Auchan Supermarket - The World's Greatest? Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Auchan Supermarket - The World's Greatest?

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The Auchan1supermarket in Kirchberg, Luxembourg, has to be a contender for the title of World's Greatest Supermarket. Here is the evidence:

Location

The plateau of Kirchberg, on the North Eastern corner of Luxembourg city, is the home of many European Institutions, and a fair few banks too. This means the clientele have a large amount of disposable income, and long lunch hours in which to dispose of it. It is easy to reach by road (over the Red Bridge and up Boulevard JFK), by bus (numbers 18 and 13 stop right outside) and even the airport is only five minutes drive away, for those of you with private planes. The customers are also a multi-cultured group, which dictates the kind of things sold. Talking of which...

Food and Drink

The wine alone takes up three aisles, and one wall of that is devoted to a range of Luxembourg whites. There is a substantial smelly cheese counter, a delicatessen full of interesting looking things, and the meat cabinet stocks cheval2 for those brave enough to go completely native. At the fruit and veg counter things start to get interesting. Here (at the time of writing) a vibrant lady in bright tropical robes dances along to loud Caribbean music and calls customers to come buy her lovely pineapples. She has a wonderful machine which takes a whole pineapple in one end, and with one deft flick of the wrist produces peeled and sliced rings out the other. Behind the fruit and veg is the star of the show... or should that be star-fish. At the 'Poisson' stand, live lobsters, crabs and eels wriggle and crawl in their trays, to the amusement of those waiting in line to choose from a selection of squid, octopus, tuna, salmon, scallops...

Non-food Items

Upstairs (well, up moving walkways to be more accurate) is a vast array of non-food items, including electrical goods and hi-fi, CDs and books, garden tools and plants, sports equipment, clothes, toiletries, jewellery, bedding and towels. There are a number of chilled water dispensers about the place.

The Staff

Not surprisingly, getting around such a mammoth emporium (12,000m2) is an art form. So the staff wear roller skates as they whizz up and down the aisles, checking prices, collecting empty baskets, fetching things for the cashiers3. The cashiers are always very polite and friendly, and wish all their customers a 'Bonne journee!'4 as they leave. They usually have a supply of sweeties under their desk to hand to accompanying minors.

And For the Children?

If they're not happy to spend their time looking at the lobsters or in the toy section, the Espace Enfant5 will take care of your little darlings. But they'll probably want to look at the lobsters.

Outside

In the rest of the shopping centre is a good selection of clothes and gift shops, hairdressers, and caf├ęs and chocolate shops with exquisitely displayed little cakes and treats. There is also a hi-tech dry cleaners, which uses a swipe card to automatically locate your cleaned clothes and deliver them to you through a 'hole in the wall', without human intervention. Spooky.

No Downside Then?

If you're in the car park for more than three hours there's a charge. This has been extended to a five hour period on a Saturday. It's closed on Sundays. Usually.

When You've Finished Shopping

There's no end of things you can do with your food purchases. Why not take a wander through this list for inspiration, the next time you're shopping in Kirchberg, or indeed anywhere at all?

1Pronounced 'oh-shone', as if it were a French word.2Horse. Yes, really.3The fish counter staff wear white Wellington boots, not roller skates.4'Have a good day!'5Creche.

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