Thursday, April 29, 2010

the cashier at Shaw's supermarket (m)

This morning, after I dropped H off at school at 7:45 a.m., I headed towards the supermarket to get my shopping out of the way.  We're hosting 30 kids from his crew team for dinner at our home tomorrow night.

It's a great time to shop, by the way.  The shelves are freshly stocked and the aisles are empty.  I look at my watch once I've placed the last item in the cart:  8:10 a.m. What a jump start on the day.  This is the new me!

I have my pick of the check-out registers as there are three cashiers ready to lines.   I head for the aisle labeled #8 because 8 is my lucky number.  I used to have a crush on Carl Yastrzemski from the Red Sox and I took his number as my own.  I thought it brought us closer together.

The cashier is new to me.  I know the old Italian guy, Benny (whom I call "Bene" as a play on words).  I also know the crabby fat lady who begrudgingly says "hi, how are you?" as if she could not possibly care less.  But this guy today is right out of La Cage Aux Folles.   I imagine sand bags around his ankles to keep him weighted and in place.

He turns and gives me a very cheery "HELLOW!".  I give him my Shaw's card and line up the groceries on the belt.  Because it's early in the day, there is no one to help him bag the groceries.  I pick up US weekly and thumb through the latest news on the celebrity "putanas" as my mother calls them.  I put the magazine down and look up.  Something very weird is going on here.

He is bagging my groceries by category.  Picture this.  The stuff is on the belt...he's standing there with his hand on his chin like the statue of The Thinker....and then he starts putting clusters of items in a bag.

What are you doing? I ask.

"Well...anyone can just put things together and balance out for weight, but I like to put them together so when you get home, they are already organized for you!  It's a special service I offer to my customers.  Here....are your pantry items.  Over here... are your refrigerated items.  This bag is refrigerated produce; this one refrigerated meats." 

Then he showed me another bag.  Some things were to be refrigerated...others I would have thought he would have put with pantry.

This one doesn't make sense to me,  I said.

"Oh...that's diet stuff.   I put your skim milk, bran cereal, veggie burgers and Arnold Sandwich Thins and deli turkey slices there.  But we don't have to say diet.  We'll call this Mom's Private Collection!"

Abraham Lincoln once said:  "Whatever you are, be a good one".

I don't think I've met anyone who elevated the status of a mundane job to an art form.

I could have hugged him.

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