For a couple of months one of the shops in the centre of Pessac has been displaying the sign "Epi'Sol coming soon". This morning was the grand opening.
Epi'Sol is an épicerie solidaire, or a social action grocery store. The idea is that the grocery is run by a not-for-profit association and staffed by volunteers. Anyone can buy there and the prices are normal prices, though you do have to join the association with an annual membership of 5€. In addition there a little lounge at one end where you can get a cup of coffee, there's some books and magazines and a place where people can meet up and talk.
The trick comes for people on low income. Then you pay reduced prices at the till, the difference made up by people's membership fees and the profits from normal sales.
We went along to see, and we needed emergency milk. I met some folks I know, and got talking with some other folks. Meanwhile Pat joined the association and said she'd be happy to volunteer in the shop.