I went to the grocery store a few weeks ago to pick up a few things (in fact these days I go to the grocery store more often than I’ve ever done in my life, but that’s a different post). This particular store is the bottom floor of an apartment building, with entrances in two parallel streets. When I got to the store, I noticed that the first cash registers I passed had very long lines. I walked through and found that the registers near the other entrance were nearly empty, so I gathered my dish soap, rolled oats, bicarbonate of soda and whole wheat flour and headed for the registers at the back.
After plunking down my euros, I asked for directions to the car park from that side of the store (where I had stashed my bike). The clerk’s response was to look at me for a couple of seconds, and then call Xavier. In a minute, a smartly dressed security officer appeared, equipped with nightstick, walkie-talkie and a special on-belt case for handcuffs. He walked me back through the store with my purchases (I wish I had a picture for you–I asked later, but it was most firmly not permitted). When we got to the other side of the store he called to one of the cashiers, Amparo (as it happens, the Spanish word for protection) to let her know I had paid for the contents of my backpack at the other registers. Armed escort. Not bad.