Monday, December 05, 2005

Meijer and the "how-to-avoid crazies" course 101

over the years I have developed a finely honed Meijer crazy evaluation process. I could flow-chart this process for you or even insert a link to a power point presentation, but I won't 'cause that would be geeky. besides, those tools are static and cannot shift with all the variables inherent to a Meijer crazy. but wanting to be helpful, here are a few scenarios for you to study and hopefully you can learn a thing or two from my mistakes.

case scenario A--don't start a friendly conversation. broccoli is on sale for $.99. at the broccoli "pile" another woman is making her choices, carefully placing the desired ones in the crook of her arm, like a slew of tiny green babies. I notice she is buying a lot of broccoli. I decide to ask how she is going to store all that broccoli, just trying to start a friendly conversation, maybe exchange some kitchen tips (obviously, this occurred when I was a novice).

so, with my naive, folksy voice, I ask the broccoli hoarder, "do you cook those, then freeze; or do you just freeze them raw?" like a flash of lightning she whips her head to face me. I think she mistook me for a Meijer produce associate because she snapped at me, "the sign doesn't say there's a limit, so I can take home (not buy but take home) how ever many I want!" the sirens in my head blared, "walk away! walk away! walk awaaaaay!" instead, trying to recoup my faux pas, I offer to get her a plastic produce bag to which I was promptly scolded with, "plastic isn't natural!" just a side tip to this lesson, listen to the blaring sirens in your head.

case scenario B--never respond to a Meijer crazy. the pharmacy gods are against me this day. my son has chosen the busiest day to get sick and requires prescription drugs. I'm pretty sure the over-80 pharmacy customers were not happy when the "young-family" usurpers rustle up to their territory. the pharmacy waiting area offers a free, touch-screen, automated weight scale and blood pressure evaluation. for my two youngsters, this is a real treat, so they wait for the only man using the machine to finish, then begin tapping the proper choices on the screen, they have their weight and blood pressure taken, absolutely delighted with the print out receipt.

suddenly, I hear an elderly "gentleman" shout, "they are going to break that and a lot of people count on that machine!" startled into she-lion mode, and forgetting that technology is a complete conundrum to this generation, I ask, "how are my children's fingertips any different than yours? the reinforced glass and the touch-screen software won't break because it registers a child tapping." reacting like I just threw him into an apoplexy, the man spews out some loud curses and emphatically waves the how-dare-you index finger at me.

case scenario C--don't state the obvious. once again I'm at the check-out lane. I begin unloading my cart; skim-milk, cracker barrel vermont white cheese (oooo, I love sharp cheese!) fruit, veggies, and turkey ball park franks--we're having a weenie roast.

"those will kill you," I hear in a gruff, I smoke-three-packs-a-day voice from behind my cart. confused, I look around me in the are-you-talking-to-me? head gesture. sure enough the lady (I use this term loosely) nods her head. "those hot dogs, they'll kill you. I had an uncle that ate them everyday for lunch and he died from cancer." okay, so I can't help notice that an opened pack of cigarettes are sticking out from her purse, she is carrying a six pack of beer, and a bag of donuts in one arm and three boxes of pop-tarts in the other arm. I can't help myself, "really?!" I ask in an alarmed voice, "what kind of cancer?" I whisper in reverence. she get's agitated, and replies harshly, "well it started out as lung cancer and then spread, but he swore up and down that it was those damn hot dogs that gave him cancer!"

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