--he stood in one lane and she was right behind me. He got to the cashier first and so she wanted to go up and be with him to checkout. This works in America occassionally but you do get some dirty looks. Trying to do this in a Volkswagon sized grocery store is not cool. As she maneuvered her cart and pushed everyone to the sides so she could get through, you can only imagine the disgruntled shoppers mumbling. Until.....Mr. and Mrs. Venice decided to let these people know (and everyone else in the store) that what they were doing wasnt right. A very heated argument ensued. Lots of 'mamma mia's' from the crowd because there was no lack of cuss words being slung (Merry Christmas, huh?!).
It was all rather amusing because I wasnt in the middle of it. The argument went on for a good 10 minutes and even after the wife checked her items (which by the way was about 20 bottles of beer and nothing else), the husband stayed back to continue arguing with Mr. and Mrs. Venice. All the while, Dean Martin wishing cheer in the background.
It struck me that an encounter like this in many parts of the US (and the world) would result in fisticuffs or worse. But not in Venice...they like to argue....they get a charge out of it and I imagine they never get ulcers from keeping it all bottled up. In the end, everyone left and I imagine these two couples might scowl at each other if they are ever in the same area again.