Saturday, November 04, 2006

4662 Déjà Vu

The local Kroger’s is remodeling because they want to provide the Ultimate Shopping experience to their customers, they are keen to give us more Variety, we deserve the Best, they love us and (cough, cough) WholeFoodsMarketIsComingToTown (cough, cough).

The Whole Foods pan-galactic battle cruiser will land next year about a mile away from the SS Minnow-Kroger.

Whole Foods with Gucci-designed shopping baskets and Versace vermicelli. Yes, that Whole Foods. The largest retailer of natural and organic foods in the World. Sorry, they don’t sell inorganic food; you’ll have to go to the Olive Garden for that.

Over the past couple of months we’ve seen major changes occurring seemingly by magic: new shelves, a new floor, new products and new produce.

New produce? Well, not like pink corn or dancing raisins but fruits and veggies not previously offered. Little squashes. Strange looking peppers. Peruvian Purple potatoes.

All this turmoil means that stuff is moving around in the store. Ketchup is now on Aisle 9 instead of Aisle 11. Apples are on the left side of the produce section rather than on the right. For the professional shopper, like myself, it’s a challenge, but exciting, to keep up with it all.

Today, I spent some time watching the re-labeling in the produce section, a massive undertaking by any standard. Off go all the old labels and on go the new, improved labels: product name, code and price.

Shallots, 4662, $1.69/lb

After a while I pulled myself away lest I became overwhelmed by the excitement, and I had a dinner to prepare at any rate. Time to go.

I parked my cart in a check-out line and zoned out on tabloid headlines while I waited for the checker.

“Queen Gives Birth to Alien”

Again, I thought? That royal family; they never learn.

My fantasy of royal alien abductions was punctured by a question being asked close by, I thought to me.

“What’s this?”

The checker from the other line was looking right at me and holding a bag of produce.

I looked at the bag and said, “Shallots.”

The checker narrowed his eyes and said, “What?”

“Shallots,” I repeated, “those are shallots.”

Agitated, the checker replied, “I know they’re shallots (you old doofus – implied) I’m asking her for the code.”

“4662,” I said not missing a beat.

“Right,” the checker smirked, trying to ignore me, “as if. Well, Doris, what’s the code for shallots?”

Doris delivered the coup de grace, “4662.”

The checker gave me a long look and appeared to be about to say something, but by that time I had paid my bill and was heading out the door. Behind me I heard someone say, “Who is that guy?”

After a brief pause the voice of the Old Hand replied quietly, “That, my young checker friend, that is the Sackmeister.”

As I walked to the truck I thought, “Some days you get the bear…”


Anonymous said...

that store smells of desperation

Shane said...

The Sackmeister strikes with a four-digit answer! Very nice.

Shalee said...

Don't worry. He'll learn, Bill. He'll learn.