Shoppers at a Noz shop rummage for a bargain

To noz, or not to noz?


We have added a new verb to our French vocabulary which will most probably upset the language police in the lost land of academia. It is to noz. It means to rummage in the hope of finding an unexpected bargain. It is derived from our experiences of shopping in the end of line shop Noz. If you have never nozzed, (past participle) do so. It is, I have to admit, not a place we would usually visit, but like all foreigners abroad we do not feel compelled to uphold social and snobbish conventions which sit heavily upon us back in the UK. We are liberated and free.


The shop is never tidy but always in a perpetual state of flux. Items are flung with wild Gallic abandon on top of ubiquitous trestle-tables – there is no product placement here, no bully-boy brands demanding our money in these aisles. It takes me back to the Church hall jumble sales my granny dragged me around as a child. There is no indication of the social standing of the clientele. There appears to be no social stigma to shopping here or to parading proudly through the town with a bargain-bulging Noz bag.  People of all ages and standing stick out their spear sharp elbows and rummage together like the hunter-gatherers of old, united in their hungry pursuit of value and bargains.


For our expeditions we set a budget – five euros only. It is now a game, a test of ingenuity and discernment, a challenge to eke out some gemstone of a bargain among the flotsam and jetsam of cast-offs, seconds, and other odds and sods that have failed to fool the quality control police. There is a sense of desolation and disappointment when we return to the car empty-handed. A friend of ours travels regularly to Noz outlets in search of Ravensberg jig-saw puzzles which she then sells on Ebay for a tidy profit.  She is a seasoned and highly-skilled nozzer; with the animal instinct and ability to sniff out a bargain with the unerring accuracy of a canine truffle hunter.


Nozzing is addictive. It is always at the forefront of your mind that if you pass by then you might miss out on something. So every trip to the town must coincide with a noz about. There is nothing more frustrating to be told by a fellow nozzer of a scoop. Nozzing is highly competitive too. There is a smug satisfaction in showing off the latest fantastic find, particularly if your foe has failed to get their hands on it!


“Oh dear” we chorus with all the sincerity of the victor. “We could have got you one; if we knew you weren’t going in”. Like hell we would! Our persistence and perseverance has triumphed – again. We are noz champions this week.


Join the fun – be a Nozzer (proper noun) too.




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