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I hate Costing. I intend to start translating again, but as you know, my plans rarely mean anything.
Since Kaburagi wanted to see a commoner’s supermarket I decided to pick a place far away, where the likelihood of bumping into someone from Zui’ran was nil.
We stepped through the automatic doors with a shopping basket. Kaburagi looked at our basket, and then looked at the other customers in the shop.
“We’re not using one of those?” He pointed at a shopping trolley.
“We are not buying anything bulky or heavy and have no need for one,” I explained.
He hummed in thought.
Although you couldn’t tell from his expression, I could sense some dissatisfaction in that sound.
Had he wanted to use a trolley? Damned child.
Stop staring at the customers who are using one.
“Well then, shall we head to the food aisles?”
I guided him further into the shop.
“See this?” I pointed. “Are the drinks here not cheaper than in a convenience store? Buying sweets are by far more economical in a supermarket as well.”
He seemed a little lost.
…I bet the problem was that he’d never looked at a price tag before.
Suddenly, from the side, somebody held a small plastic cup out in front of Kaburagi.
“We have a new vegetable juice on sale~ Would you like a try~?”
Kaburagi looked at the young woman like she was crazy and started to frown. Oh crap…
I tugged him out of the way by the elbow.
“My, this seems delicious~” I said, taking the cup and drinking it.
“Wow, that was incredible. There was no bitterness to it at all,” I shilled and took a bottle of it. Then, with a smile, I left the place while pulling Kaburagi along.
“…What just happened?”
“That was a product demonstration. They hand out samples of food and drinks in order to encourage purchases. So just because they suddenly speak to you is not a reason to take an attitude with them!”
Did this guy really understand?
Just whose fault was it that I was now buying some vegetable juice I didn’t even want?
Oho? I smell something good cooking.
I was actually planning to buy some side dishes for a snack tonight, but I guess that’s out since I’m stuck here with Kaburagi.
Ahh~ That yakisoba looks nice though.
Maybe I ought to buy a microwave for my room. But then what kind of young miss would have a microwave in her room? That’d be weird, right?
Wha-, hey! Kaburagi!
Kaburagi was curiously wandering here and there, so I couldn’t even take an eye off him!
When I quickly went after him I found him caught by someone trying to sell ham steaks.
Let me explain to you exactly what I was looking at.
There’s a high school boy with an dignified and handsome face, and not the type you’d ever find in this part of town. In front of him is a middle aged lady cooking up pieces of ham like she’s ready to give them all to him, saying,
“Come on, mister! Eat up, eat up! This ham steak comes with a special sauce, so all you’ve gotta do is grill it up like this and it’s ready to eat.”
Ah, he ate it.
“How is it, mister? Delicious, right~?”
“…Not too bad.”
Uuu, it was hard walking away without buying something after having a sample!
In place of Kaburagi who got talked into trying some food, I was the one who had to grab one of the vacuum-packed ham steaks.
At least give me some to try too…
After that Kaburagi was stopped by someone selling a season limited jam, someone selling yoghurt good for your digestive system, someone selling freshly baked garlic bread, and each time I ended up with more and more unnecessary additions to my shopping basket.
“Product samples, huh? So this sort of thing existed too,” he murmured admiringly between chewing his garlic bread.
“If it is product sampling you are looking for then department stores do so on their basement floors. It is not exclusive to supermarkets.”
It was just something I happened to mention in passing, but the next thing I knew Kaburagi was muttering “Department store…” to himself. Ah, I’d done it now…
“All right then. Next time we’re going to the basement floor of a department store-”
I cut him off and began tugging him.
“Oh my! Look! That, there, is the sweets corner~ There should be plenty of chocolate: your favourite~”
If I let him finish that sentence just now it would have been a real crisis.
Hmm, since I was here anyway, maybe I ought to buy some sweets and then head home. Oh! Lucky Turns were on special!
I put two packets into my shopping basket.
“You’re buying two?”
“This is the lowest I have ever seen it, so I am buying some extras.”
Maybe I could buy one more?
Oh dear, but these fried rice crackers were quite a steal too. Into the basket they go.
Mmmn, and what about these biscuits with cream between them. After all, the slightly bitter chocolate-flavoured biscuits just went so well with the flavour of milk!
Yeah, I’d just buy them all!
“…You look really practised. So you come here often?”
“Yes. For market research and the like. I am an advocate for getting your own hands dirty when it comes to these things.”
While I was shopping about for more sweets, Kaburagi wordlessly took the shopping basket off my hands.
“I’ll hold it for you.”
It actually occurred to the Emperor to hold someone else’s things!
Kaburagi, the guy with no consideration whatsoever, the guy who unhesitatingly used a frail girl (that’s me by the way) as his gopher, had noticed that I was carrying a heavy basket and decided to hold it himself.
Did anyone foresee a day such as this!?
Wow. Humans really never stopped improving themselves.
Still, if we wanted to be technical about this, normally you’d offer right after entering the store, huh~
While I was lost in the feeling of watching my unworthy disciple grow up, the boy himself had already walked off quite a distance. With the basket.
Waah-! And now he was throwing whatever caught his fancy into it!
A fish-shaped kitchen sponge? What dishes do you even clean!?
And what are you going to do with that mapo tofu marinade!
Put everything back right now!
This is exactly why I didn’t want a shopping trolley!
