If you ask French people what they were taught at school in the way of English, they'll often reply that they learned how to say "My tailor is rich". (I imagine that this anecdote stems from a widely-used textbook example.) Consequently, generations of French students have grown up believing that the English-speaking nations are full of wealthy tailors. For a student of the French language (who may not have ever heard of the tailoring profession), I would propose a similar sentence: "Mon supermarché est sympa", where sympa is short for sympathique, which could be translated as friendly. It's certainly true that the supermarket at Chatte, where I do most of my shopping (except—as I explained in my previous article—for stuff such as exotic rose bushes), is not only friendly but smart, too, at least from a public relations viewpoint. Look at the wall of portraits they've just installed in the vestibule of their entrance:
In the middle of the portraits, the big sign says "Thanks to all our local producers". Then, in case you didn't get the message that our friendly supermarket is thanking all its local producers, the expression "local producers" is repeated in red letters. Now, it's a fact that the 69 faces could well be those of local producers of all kinds of foodstuffs: meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, etc. But does the word "local" mean "in the nearby Dauphiné region"? Or could it maybe designate French, as opposed to non-French, producers? I regret that the supermarket has not gone one step further by actually identifying each individual, and indicating the commune in which he/she operates.
In any case, I noticed that this large wall of portraits has an immediate effect upon customers entering the supermarket. With few exceptions, people stop and scan through the portraits, no doubt searching for a familiar face. After all, in an agricultural region such as St-Marcellin, almost everybody knows a handful of farmers. The portraits have been expertly executed, no doubt by a talented photographer. Most faces are smiling, visibly happy, and shot against greenish backgrounds that evoke prairies, spring fields of fruit trees, gardens packed with ripe vegetables... A customer, encountering this wall and its intended message, has the inevitable reaction that he/she is about to step into a wonderland of delicious food products, akin to a Provençal market in summer. It's a great idea. And I hope this public-relations gimmick will make the supermarket and all these nice local producers as rich as English tailors.