The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with ONLY a loaf of bread are three billion to one.
~ Erma Bombeck
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ARE YOU BEING SERVED?
25 July 2004
Going to the supermarket is like going camping with small children or hitting yourself over the head with a heavy implement. It feels so good when you stop.
When I need to run out for a loaf of bread, I have a choice of 3 supermarkets.
There is Albertsons, which used to be Luckys until the two chains "married" (a union which was widely celebrated, unlike the marriage of gay couples. But I digress.) Albertsons/Luckys is the store where I shopped for literally decades. Its very close to the house, I know it like the back of my hand, the prices are fine, though its higher on some things. It fits like an old shoe.
A couple of blocks away is Safeway, which is more convenient if I'm also going to the pet store or picking up coffee at Peet's. I keep forgetting how much I dont like this Safeway until Im halfway through the store. Its an older store. The aisles are narrow. Its close to living areas for students so Ive never been in it when it wasnt crowded. The produce section is great, but their inventory of other things leaves a lot to be desired.
The newcomer is Nugget, definitely an upscale, trendy supermarket which is walking distance from Dr. Gs office. David used to work for Nugget in its original Davis location, on the other side of the freeway. The layout of the store is a bit less intuitive and I originally thought their prices were high, though Ive since discovered that they are often lower than any other store (Safeway, for example, sells my brand of yogurt at "5 for $5," while Nugget sells the exact same yogurt for 66 cents each. Butter at Albertsons runs $4-$6 a pound, while I can usually get it for $3.29 at Nugget, etc.) They also have a killer deli and juice bar.
Today, however, Albertsons was my choice. I just needed a few things--specifically bread, as Id had to give Walt leftover spaghetti for breakfast because it turned out we were out of bread.
As I zipped through the store, I found some good specials on junk food. Breaded chicken cutlets and nuggets and pre-made meatballs, for example, were already a tempting price, but then I saw that they were on special, 2 for the price of 1, so I stocked up. Nice for those quick dinners before we head off to the theatre.
I didnt do a full weeks shopping, but headed off to the check-out stand. Albertsons recently installed a "self-check out" stand, which I havent had the nerve to try yet. I noted with amusement that it was empty while the two open stands with checkers working each had a line.
I chose the line which seemed the shortest and got into it. Another woman lined up behind me.
Choosing a line in a supermarket is like it used to be choosing a line in the bank, in the days when tellers in banks would actually see you and help you free of charge. (I cant remember the last time Ive actually been inside a bank. Can you?)
Naturally, the "short" line I chose was the slowest.
The reason it was slowest was because the man in front of me was, well, an idiot.
First he had forgotten to bring his Albertsons card, the card which would allow him to partake of all those specials that he was so thrilled to be getting. Fortunately, the clerk told him he could use his telephone number if he dont have his card, so he did that, all the while keeping up a monologue about how the specials were so good he couldnt pass them up. He didnt usually buy that much food, but he just had to take advantage of the specials.
He had two gallons of fruit juice and when the clerk rang both of them up, he pointed out that they were on sale, 2 for 1 and that he didnt really drink juice, but at 2 for 1 he couldnt pass them up.
Everything came to a halt while the clerk called over the loudspeaker for someone to go and check on the price. Turns out that it was juice NEXT to the juice the guy had picked up, so then the clerk had to ring up a refund because the guy doesnt drink juice, you know, and hed only bought two gallons because it was too good a deal to pass up, but now it was no longer a good deal.
While this was going on. the woman behind me put her credit card on the moving belt and, I cant imagine how in the world she did it, pushed it under the metal strip that holds the belt in place. She was trying to dig at the belt to get her card back.
I got my groceries rung up, and discovered that Albertsons had pulled a fast one on me too. The price of eggs is so high that I always look for the cheapest. I cant believe that "Egglands Best" gets to charge double just for having little emblems stamped on each egg (does anybody really believe they taste better than any other chicken egg?). When I saw a dozen eggs with a $1.49 sign on them, I grabbed it up. I wondered why the clerk ran the carton through the scanner twice, but thought that it just hadnt picked up the price the first time. I know that it sometimes has problems that way.
But then I realized that the carton was actually two half cartons stuck together so that people could easily tear it apart to take only half a dozen if they preferred, and the $1.49 was actually for half a dozen eggs, only that information was in the fine print that I hadn't bothered to read.
But I wasnt going to make an issue of it. I just took my groceries and figured Id had a $1.49 lesson in store displays.
As I left the store, the clerk and the woman behind me were trying to figure out how to retrieve her credit card and a line had formed behind her.
There still was nobody in the self-serve line.
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