I took the shopping basket back.
“What’s that?” he suddenly asked.
Ah, the cup ramen section.
I glanced at the prices and just kept going. These noodles could still go cheaper.
The next area that drew his attention was the crowded fresh foods section. They were giving out melon samples here.
Spot the handsome young man behind the crowd of housewives, the staff member who was handing them out passed a toothpick with a sample on it to Kaburagi.
Not this again…
I was pretty much resigned by now.
“I’ve never seen this kind of melon before,” he muttered as he looked at the mountain of melons.
“It’s an Andes Melon, known for being sweet.” And cheap, a friend to commoners everywhere, I left out.
The big sucker that he was, Kaburagi nodded thoughtfully as he tried a piece of it.
I sighed. While Kaburagi was enjoying himself again I picked out a pack of melon bites and put it into the shopping basket.
Aah, we’d have to finish the fresh food today…
After making a round of the store Kaburagi seemed more or less satisfied, so it was time to head for the counter. I was buying more than I’d planned…
While we were waiting in line I pulled out my points card. Kaburagi noticed and asked me about it.
“This is a points card for this supermarket. For every 100 Yen you spend, you receive a point in return. On occasion there are days when they give out five times the points too.”
It was eventually our turn, so I was about to pay when Kaburagi stopped me from the side.
“It’s fine. I’ll pay.”
“Will you? Well then, I will pay you back later.”
“It’s thanks for coming here with me.”
Kaburagi flashed a quick smile, which had the girl manning the register flushing.
He didn’t seem likely to change his mind about it, so I decided to just accept his thanks this time.
“So let me have this.”
Those were my Lucky Turns! Mention that part beforehand!
I placed the shopping basket next to the counter and began stuffing our purchases into the grocery bags there.
“Do we pack the bags ourselves?”
“Yes. Supermarkets like these implement this sort of system in order to speed the process up.”
Kaburagi hummed in thought at that. After watching me work for a while though, he told me that he’d do it instead.
I guess it’s like how pre-schoolers like to play shop, huh?
I watched as he emptied out the bag I’d just filled and began methodically packing the heaviest items first, and then neatly putting the softer items on top.
“How conscientious of you~”
“You’re just too carefree. Look here. The bread is a little flat because of you.”
Kaburagi took the lion’s share of the snacks I’d picked out for myself. Oi! If you’re going to do that then take back this vegetable juice with you too!
What “I only drink freshly made”!
At least I managed to force the yoghurt into his bag. It was something else that he bought after having his interest sparked by samples. I figured he could probably do with it anyhow, since the curse I placed on him with my Third Eye back in the Handicrafts Club had to be reaching his intestines by now.
When we left the supermarket my sense of smell detected an anomaly. In the parking lot next to the supermarket was a smoking yakitori stall!
No, Reika. Kaburagi is with you right now. You mustn’t buy it. You mustn’t…!
“Mister~ I’d like the negima please!” I smiled widely, having run straight up to the yakitori stall.
“Coming right up! How many skewers do you want?”
I was firmly in the negima camp when it came to yakitori.
Naturally I’d order both salt-seasoned and sauce-seasoned. But then wouldn’t it be rude of me if I only ordered one each? In that case~
“Give me five of each, mister!”
“That’s five of each, so ten in total, coming right up!”
Uhuhu, they looked delicious. I watched him put the skewers into a paper bag.
“You’re a gorgeous little missy, so I’ve included an extra skewer of each for you.”
“Ehhh~!? You shouldn’t have! Thank you, mister! You’re the best!”
I took out the freebie and beamed as I waved him goodbye and left.
“I love you, mister! Thanks so much!”
Man, what a steal, what a steal.
Is this what they mean when they talk about the kindness of regular folks? Gosh, I wanted to start eating already.
Geh! Kaburagi. Thanks to the allure of the yakitori I’d forgotten he was there for a moment.
“…What the hell did I just see?”
“…Whatever do you mean?” I tried.
“It’s like you turned into some whole other person. You said ‘I love you, mister’, what was that?”
“Why, learning to adapt yourself to the people here is just one part of what composes fieldwork, Kaburagi-sama.”
After my previous display Kaburagi looked at me like I was some strange creature.
Well, if it was for delicious yakitori I’d go any number of extra miles to appear friendly.
“…Kaburagi-sama, would you like some yakitori?”
There was a bench off to the side so we ate the yakitori there.
“This is pretty good.”
“Right? Have one of the sauce-flavoured ones.”
“Cheers. I’m getting a bit parched though.”
“Would you like some vegetable juice?”
“…I’m good. I’ll grab some tea from that vending machine. You want anything?”
“Then a tea for me as well.”
Thanks to the freebies I earned with my friendliness we ended up having six each, and when we finished that marked the end of our outing.
That night I received a rather cheerful message from Kaburagi.
‘That trip to the supermarket was genuinely fruitful. It was my first time trying cheap sweets too. Interesting flavour. I wanna try a different supermarket next time.’
I read the text in my room as I ate bread and ham and melon in between gulps of vegetable juice.
That lady was right. This roast ham really was good cold.
That night I woke up to my stomach disagreeing with me. Aaah, my curse had come back to roost…!
“It’s an Andes Melon, known for being sweet.” And cheap, a friend to commoners everywhere, I left out.