Sir, Carry Bag?
For every kilometer, there seem to be at least three supermarkets. There are things I like about a supermarket, but make no mistakes - I’m not a fan. Personally I like departmental stores better.
They seem to be everywhere. For every kilometer, there seem to be at least three supermarkets. They attract shoppers without having to do any publicity stunts or having to sell something that nobody has ever heard of. There are things I like about a supermarket, but make no mistakes - I’m not a fan. I hold my own personal grudges too. Personally I like departmental stores better. But these days, departmental stores are ignored. They get pushed to Plan B, especially when it’s a holiday and the supermarket probably won’t be open. If you make a comparative study, there are actually a few advantages to purchasing from departmental stores. I’ll get to that soon.
There are a few characteristics that differentiate a supermarket from your everyday grocery store.
• Air Conditioning
• Shopping Carts/Baskets
• Computerized Cash Counters
Air conditioning is a deal breaker in an average shopper’s initiation into the league of the Supershoppers (supermarket goers). Wind curtains are part of this deal as well. Many have been known to enter the supermarket in slow motion so they can feel like the next Terminator minus the heavy beats in the background, armed with Sodexo coupons and a cell phone. I don’t carry lists anymore; I just save them on my phone. It gives me the feel of a sophisticated Supershopper, and to any passersby, I look like I’m conducting a quality assessment of the products on the rack. I only like the best, even if all of them cost the same. And while I’m making such life altering decisions that are sure to upgrade both my status in society and personal quality of living, I do not wish to be disturbed by the sounds of traffic, other consumers heckling for whatever they want, or the sound of the fan overhead. The air conditioning helps keep my cool. I am truly at peace. Now, I don’t have to make an excuse to get a drink from the cool fridge, and mull over which one of the five bottles I’m about to choose and why. Most importantly which size should I go with? All of this just to get some free bursts of freezing cold wind, imported straight from the Arctic and Antarctic circles, before someone takes my place with an “Excuse me?”, a polite “get out of my way!” in the vernacular. Now I can walk all over the place, take as long as I want. I can do all this while holding the product of my choice firmly in my hand. Supermarkets are a bit like cafes; I can get just one item and hang around as long as I want and no questions will be asked, no demeaning stares or gory glances will be directed my way, and the check will be settled only moments before I decide to walk out with windswept hair, thanks to the wind curtain.
Shopping Carts – they look dumb but there are so many things they can do. Shopping carts are the first, if not the only, four wheelers that don’t have age limits or licenses to limit who drives them around. Make no mistake; driving one of these is no child’s play. Avoiding shoppers and oncoming carts on long straights and cornering around the aisles is borderline dangerous. The weight of the items in the cart and the independently functioning four wheel drive system challenge maneuverability. The low ground clearance of the cart provides for a low center of gravity, meaning it will not flip while cornering. They can also be used to practice parallel parking. Shopping carts can be used as makeshift strollers that double as playhouses. The carts are spacious enough to seat one infant and an allotment of items. The infant gets a ride around the aisles while playing with the assortment of items that you choose to purchase as and when you drop them into the cart. The high guard rails prevent the infant from climbing out. The biggest advantage of the Mobile Crib is that it provides protection from the outside elements, inside the confinement of the air conditioned supermarket. Please ensure exfiltration of the infant at the time of billing, they are invaluable. Want to get in shape? Pick up a basket and go about your business. Walking the length of the aisles makes for a good treadmill session. Switching hands from time to time makes for a good dumbbell session. All this without an expensive membership at a gym and you don’t need tracks or trainers either. The racks aren’t just for show or convenience. Reaching for the top most rack is a good way to stretch the lumbar and pectoral regions. Extracting items from the middle exercises the shoulders, arms and fingers, activating the vital acupressure points present all over the fingertips and palms. Kneeling down to get to the lowest rack is good for the legs and everything below the hip. Racetrack and gym all in one place and all you’re charged for is the items you take off the shelves.
When I’m at the supermarket, I get to be on (CC) TV. Finding the security camera’s blind spots is no childish act. It requires tact, stealth and patience. Ducking in and out of blind spots is an unparalleled Dark Knight experience (I’m Batman!). In some cases, the feed from the cameras are fed directly into television sets mounted in plain sight. It’s great to wave at my camera counterpart while waiting to be billed at the Computerized Cash Counter.
The billing section is where technology really comes into play. The Billing Executive plays laser tag with the bar codes and my handpicked items get priced and listed in an interactive spreadsheet. Independent card swiping machines are now a myth. The card gets swiped into a slot adjoining the touch screen. That’s my cue to decide my mode of payment. “Cash or card, sir?” I won’t answer that. It’s annoying enough that I have to stand in line waiting for my number to get to the counter after going through the confusion of which brand to get and why, only to find out that the person on the other side has no observation skills whatsoever. Isn’t that part of their training program or something? The distorted dubstep of the printer is music to my ears. I walk to the exit. It’s time for my final wind curtain moment. “I’ll be back”
That was fun, but I still can’t let go of my true love – The Departmental. Why you ask? First off, I am remembered by name. I get personal attention. You can tell how often I’ve been there by the smile I’m greeted with when I set foot into the premises. Nothing can cheer you up, even if only temporarily, as much as when the store owner asks “How’s everyone at home?” It’s never possible to not let that smile come on when I hear that. The owner is my next best friend. I can walk in anytime and we can have a nice long chat while he attends to other customers. Now that’s what I call personal attention. One of the best things about departmental stores is that I can put things on my tab. I can walk in, ask for whatever it is that I am there for, and once I have it, walk out. Nobody will chase me for shoplifting. The other best thing about them – FREE CARRY BAGS! There’s nothing more infuriating than when the Billing Executive makes it a point to ask if I need carry bags, and make me pay for them as well! Yet another display of poor observation skills.
“Sir, carry bag?”
“No, how about a body bag?”