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June 27, 2011
I hate shopping in that store and I kick myself whenever I run out for a quick "thing" and forget that I hate the store.
When we first moved here, our local supermarket was a Lucky's, about three blocks from the house, so very convenient. I don't remember when the Safeway a bit farther on opened, or if it was opened when we moved here, but I've never liked that store--just too small, crowded, and filled with people. Why students seem to prefer Safeway over Lucky's I never did figure out, since they are both about the same distance from the campus.
Several years ago they had that stupid insulting ad campaign where Lucky's "married" Albertsons. (At that time the fight for marriage equality was just revving up here and it seemed a constant kick in the backside to see big billboards celebrating the "marriage" of two supermarket chains, complete with cake and other wedding paraphernalia, but gay couples who had been together for 30+ years were being denied the same rights as grocery stores.)
Anyway, Lucky's disappeared in the "marriage" and the store became Albertson's. You couldn't really tell the difference. The look was the same, the clerks were the same, the supplies were the same. Only the name had changed.
Some time after Albertson took over Lucky, Nugget Market built a store on this side of the freeway. Everybody loved Nugget, which is kind of a blend of your regular supermarket and a natural foods specialty store. But Nugget was on the other side of the freeway so I rarely shopped there. David worked there for awhile and loved it. Apparently the people there loved him too because they sent a wonderful letter after his death (he hadn't worked there in a couple of years at the time he died).
I always thought Nugget prices were higher than Albertson's but when I started comparing they were pretty comparable. One might be higher on one thing and the other higher on another, but in the end it was pretty much a wash and Nugget has a bigger selection of things, and generally better produce.
So I didn't really pay much attention when Albertson's became Save Mart because I rarely shopped there any more. It seemed that the biggest difference (still the same staff and same layout) was that you no longer needed a membership card to get the special deals.
BUT, SaveMart put in self-serve check-out stations. Two at first. Now there are six. Just try and find a clerk who will check you out. Now most of the time I forget and go shopping at SaveMart, I have to check myself out and pack my own grocery sack.
Now I know that in many other parts of the world, packing your own grocery bag is expected. I remember Nora being surprised when I just stood there waiting for the clerk to pack the groceries for us when I went shopping with her in Ireland. Peggy laughed when I expected the clerk to pack the grocery bag in Australia. But here, I've had my groceries packed for me all of my life.
I don't mind checking out a few things by myself, though I prefer not to. But I hate it when I have a big cart full of food, or a smaller cart full of irregularly shaped items and can't find anybody to check me out and pack the bags. It does give me a better appreciation for the work that checkers and baggers do, but I don't want to do it myself. I've lived 68 years and have earned the right to be a cranky old lady. I have considered just leaving the grocery cart in the aisles with a note saying "I don't want to check myself out," but that would only make work for the people who are just obeying orders.
But I try never to shop at Save Mart any more. Heck, Nugget not only checks me out and packs the grocery bag for me, but they even unload the cart for me. I don't have to put it on a conveyor belt. I can just sit back and peel myself a grape while all the work gets done by others.
Yeah, I'm really spoiled and after all of my writings about how rough it is in parts of the world where my Compassion kids live, it sounds really terrible (even to me) to hear that one of my big peeves is a grocery store that won't give me full service and makes me--heaven forbid!--pack my own grocery bag.
Maybe I'll adjust to it eventually. I remember what a shock it was when I had to learn how to pump my own gas. I didn't have a clue what to do. Now I don't even think about it. I just do it. I wash my own car windows and don't expect anybody to come running out of the office and wash the windows and check the tires for me, as they did many years ago.
Maybe some day I will take self check-out at the supermarket as routine and tell my grandchidren about the good old days when people used to do it for you.
But in the meantime, I'll continue to shop at Nugget and try to remember NOT to stop off at Save Mart when I need to pick up a few things.
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Nobody can call me a slacker today. How I spent our