Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Meijer and the rabid shopper

it's pretty safe to say I'm not into sensationalism. yep, pretty safe...to say. I'm not into urban legends, not into e-mails demanding boycotts and I don't propigate the earth spinning out of control theory. nope, just a low-key, even-keeled kinda gal. can you feel the "but" moment about to happen? oh yeah, it's out there...

but, several months ago, here and there, I started getting unsolicited advice from my fellow Meijer grocery customers that began to gnaw at me. typically, I like to ignore grocery store banter, but the "what if" game started to take hold of my common sense. for instance, what if the granola-ish lady who nearly climbs into the dairy refrigerator searching for a container of cottage cheese with a "best if used by" date at least two weeks away, is right? and just down a few cooler doors, what if the elderly woman rifling through large, extra large and jumbo eggs looking for the perfect dozen without any "stress marks," is justified? and for that matter, what if the asian man poking the red meat to see if it bounces back, has a point?

gradually, I have become the shopper cleaning the tops of canned goods--gotta check the seals and make sure there is no vermin residue. I'm searching bags of bread checking for vermin gnaw marks (actually that one wasn't advice but experience--cue shivers). I wash cantaloupe in the timed produce spray in case any e coli bacteria is on the rind and then gets transferred to my hands. if you see a woman triple bagging a chicken (well first she's making sure the skin is white not yellow, darn that incandescent lighting!), stop and say hello to me.

without them realizing it, children of Meijer customers have influenced my purchases. after hearing a child screech "there's flies inside the donut display!" I now buy our saturday sleep-over-party-donuts in manufactured sealed containers. the mucas-crusted, coughing, just tall enough child spewing his two weeks worth of virus all over the taster table has forever made me shun such free-love germ fests.

see that's how it happened, that's how I became a rabid shopper. it starts with the little conversations offering advice and/or whisperings of dire warnings. it's fair to say that this evolution has been a life changing experience. you see, before the sensational stories and experiences I was zoomin' through the superstore, tossing a pound of butter into the cart without checking the date, grabbing pre-cut carrots without scrutinizing the "slimy" factor, and loading up on gallons of milk like there's no tomorrow. but not anymore. those carefree days are over. now I'm spending an hour even and hour and a half at the blankety-blank store!

am I justified with all this rabid behavior? I thought so, until I read an article about a medical journal publishing the effects of living a life that is too germ free. it seems that the rise in allergies, resistance to antibiotics and general malaise could all be linked to--you guessed it--the rabid shopper.

free mini-cup of Meijer fruit cocktail anyone?

Meijer and the love pump

despite the title this post isn't x-rated. (cheeky monkeys! tee hee hee!)

my attitude at the Meijer gas station is the same as the superstore: get in, get out. however, my reasons differ; at the superstore I'm trying to get a painful chore, aka, grocery shopping, over with as soon as conceivably possible, sort of like ripping off a band-aid. I rip through the gas station more out of a basic belief in common courtesy, I am fully aware that people are waiting for my space and do my best to oblige. so, with this mindset, it never occurred to me that other people may have other motives for pulling into the self-serve station.

I've started pumping $2.46/gallon worth of gasoline into my odyssey. my brain is triggering my stomach to heave as I calculate my possible gas total. suddenly, my shock induced dry heaves are halted by a woman's voice just behind me, "excuse me, how do you do this?" I turn and see a woman waving her credit card trying to get the attention of the man on the other side of my pump. the man looks over at her, "you have to put your card in that slot, then pull it out." he says. "could you show me?" whimpers she. "sure" he walks over. "also, how do I get the gas in?" she asks in a "I'm-just-a-damsel-in-distress-that-needs-a-big-strong-man" coo.

"unbelievable," I mutter. forgive my cynicism but, since this isn't 1931, nor do we live in saudi arabia, and she can obviously read (an assumption, I know, but owning a car and a credit card supports it) how can she possbily not know how to pay for and/or pump gas?

he shows her the ins and outs of the gas pump and adds, "don't tell your husband this." "oh, I'm not married--divorced." she firmly states. "he always took care of these things." with a rogue-ish voice he says, "wow. you look so young to be divorced." she agrees, "yeah, it has been tough..." voice trailing pitifully. upon hearing this banter I stole a better look at the two. bingo! my dangling question answered and transparent Love Boat plot revealed. you see the woman was cute and the man good looking, driving an even more "hunky" car.

get it? good. now, no more interruptions.

after some more meaningful exchanges, I hear, "here's my business card, with my personal cell number. for the next time you need to get gas" he adds cleverly. "thanks," she giggles. I take my receipt, shaking my head in disbelief and earnestly trying to squelch the desire to sing the words to the Love Boat theme song.

pardon me Shakespeare but, frailty, thy name is man!