Monday, August 10, 2009

Scenes from modern life

  • in Gamestop with Mr. McP, where he trades in and acquires new games and the cashier said, "Have you switched to the Wii, or do you still have the gamecube, or...?" Yes, we "still" have a gamecube, something I barely tolerate, so don't think we'll be upgrading to anything soon, other than a life free of all game playing apparatus, if my kids don't stop fighting over this one.
  • in Harris-Teeter, at the deli a woman came up behind me and squealed, "Hey! How are ya doin?" She was wearing a white apron and a cap, so I knew she worked at the store, but from her manner, I decided that she knew me from somewhere and as my brain groped for a clue as to who she could be, I said hello and that I was doing well, thank you. "We're celebrating," she said, "that Harris-Teeter now carries Boar's Head meat products!" Ah, that explained the guy dressed like a chicken, also lurking near the deli, although wouldn't a boar have made more sense? I said something non-committal and ordered some cold cuts but she wasn't finished with me yet. "You've ordered Boar's Head pastrami! Good job!" the woman told me. Maybe I am uptight, but I don't like to be congratulated about the food I buy. I feel patronized. I tried to ignore her, but she had to give me my reward for buying Boar's Head: a little sample pack of mustards. Were we done yet? No, she was anxiously peering into my cart. "I see you haven't bought any cheese! Do you need some Boar's Head sliced swiss?" "I'm OK for Swiss," I said firmly and steered the cart away, but the chicken guy followed me out of the deli and I had to outmaneuver him by the tostada stand.
  • Also in Harris-Teeter that same day, a woman from corporate, dressed in a pantsuit, harassing the lower level managers. "What concerns me," I heard her say, "is all these people just standing around." Later, I saw her giving a pep talk to the wine managers about selling more wine.
  • Today, in Barnes & Noble, the guy pressuring me to buy a membership card. I told him no, but he had to press: "Are you sure? Wouldn't you just like to try it out for a year?" I've ranted about these membership cards before so I won't repeat myself other than to say the whole concept stinks. The blogging community is my witness: I will never shop at Barnes & Noble again. There's a perfectly good independent book store downtown, and I didn't go there because it's 97 degrees today, so too hot for a walk downtown, and also too hot to patrol the streets for a parking space.
  • the whole reason I was in a book store in the first place was to buy the summer reading assignment for Drama Queen. The library has the books, but since every 11th grader in C'ville has to read them, they are checked out and on hold for the duration of the summer. Of the four required books, three were on the best sellers list this year. (The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Peace Like a River by Lief Enger.) I don't know, for all I know they are wonderful books, but when I took AP English, we read Chekov and Tolstoy and Joyce. Then again, it is the *summer* reading assignment, so maybe they purposefully avoided classics. The fourth book is Black Boy by Richard Wright--the only one we were able to get at the library. Then again, Drama Queen did have to write an essay on one of the stories from Dubliners in order to be accepted into AP English. Maybe I need to lighten up, and I realize my prejudice against best-sellers is narrow-minded.
  • Speaking of books, I bought a guidebook to Iceland, because that is where I want to take my kids next, probably in June, around solstice so we can experience the midnight sun. Everyone thinks we are crazy to go to Iceland, but then, everyone thought we were crazy to go to Italy and not spend any time in Tuscany.


  1. Iceland is a phenomenal choice. I hear amazing things about the small country. The only thing I would be concerned about is the cost, but that is for you and the family to consider. Excellent choice!

  2. The Book Thief is excellent - well-written and reads with impact. It's definitely a summer-read "new classic".

    And Iceland: tremendous.

  3. I'd love to go to Iceland, so am excited that you're thinking about it.

    What a strange experience you had at Teeter today. I can't even wrap my head around that woman looking into your cart and commenting on your shopping.

  4. Ugh, i could so do without people being condescending in regards to my choice in game consoles and cheese products LOL! Why do they do this!? Is it really a part of the job? I once had a cashier comment that she was proud of my breakfast cereal choices--i must really be a good mom since i feed my kids healthy food. I quietly set the Captain Morgan's on the candy bar shelf before she saw...

  5. I don't like any comments about my purchases. I prefer they pretend not to notice. Anything.

    Iceland sounds cool.

  6. We just hit the library yesterday with summer reading list in hand for boy 1's AP english class. Of cours Lord of the Flies was checked out, and My Antonia, too. We had to order them from "sister" libraries so who knows when they'll get here. The boy will have to do some speedy reading, that's for sure.

  7. Iceland. Sigh.
    I laugh because I've been reading the classics to my sons--they don't read them in school anymore. So we finished the Wizard of Oz and we're in Robinson Caruso right now. Next up? Treasure Island--gar, Matey!

    I think clerks are required to ask 3 times if you want their card. Just sayin. It sucks, but there ya go. All the more reason to not shop at the chains or to do that dirty work online, IMHO.

  8. This got me thinking about Cville store interactions. So many!

    During a brief rain sprinkle last week in the Whole Foods parking lot, an energetic woman with grey hair and a patrician accent called out to me as I went from my car toward the store. "Miss! Miss!" Somewhat startled, I stopped, figuring I'd dropped something. I turned toward her. "Yes?" I replied.

    "Would you take my cart back to the store for me? Here." She shoved her shopping cart at me.

    I felt like such a sucker.

    (That would never happen in France bc you have to pay one euro to borrow a cart...)