In an effort to practice writing for writing’s sake, I am trying something a little new. The Daily Post has issued an intriguing challenge that I must accept. We shall see where it takes me.
When I stop in at the grocery store across from my office it is a half-entertaining, half-frustrating experience. There are no aisles in the traditional sense. The shelves are all arranged at strange angles, running perpendicular to each other and the walls. There are no signs to orient me and nothing is where I expect. The cheese and yogurt are off in a foreign land, next to the tiny unit housing mismatched bottles of shampoo. It once took me twenty minutes to find dish soap. I found it in the snack food section, beside the granola bars.
It is also the only grocery store I have ever seen that features a full-service bar. That’s right. In between scavengers hunts for frozen vegetables and bagels, I can take a break with a glass of wine. It is all very odd.
The other customers are also diverting. Because the store sits on a university campus and across from a hospital, I have observed timid exchange students struggling to read English labels while a young jock assists an elderly patient with her hand cart. It is a place where I can lose my faith in humanity in one moment and then gain it back in another.
I once made the mistake of hauling more than eight items to the till. It was my first visit to the store and I didn’t know any better. You see, there is no conveyor belt to make scanning easier. There is just a short counter on which customers must heap all of their items and hand them to the cashier one by one. The lack of wheeled grocery carts should have tipped me off. No one goes to this store to do any heavy shopping. Every check-out is an express check-out, unless you are willing to put up with the glares from fellow customers. When I realized my mistake, after my bag of apples had tumbled to the floor, it was too late to return the items to the shelf. I was the awkward girl in junior high all over again, the loser who doesn’t know how things are done. I couldn’t return to the store for a week out of shame.
Now that I think about it, the bar makes perfect sense.