What testing utility did you use?
Who in their right mind would spend 30 minutes in a store? You don't have to do that Europe. Most of your shopping consists of little artisan shops that provide local produce, cheese, wine, meats, and takes you only a minute to order. You then proceed on your way unless you want to socialize.
In Europe, you can buy fresh homemade pasta, the best cheese in the world, great wine without taxation, the best chocolate in the world. If you live in Italy, you can stop for gelato on your way home.
If you live your life going from point A to point B, you will find it severely lacking. You miss out on the good stuff. You will consequently have fewer friends, less sex, and fewer thoughts.
Case in point: When I lived in Europe, I got a little something extra from the baker's cute daughter.
I know you think this may take up a lot of time, but frankly it's worth it -- for the better quality of fresh food.
I bake my own fresh bread. Can't be more fresh than that. Takes about 5 minutes to mix the ingredients for the machine. Cost: hard to measure. A comparable loaf from the store will cost you $3, and it will contain ingredients that you do not need or want (such as those that preserve freshness for weeks.) When I make my own bread I know exactly what goes into it.
Yes it can, and it is. In France, you pick up your daily baguette, still warm, for 1 euro. Made fresh with local ingredients. You don't have to spend time parking, waiting to check out. The entire exchange, unless you want to socialize, will take you ten seconds. I would rather walk 30 meters on a cobblestone road to my local shop, surrounded by thousand year-old architecture, then spend 30 seconds in a car suffocated in concrete and traffic.
In a 3 block radius (small European blocks), you will have your baker, your butcher, your fromager, your wineshop, and sometimes even your own local chocolatier. The food too is not even comparable for the crap that passes in the U.S. In Europe, you can be relatively poor and live like a king.
And time-wise... yes, it is important. Use a stopwatch and time the visit to the store. I don't think I can do it faster than in 15 minutes, considering parking, walking, selecting goods, standing in line, paying, loading the purchases into the car, and leaving the parking lot. 15 minutes * 20 days * 12 months = 60 hours of your life or almost three days per year spent standing in lines in a store! What a joy! Wouldn't you find some better use of that time? We do not live forever, and your time is not free to waste. Buying in bulk also costs less, and refrigerators are quite a handy invention.
No. I wouldn't want to spend my time elsewhere. Shopping in a European hill town or city is easier, faster, cheaper, and social. Almost everything you purchase is locally grown, locally made, and locally sold. It's a completely different way of living that Americans don't understand. In essence, it *is* living and is just as an enjoyable process as cooking and eating.
In Europe, if you like to bake, you can actually make a healthy profession out of it.
You can be selective with who you work with, but don't burn bridges. If the interviewer is not capable of accessing the position or your capabilities, then the politely and assertively ask to speaking with someone who can.
"You tweachewous miscweant!" -- Elmer Fudd