If you ever find yourself in Lille, the capital city of the Nord department in the north of France, and should you decide to take a stroll, you may just find yourself in front of a tiny, little, hole-in-the-wall store liberally liveried in the color green.
The small shop doesn’t do much to announce itself to the world around it, save for the Union Jack proudly displayed in front of the entrance. There is also a small wooden placard of quaint English design hanging near the door which, along with its basic depiction, bears the name Thomas Green’s, and the more astute will observe that their business is imported British goods.
Were you to be standing in front of Thomas Green’s today, you might have noticed a young American inside making cheerful smalltalk with the young Scottish cashier.
Were you to dally a moment longer, you would be there as this young man exits the store, not making any efforts to disguise the obvious joy he feels, doubtless due to the package in his hand. It is here at Thomas Green’s that he has found that which he sought, that which he missed. One of his favorite things from his home country. It has cost him a few times more than what he is used to paying for it, but this is the law of supply and demand – they had it, and he wanted it – and it does nothing to diminish the value of his purchase in his eyes.
Happily and cheerfully he makes his way back up the street, plastic sac swinging freely from his hand. Unlike those around him, he doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get where he’s going; in fact, he seems to be deliberately taking his time to enjoy the beautiful summer weather, the incredible buildings and storefronts, and the art which is even found in the streets this close to the art museum.
Two blocks later, he pauses in a large square and calmly finds the perfect place to sit, where he can watch the people and still have an eye for the palatial art museum at the top of the square and the equally impressive prefecture building opposite it. Slowly he sits, and slowly he gets around to slowly reaching into his sack, and he slowly withdraws his purchase.
It’s a small red metal cylinder with top and bottom of gleaming silver; in size its height measures roughly equal to the width of the man’s palm. Slowly he turns it over and over in his hand – no less than five minutes is spent in his consideration of his metal cylinder. The design imprinted on it is not quite what he remembers, but that’s to be expected – this is a foreign iteration of his beloved product after all – but the design is not why he wants this product. Slowly he looks up from his purchase to spend a moment lazily regarding the square and the people and the art museum and the prefecture.
Eventually he seems to remember his acquisition. Moving slightly faster than before, yet still in no apparent hurry, he pulls the silvered tab atop the cylinder. A prolonged hiss is heard as he slowly pulls the tab up, and a fine mist appears in the air around his hand. Then, with nothing else remaining to be done, he brings the can to his lips and slowly takes a sip. Familiarity. Pleasure. Victory. Sweet, delicious victory. 23 flavors of victory in fact.