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28 Jun 2021

The Grocery Spectrum.

Written by sally @ 8:03 am — Section: sally

A long time ago I worked as a grocery store checker at a place where I had to wear a long sleeved white dress shirt, a bow tie, and an apron like an olde tyme dry goods proprietor. When leg quarters were on sale, the sleeve of my shirt would get all chickeny and bloody because I guess in the early 90s “properly sealed bags” were a thing of the future. I have probably talked about this job before, but like all jobs (I guess?) it had its own little ecosystem and dramas and romances. To amuse myself I would put things in the apron of the bagboy I was flirting with (loose grapes that rolled down the conveyor belt, coupons), or, in the middle of conversation, bust out with one of the ads that played over the intercom between Muzak songs (“Hey! Hey you! I’m a big fat roach!”), or make dumb conversation with customers.

I would ask them how to make lentils if they were buying lentils (I had never seen a lentil in my life), or if a new peanut butter snack situation was good, or I would make lame jokes about the combination of items they were buying. One guy was buying a pie crust and a can of dog food, so clearly, my only option was to ask if he was making dog food pie. Blank stare.

One time someone came through my line, wrote a check, and her last name was Peppard. “Like George Peppard, the actor?” I asked. George was her cousin! Allegedly! Also another time another lady wrote a check and I asked for her ID and she said, “Don’t you know who I am?” She was my stepfather’s ex-wife. No, lady, I have never seen you before. Also can I see your ID.

Anyway, occasionally I still get the urge to talk to strangers at stores to amuse myself, usually to remark on the fact that I was once a checker and those produce codes are hard to remember, except for bananas (4011), amirite? There’s this checker at my neighborhood store who I’m pretty sure is on the spectrum. We were doing our banter the other day about the bananas and then he told me the codes of other common fruits that I didn’t pay attention to. Then my Totino’s Party Pizza and avocado came down the belt, and the avocado was sitting on top of the pizza box, and he laughed and said, “Are you putting this avocado on your pizza later?” and for the rest of the day I wondered if I was also maybe a little on the spectrum.

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