Metro Supermarket opened in Luxor last night…..much to everyone’s delight and mine….until I tried to buy some stuff there today!  It’s fantastic….cheaper prices across the board, great selection of everything from fruit to household cleaners BUT especially welcome to me and I think maybe every foreigner living here….THE MEAT counter…!  This might seem OTT to anyone not living here, but until now living in Luxor when it came to buying food has been BAAADDDD and difficult!  Practically nothing we are used to getting at home available here.

So what was wrong today….it was a farce of disorganisation.  Let me hasten to say I am sure they will get on top of it in about a month!  3 cash registers with inexperienced staff trying to cope with a stamped of egyptians….why stampede….well, do they know about standing in an orderly line behind a check out counter?  Ohhhh nooooo!  Their idea of a queue is to elbow and push their way to the front.   Did they understand the prices carefully displayed in front of every item…?    Ohhh noooo!  so there they are at the check out counters thinking they can bargain the price of the items in their baskets!  Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

15 minutes of standing behind 5 black robed, Egyptian women trying to bargain with the check out girl…..I misinterpreted a signal from the next check out guy…thinking he was waving this exasperated foreigner (ME) to the top of his line….so I left my line and went to him……was he waving at me?  Ohhhhh noooo!  He tells me to go to the back of his line…..I just lost the plot!  Pushed my basket across the counter at him and told him to keep it…I’d had as much as I could take of the comedy of errors and decided I could do without the groceries, even the lamb chops!  A taxi driver I knew was also in the queue and started calling me “Madam Mara” very deferentially and so the guy behind the check out thought I was someone important!!  He frantically began to check in my basket while calling me to please wait…well, those lamb chops were calling me – weren’t they!

On my way out I notice 3 men – one in a suit – sitting outside the store.  “Are you the owner of this..?” I sternly queried,  “Yes, yes I am!” he beamed back at me.   “Well, it’s a bloody disaster in there!”  I answered “Crazy, crazy!”  He jumped up from his chair anxiously asking what the matter was.  I caught him by the elbow and steered him up the steps and in the doors.  “This”  I said “This is a disaster!  Just look at all these people (milling around the 3 check outs) trying to give you their money and you can’t even organise yourself to take it from them!  You need one person on the till, one person to bag the groceries and one person behind the check outs to explain to these people what it means to form a single, orderly line AND WAIT THEIR TURN!

Poor man – he certainly didn’t expect to be attacked by a little foreign woman in an Egyptian jallabeya on his important opening day!  But come on….where else would the owner of a new store be sitting outside the door oblivious to what is going on inside on opening day?

I hear Metro are also opening 3 new distribution (wholesale) units in Luxor for shops, restaurants etc….can’t wait!

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  1. Don’t let the Metro put you off….Luxor is a wonderful place to live if you keep your head and know a “con” when you hear it. Only trouble for most people is that by the time they’ve learned the ropes they’ve lost their sense of humour and so many retreat back to their homecountry beaten and sometimes pennyless. Find someone who is happy here to show you the ropes, be nice to everyone but be very, very selective as to who you call “friend” in the true sense that we use the word at home. Best of Luck to you and congrats on your courage to try it.

  2. ha ha ha I am so glad to see that someone else found that the very ‘British’ notion of standing waiting your turn just is’nt going to happen in the new supermarket regime in luxor. I was in Luxor for 3 weeks in August and ended up sending my son to the supermarket because I was quite literally losing the plot ….. funny how when I did no one tried to push in front any longer and I was served super quick (well after standing in the line for 20 mins lol) think they just wanted the mad english woman out of there lol Anyway it was another important lesson for me to learn before my eventual big leap of faith move to live in luxor : )