leader price.

Across the street from our little flat in the city, there was a grocery store. Being built into a storefront that predated supermarkets, it was well-stocked, but cramped. It was called Leader Price.

We saw a lot of English writing in France, both store names and on apparel, and most of it didn't quite make sense, as if they'd taken a French phrase which may or may not have been idiomatic and then run it through a bad online translation engine. The result was often phrases that no native English speaker would say. Or maybe they were British or Australian terms, I don't know. We thought about how we could make a killing selling shirts with English phrases that, you know, made sense, but I'm not sure the French could tell the difference. They are happy to go to Leader Price and not worry about it. Maybe making sense is overrated. What the heck is a Food Lion, anyway?

We went to Leader Price probably every single day. We bought wine and cheese and chocolate, and sometimes bread if the bakery down the street was closed. Sometimes that was dinner, and sometimes that was the post-dinner snack. For being a small store, they still had a whole aisle devoted to wine. The first time we went, I randomly grabbed a bottle of red, basically picking the cheapest thing that had a little sticker on it. The sticker means it won an award. This is not a foolproof method for choosing wine, as all you need to give out awards is a roll of stickers. But this wine, which cost $4 a bottle, was pretty fantastic. Josh in particular liked it, saying that we needed to buy up cases of the stuff and ship it back. We did not do that. I don't even remember the name of it, and we will likely never come across it again. There are tons of French wines that you can only buy in France, which is maybe why they're so cheap.

And we tried a lot of different cheeses. Josh introduced me to fancy cheeses when we first started dating. Before, my idea of fancy cheese was something that came in a block, rather than individually sliced and wrapped. My tastes are still not very sophisticated. I love those soft, buttery cheeses, but I can't handle anything too sour. When we were in Lyon, our friends gave us some Brie and dismissively said it was the stuff they give to kids, so my tastes are about as developed as a French kid's. French cheese was also ridiculously cheap, or maybe that's just at Leader Price.

At Leader Price, and probably a lot of other European stores, you don't get free bags. You bring your own or you can buy some from the store for some pittance. I'd bought Leader Price bags on two trips before I realized this. After that, I stopped saying "Yes, uh, I mean oui" when they asked if we wanted a bag and we just carried everything. But we still had those two bags, and I'd paid for them, dangit, so I was going to keep them. We used them to store our dirty clothes in our luggage.

When we got home, I didn't want to use our Leader Price bags the way we'd use a regular old Food Lion bag. I remembered something I saw on the internet about using plastic bags for iron-ons. I bought a plain t-shirt at Goodwill, trimmed the logo (the tutorial said it worked better if the iron-on was smaller than the surface of the iron), and made my own Paris souvenir. It is quite possibly the only Leader Price t-shirt in existence. People who bother to notice it will not know it is a souvenir of Paris, though they may wonder about the name.

Leader Price!

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