Monday, January 16, 2006

Meijer and the athlete phenomena

you know, in one respect customers and Meijer associates are very similar to athletes. stop laughing! no really--I've noticed this on several occassions. next time you are at Meijer (or your better-than-Meijer grocery store of which I am jealous) see if you can spot the similarity. I like to call this similarity the "athlete phenomena."

looks cool in bold italics doesn't it? most things do; indeed...most things do.

athletes, when in the heat of competition, will comment that they don't hear the roar of the crowd. even when the athlete is completely surrounded by "the crowd," they don't hear a peep and often they don't register that the crowd is there. I'm convinced that this phenomena explains why Meijer associates and customers feel so emotionally secure to have private conversations in the middle of aisle 8.

for instance, let's take the associates in Meijer's daytime drama "the bold and the desperate" near canned fruit and orange juice. phrases like "that friend of yours is hot," and "don't want no love triangle," and "make up your mind, or I'm gonna make my move," are loudly tossed from oj section across to canned fruit. followed up with nervous and/or innuendo guffaws.

in the frozen food section one stumbles into the employee version of "survivor." these three guys are always complaining about a certain associate. I often hear them (again, the athlete phenomena is in full force) talking about how they can convince their boss to transfer him to produce. they can't stand this guy and are often talking out loud about what alliances are to be made, taking note of every misstep and how they should, basically, vote him off.

the pharmacy/over the counter meds section hosts the "seconds from disaster" drama. irate elderly couples arguing over which flavor Metamucil to buy, arthritic hands grabbing and tugging the "wrong" flavor away. typically, there is a loud, yellow-y/green-ish person burping out gory details to the almost-pharmacist about the last time they had to take emetrol and immodium AD, (ewwww!)

the toy department could support a "super nanny" plot, but there's never a cool-headed objective person over there. from the four year old tearfully screaming/begging her mom for the Disney princess sing-along dvd to Roald Dahl's Veruca Salt over-the-top-bratty-child demanding and insisting their push-over parent buys them their Tuesday gift. sometimes it's the fed-up parent that starts foaming at the mouth in the toy section. this type swears up and down at their toy-desirous child's ingratitude ("didn't I buy that blankety-blank toy for you last week and then you to broke it?") only to toss in yet another pre-destined broken toy.

myself, I have often felt like Patrick Swayze's character in the movie Ghost. when my turn at the check-out lane finally arrives, instead of a greeting, I am often startled with, "girlfriend what did you do with your man this weekend?" before I can mumble out a confused "excuse me?" wondering if I know this person but have somehow forgotten, I hear the Meijer cashier behind me, rattle off Friday night's, Saturday and Sunday's wild-ride events.

so, the next time you walk through the swoosh of the automatic grocery store doors, remember these friendly words of advice--"you're no athlete!"

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