It is a habit I have had for quite a while and one I cannot seem to shake. I have a tendency to ask people—even those I have just met—what supermarkets they shop at and why. It is not a highly personal question so most people willingly oblige.
I found myself doing this in a foreign country—Colombia—when I was recently on a tour with Proexport to discuss emerging business opportunities in the country.
The first morning when I got into the car with my traveling companions I noticed what I thought was a supermarket as we made our way to our first appointment. I asked our guide Juliana and she confirmed that Exito is indeed a large supermarket chain in Colombia.
I asked Juliana if she shopped there and what she thought. She explained that she shops for most of her staples at an Exito in her neighborhood, as it is convenient, provides value and is clean and well organized. She then named another chain, which I cannot remember, that is a little further from her home where she shops when she wants something more upscale and has a little more room in her budget.
Her shopping habits are very similar to mine, except the names of the supermarkets are different.
The language of supermarket shopping, it seems, is universal.