Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Weird Scenes from Retail

Two odd things happened to me in one day, a day which happened to be in December, when all the rules of shopping and retail commerce are reduced by 60%.

By the way, when the big department store advertises diamond cocktail rings, microwave ovens and reversible mackinaws at a "low low doorbuster price of 60% off," do you ever wonder, off of what?  

Anyway. I went to my favorite deli in my favorite Giant supermarket; I needed some ham and turkey.  I was the only person in front of the glass case, overlooking the display of cheeses, tubular meat products, olive loaves and homestyle turkey and ham.  The turkey looked pretty good so I had the deliman slice a pound for me, but the ham, not so much.  It had the look of a Sunday ham has-been on a Thursday morning...a little sad around the edges and lacking in that pink color that we like in a ham.  So I asked the guy what other ham he had, and he asked what flavor I wanted.

"Uhh, ham flavor, I guess," came my witty riposte.  

"Because I have maple, honey, barbecue...."

"Just ham-flavored ham, please."

At this point, he pulled out a section of a pig's rear end that was about the size of a...well, a pig's rear end. He sliced a slice and offered it to me, and suddenly, a youngish hipster who had just then ankled up the deli said, "Uh, I'm actually in a bit of a hurry here, if I could just get some potato salad..."

Potato Salad
Well then. First of all, thank you for clearing up the confusion about whether you were in a hurry or not. There had been some debate, I'm sure, but finding out that you were actually in a bit of a hurry shined a different light on the situation. The deliman seemed not to have encountered this sort of rudeness before, and murmured, "I'll be right back" as he slipped away to the Land Behind The Swinging Door, where we get a glimpse of vast jars of pickled onions and giant tureens of cole slaw and ham salad.  A woman who works there came back with him and waited on Mr Potato Salad.  As she scooped, I looked in his cart and he had yogurts, milk, soda, Jello and other stuff that indicated that he hadn't just run in for some potato salad for his lunch in between shifts at the hipstery.  When I left the store a few minutes later, he was still in line with his week's worth of food.  I felt so sorry that I wanted ham at the very moment he was in a hurry, but I got over it.

And then later I found myself at Dick's Sporting Goods, looking for a shirt in size 3T.  The clerk on the floor was less than helpful, saying he didn't "think" they carried that size, and so I went to the cash register, where a young man treated me to an unencumbered view of his cavernous maw as he yawned in my face and said three words which should live in retail infamy..."Go to Marshall's."  

Which is what I did, since they were going to be Dick's about it.

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