From the time I was 8 years old until I left home at 18, we lived in a middle income neighborhood in So. Cal. It was a very quiet neighborhood with little traffic. One of the amenities was a little mom n' pop store about two blocks from our house. It sat in the middle of the block in an almost 100% residential area.
The mom and pop were Joe and Bessie (I think) and they were great people. The little store had all the essentials including a butcher and deli counter. Of course, the prices were higher than at the big super markets but when you need something and don't have a car, it is neat to send your 8 year old son to the market. I never minded as there was usually a 3 cent popsicle waiting for me for the short walk home. Mom would make a list, give me money and send me on my way. Many times the list included cigarettes and at Joe's Market, that was no problem Ah, the good old days.
Here in Aticama, I have found a new Joe's Market but here it is Mini-super Mari's. Mari's is on the highway that goes through town on the corner of the street I take up to my house. Mari's in run by an old couple who must be well into their 70s. While they have no fresh meat available, like Joe's, they have the essentials. I try to buy as much of my groceries from them as possible even though I could save a few pennies by shopping in San Blas. I enjoy the conversation and the joking around with them. If mom is handling the counter when I arrive, pop inevitably pops out of the living area to greet me. (A lot of businesses in Mexico are attached to the family dwelling.)
At Mari's, I often see little children who can barely see over the counter hand Mari a list of items and he happily walks around the store picking up the items. When it comes time to pay, no cash changes hands but instead an accounting ledger book is retrieved from the back counter to put it on account.
I like technology but I love it that the old ways are still practiced here in Aticama!