ONE Saturday, near closing
time in a supermarket, the staff seemed unusually jovial. They were kidding young Eric
who, pink-cheeked and obviously excited, was bagging groceries and smiling broadly at the
chaffing: "Hey, Eric, tonight's the night!" "Where are you taking her for
dinner?" "Have you planned how you're going to ask her?" A customer in the
lineup asked the cashier what the teasing was about. "Eric's going to propose to his
girl tonight," she said. The man left with his bag of groceries, and shortly returned
carrying a parcel. "Here," he said, smiling, "best of luck," and
handed Eric a bottle of champagne.
AFTER delivering 500 cases of soda to a supermarket, I was setting up the display when
a woman approached. "Don't you have any help putting all this soda up?" she
asked. "No, ma'am." "Well, I should think the store would give you some
help." With that comment she walked away, and I went back to work. A few minutes
later, four store clerks came over and started stacking soda. In 15 minutes the job was
done. "Hey, Bill," I called to the manager. "What's going on?" Bill
threw up his hands. "When my mother says you need help, you get help."
I WORK in the produce section of a supermarket located in a rapidly growing suburban
area. During peak hours, the store is packed. Stacking tomatoes one Saturday, I looked up
to see two women collide head-on with their shopping carts. "Women drivers," I
muttered jokingly. Hearing my comment, one of the women looked at me and snapped,
BECAUSE my wife hates shopping, she mounts a major expedition
once every six months to purchase all the groceries that can be stored at home. Our last
trip resulted in 30 bags. The young man at the pickup bay looked amazed that this endless
procession down the conveyor belt was all for one family. But he did have time to
think of a parting shot: "Good-by. See you next week."
As I entered the supermarket I was followed by an elderly man
clutching a handful of grocery coupons. I met him again in the baby-food department trying
to match up the coupons with the items on the shelf and leaving the appropriate coupon on
display. "I've no need for these but some young family could probably make good
use of them," he explained smiling
THE customer ahead of me at the supermarket checkout counter
had written a check for her purchases and was waiting for the clerk to package them.
Instead, citing "company policy," he asked her for identification.
The shopper looked astounded, then finally managed to say, "But David, I'm your
FOR years my mother has taken a good deal of teasing about
her supply of groceries. Even though the store is just across the street, she buys by the
case lot, and her cupboard - as well stocked as any store - always looks as though she
lives far back in the mountains. Just how well stocked she is, was confirmed one blizzardy
week this winter when the grocer trudged over from the general store to borrow six cans of
pork and beans from her.
IT WAS closing time, and there were few smiles among the
customers waiting at the supermarket check-out. The customer at the cash wanted to pay for
her groceries with her pay cheque. The cashier looked pleadingly at us and said,
"I'll have to go upstairs to the safe to get more money." The grim faces
were brightened somewhat when an elderly man next to me responded with, "That's okay,
dear, most of my purchases are for breakfast anyway."
WHEN I took my baby daughter to the supermarket for the first
time, I dressed her in pink from head to toe. At the store, I placed her in the shopping
cart, gradually put my purchases around her, then headed for the check-out line. A
small boy and his mother were ahead of me. The child was crying and begging for some
special treat. He wants some candy or gum and his mother won't let him have any, I
thought. Then I heard his mother's reply. "No!" she said, looking in my
direction. "You may not have a baby sister today. That lady got the last
A FRIEND of mine was leaving the grocery store with a clerk
in tow pushing her heavily laden cart. After walking to the top of the sloping lot,
she realized she had parked on the opposite side of the mall. Extremely embarrassed,
she apologized to her puffing helper. "That's okay, lady," he groaned.
"The woman I had here yesterday forgot she rode the bus!"
MY FATHER was completely lost in the kitchen and never ate
unless someone prepared a meal for him. When Mother was ill, however, he volunteered to go
to the supermarket for her. She sent him off with a carefully numbered list of seven
items. Dad returned a short while later, very proud of himself, and proceeded to
unpack the grocery bags. He had one bag of sugar, two dozen eggs, three hams, four boxes
of detergent, five boxes of crackers, six eggplants and seven green peppers.
