I know I’m about to sound like the biggest hypocrite on the planet BUT it’s explainable.
Woolworths is the place all Katherinites dread. It’s where you go to buy vegies that have expired their shelf life, catch some kind of illness that’s not bad enough to stay home from work but bad enough that you think you should go home from work before spreading it to everyone else and it’s where you go to stand in a queue while eating or drinking the things you’ve plucked from the shelf to pass this time away so that by the time you get to the counter you’re handing over an empty packet or bottle to be scanned through before the checkout chick puts it in the bin for you. It’s not the place you go to be presently surprised. But the other day I was. In fact, I was so surprised I did a little happy dance. For there on the shelf was something I had not seen nor tasted for a very long time.
I travelled to America in 2009. It was the trip of a lifetime. I met people I had been friends with for ages online. They showed me their America. Undulating, rocky outcrops covered in sage bush dotted with grazing cattle to the North West. Big houses on green acres only minutes from the inner city that hosts baseball stadiums and giant blue landmarks to the East. I travelled up the West coast with a mate. I’m sure he wonders how he survived my panic attacks in mid-traffic in the bustling cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Being in another country, no matter how familiar television had made it, there’s still plenty to discover. I found Denny’s to be the only restaurants that served food I would actually eat. McDonalds wasn’t savoury, it was sweet. Costco was a jumbo sized supermarket and everything in it was jumbo sized. Food outlets are rated according to cleanliness, not food quality. And the processed food was far more processed than Australian processed food. But my one little joy I discovered amongst the super-sized and extra sweetened was a Texas made, iced tea drink called Snapples. It came in a huge range of flavours. There’s little “Did-You-Know’s” under the lid. And I hadn’t drank one since I flew out of the U.S. So to find it on the supermarket shelf had me cuddling the glass bottle all the way to the checkout where I excitedly stated “Snapples!” when I was finally served.
“Yeah! It’s back!” replied the checkout bloke. What the hell did he mean it’s back? I never even knew it was here in the first place!... Meh! I had Snapples. And I savoured it. Just in case Woolworths, in their capitalism wisdom, took it away again and it would be another 5 years or trip to America before I could drink it again.