un forain

un jeton

un jeton (zhuh-toh) noun, masculine
1. a token; counter; chip
2. a dent (i.e.: la voiture a pris un jeton/the car was dented)

un faux jeton = a hypocrite
toucher ses jetons = to draw one's fees
avoir les jetons = to have the jitters

un jeton de caddie = a token for a shopping cart

Citation du Jour:

Un conquérant est un joueur déterminé qui prend un million
d'hommes pour jetons et le monde entier pour tapis.

A conqueror is a determined player who takes a million men for chips
and the whole world for baize.*
--Comte de Ségur

(*baize is the green felt fabric used to cover gaming tables)

A Day in a French Life...

Outside the Super U grocery store I returned the supermarket caddie* to the "caddieshack" (I guess you could call it)--that covered storage area where all of the grocery carts are empilé, or crammed into one another.

In France you have to rent shopping carts. To release a metal cart, you insert a one euro coin into the horizontal slot on the caddie's handlebar. Lacking a one euro coin, you can use a jeton* provided by most supermarkets. Organized shoppers have the nifty jetons hanging from their keyrings. I am not one of those people, but someone who tends to lose jetons, so it was no surprise that the last time I entered the supermarket with a "J'ai besoin d'un jeton"* request the manager flashed a "Not vous again!" look.

Back at le parking,* after having unloaded all of my courses* into the trunk, I was gathering up momentum to push the caddie into a line of carts when a young woman approached me, smiled and held out a one euro coin.

"Non," I said pointing to the coin slot, "Il y a un jeton dedans."

When she stood there smiling and pushing the euro coin toward me, I realized she hadn't understood. After repeating "No, there is a token in there!" it was déjà vu all over again, with the woman standing there grinning and offering me the same two-toned coin.

I am used to shoppers offering a coin at the caddieshack entrance, saving you the trouble of reinstalling the carte, wrestling the coin from the caddie, only for them to insert a coin and wrestle the caddy back out. But this time I had inserted a jeton instead of real money. The thought of the kind lady discovering the fake coin at the end of her shopping errand horrified me.

Or almost.... It did cross my mind to accept her one euro coin. In each of us lives "un petit diable," n'est-ce pas? But I didn't succumb to monsieur le diable, not this time at least.

Instead, the Supermarket Gods were smiling down on us and there would be one less Good-Samaritan-come-Faux Jeton* in this world (or at least in the little Super U parking lot.)

*References: un caddie (m) = a grocery shopping cart (also called "un chariot" [shar-ee-oh]); j'ai besoin d'un jeton = I need a token; le parking (m) = the parking lot; les courses (fpl) = provisions; un petit diable (m) = a little devil; un faux jeton = a hypocrite

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