ONE afternoon the manager of our grocery store noticed a
somewhat bewildered man staring vacantly at his shopping list in front of the produce
counter. As the manager approached, intending to offer assistance, he noticed
printed in large capital letters at the bottom of the man's list: "YOU ARE NOW DONE
SHOPPING - COME HOME!"
IT WAS very crowded at the supermarket, and the customer in
front of me had a large order. As the harried looking clerk lifted the final bag for
her, its bottom gave way, sending the contents crashing to the floor. "They
just don't make these bags like they used to," the clerk blurted to the customer.
"That was supposed to happen in your driveway!"
I WAS shopping for half a pint of whipping cream to put in a
favorite dessert, and all the containers were marked in milliliters. I turned to a
ten-year-old who was shopping with his parents, assuming he would have learned some metric
measurement in school. "Excuse me," I asked, "how many milliliters in
a pint?" "What's a pint?" he asked. I bought a pie.
TWO armed robbers stormed into a grocery store where a man
and his stingy friend were shopping. As the robbers began searching the patrons for
money, the man felt a nudge. "Take this," his pal whispered. "Don't
give me a gun," the man whispered back. "I don't want to be a hero."
"It's not a gun it's that twenty-five dollars I owe you."
AS A bride on a limited budget, my mother was always
conscious of getting the best possible value for every dollar spent on food. Confronting a
burly butcher at a grocery store, she said she wanted a piece of beef with no fat and no
bone. "Lady," came the gruff reply, "we've been trying to grow them
like that for years, but they just fall over."
AT THE supermarket where I worked, I was changing prices when
a customer came down the aisle, picked up my price marker and placed it in her shopping
cart. "Young man," she said, "I'll give it back to you after I'm safely
through the check-out counter."
WHEN my wife arrived at the check-out counter of the
supermarket her shopping cart was a little fuller than usual. As the register chattered to
a stop, displaying a three-figure total, her face paled. The clerk, noticing her shocked
expression, said, "Oh, I'm sorry, honey. Is this your first hundred-dollar
"Cash, check or charge?" the cashier asked after
folding items the woman wished to purchase. As the woman fumbled for her wallet, the
cashier noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. "Do you
always carry your TV remote?" the cashier asked. "No," she
replied. "But my husband refused to come shopping with me, so I figured this
was the most evil thing I could do to him."
WHILE waiting for my wife at the check-out counter of a large
"bag-your-own- groceries" supermarket I noticed that someone had left behind a
broom. When no one returned for it, I went outside to search for a couple I remembered
seeing at the counter. I spotted them getting into their car and hurried over.
"Excuse me," I said to the young woman, "but did you by any chance leave a
broom inside?" "No," she replied with a smile, "we came by
AT THE supermarket where I work, people pay only casual
attention to the frequent messages on the PA system that someone's car lights have been
left on or that a lost child is at the check-out stand. One such announcement evoked a
lively store wide response, not to mention the shriek from aisle seven. The message was
that there was a blue Ford pickup in the parking lot rolling.
MY BROTHER returned home from his job as a supermarket
cashier looking very weary. "People always try to put one over on you," he said.
"I worked the express check-out line today. One lady came through with 12 items. When
I told her the express line was for people with ten items or less, she told me she was
counting bacon, lettuce and tomato as one."
I worked in a supermarket in Kwa Zulu Natal (South Africa) when a German couple came
strolling through the shelves looking for Mineral water. They were quite
sure that nobody would understand them. When they were passing me, still searching for the mineral water, the man said to his wife: "This is a real hopeless supermarket, they
don't even have mineral water." Being a German speaking South African I felt compelled to show them the mineral water. I have never seen two people turn red of shame and white of shock when I politely confronted them in
ALTHOUGH they had been warned numerous times, several
employees at the supermarket where I worked habitually came in late. At one of our monthly
meetings, we expected the store manager to admonish them again. Just before the meeting
was scheduled to begin, however, the manager walked in with a beautifully wrapped package.
When asked who the gift was for, he replied, "It's a farewell gift for the next
person who's late around here."