I like grocery stores when I don’t have to worry about being in a hurry. It’s a lot more fun when you don’t have to look for a lot of specific things, maybe just one item. We have a new fancy grocery store right outside our neighborhood. It’s a Harris Teeter, but the kids just call it “Teetertown.” I like that name.
On this day, I only had to find penne pasta. The pasta aisle is kind of intimidating. There’s pasta in bags, boxes, etc. My daughter told me buy something with an Italian name when I asked her what type I was supposed to get. They all have Italian names; I just picked one in a blue box. You could write a research paper on penne pasta alone.
Before leaving produce you always need to test a few things, I’m pretty sure they wash it before they put it out. If they don’t, that “mister thing” sprays it every once in a while. I like sticking my arms in there while it’s misting. It’s kind of like being in a rain forest.
From produce I move on to the “bar section.” Here they have the salad bar, the olive bar, the breakfast bar, the oriental bar, etc. etc. This is also a nice place for testing things, but even better for research. You have to compare the price per pound and figure out if there are any deals. The oriental bar is not a very wise choice to buy by the pound. It’s over priced and you end up paying about 10 times as much as you should if you get rice. If you stand there for a while, it’ll be apparent you really don’t want the oriental bar.
I have figured out though that bacon from the breakfast bar is a steal. It doesn’t weigh anything and you get a great deal. When I do this, I always use the self checkout line. I don’t want anyone figuring out my secret. You can do pretty well with the salad bar also if you know what you are doing.
I’m a sucker for all types of olives. On this day I was just piddling though and didn’t feel like fishing any out. I decided to go see the “Bread Lady.” I really like her. She has been there since Teetertown opened and she looks pretty much like a Bread Lady should. It all started the first time I asked her if she would “Slice my bread.” I do sound a little bit funny to some folks. My students often tell me I sound like Forrest Gump or Jeff Foxworthy. She called all of the workers over and made me say it again and again. Of course she then asked where I was from. I told her “Alabama”, but that I had lived here for ten years.
Ever since then, I get pretty much anything I want. All I have to ask is “What does that taste like?” or “What kind of cheese/spread would you serve on this?” If it’s not open, she will open it. I call her “Baby” and she fills me with bread, cheese, and all kinds of other neat stuff.
After I had my fill of everything I wanted, we talked a while. I asked her where the secret deals were and for any other pointers. I was piddling. She gave me some very valuable information. She told me the times that the bread was marked down each day, where the cookies and muffins that were marked half price were, etc. They make a lot of good things there. She also told me never to buy doughnuts in the morning. “In the morning, they’re $4.95 a dozen – at around 6:00 PM they are $1.99 a dozen. It pays to know the Bread Lady.
I wandered around a little more. I like to ask stupid questions. “Why do you not carry BBQ Vienna sausages?” There’s probably not much call for these here, but I like to ask the question. It usually takes two or three people to determine that they don’t (I already knew they didn’t). It also takes another person to apologize that they don’t and to direct me to Customer Service. If you look real sad, you might get something for free.
I stopped and talked to the butcher/seafood guy. I like him. He’s a little strange, but so am I. I had to razz on him awhile for not having catfish the last time I wanted it. My wife fried catfish for me on Father’s Day – I enjoyed it. I had to go to the “other side” of town to get it, but it was worth it. After talking fish and steak, I moved on toward the front of the store.
Those self checkout lines can be annoying, they always have problems. However, I have decided that I like them. The folks that work at mission control for the self checkout lines know me and know that I will always announce that I will not be able to finish without having a problem. They like being needed. We all do.
I was full, but only was buying the penne pasta. They have the bags rigged on weighted platforms so that the contraptions know the weight of the item scanned and when you put it in the bag it should match with their computerized database. Well, as soon as I scanned the penne pasta I decided to sit on the platform where the bags were. Of course it started screaming something about me putting something in the bag that had not been scanned. Mission control was alarmed and the attendant showed up. I promptly announced “I don’t know what happened; these things just don’t like me.” They were needed, I smiled, said thank you and announced that technology could never replace “good people.”
On the way out I grabbed a couple of complimentary sugar cookies. I think I had a couple on the way in. I stopped and talked to a couple of people in the parking lot and went home. People that piddle say "couple" a lot.
My wife asked me what took so long; I just said “I was piddling.”