I am one of those people who thinks 8 am is an ungodly hour and that being up and dressed and finished with breakfast by noon is early enough. At least on weekends. But since I had a coffee date with a friend at noon, I was up and dressed somewhat earlier and at the supermarket a little after 10 am. That was to make sure I didn't have to worry about making it to the store before they close at 6 pm. Mustn't rush coffee dates.
10 am on a Saturday is quiet and I had a peaceful walk to the store, which was almost devoid of people. Nice.
On an earlier but recent visit to the grocery store, I met an English employee who showed me the stand where the reusable and foldable shopping bags were. (In spite of a stand as tall as me, the bags were amazingly easy to overlook.) One advantage, she said, was that the handles were so large, you could carry the bags over your shoulder. Good point. I bought two.
Today I got that rare Norwegian check-out clerk who was both cheerful, smiling and chatty. I expect it with American checkers and there the chit-chat tends to relax me. Here, I am still thrown by the behavior and am never too sure how much chatting back to do. But I did respond, and when the girl asked me if I wanted a bag (large, plastic, a bargain at NOK 0.70), I grinningly held up my recent purchase of the environmentally friendly reusable shopping bag (large, nylon, and hopefully a bargain at NOK 16.90). "Oh, you bought one! Wonderful idea, yes?" I agreed, but pointed out that they were amazingly easy to overlook in spite of being in plain view, and I gestured towards the stand only a few feet from our check-out lane.
Eavesdropping can be a very good habit. I have learned a lot by listening to the conversations of other customers. Today, it was my turn to say something that helped another customer. The moment I pointed out the stand of reusable bags, the man behind me in line bolted over to it and got himself one. Upon returning, he commented that it would be better to display the bags at the check-outs themselves. True.
Customers bag their own groceries in Norway, and he and I exchanged smiles as we stuffed our respective groceries into our respective environmentally friendly bags. (He was easy on the eyes, too. ;-) )
The logo on the front is the store I shop in, and the bag has a text on the back which is a cute play on words in Norwegian: "En pose som varer. Til varer." It loosely translates to, "A bag that wears. For wares." And yes, that is ecological frozen pizza sticking up out of my bag. It tasted very good.