I used to know exactly where soup could be found and where potato chips lived.
Now, in spite of shopping at the same store day after day, I just can’t remember where anything is. Some of it, I know, is my aging brain, but believe me, most of it’s because of the rambling football-field-sized markets and a plot among managers.
My theory is that managers are obligated to move food around every week to keep customers on their toes. Just when I become familiar with where crackers are, they move them.
“Oh, oh,” the manager says to himself. “I saw Nancy go directly to the soup and then to the crackers. She didn’t wander around looking lost. Urgent: Move the crackers and soup! Today!”
Thank heavens it’s harder to move the produce, probably because of water sources and the sprayers that spray the customers as they bend over to squeeze the rutabaga. Once you know where the produce is, you are pretty well safe to memorize where the lettuce and lemons vegetate. Also, the frozen foods mostly stay put; but watch out, they can move the food within the cases, and believe me, they do.
I don’t mean to gripe. Life in America is wonderful. I am glad I am not out in the field hoeing my own potatoes, and I know I am truly blessed when I enter a supermarket and am greeted with the bounty of our land, which comes from all parts of the globe.
Fresh fruit in December? Crisp lettuce in January? When our generation was young (sorry to bring that up), that was not possible. Fresh produce was available for the masses only in the summer. Melon squeezing was limited to June, July and August.
And another interesting thing, B.S. (Before supermarkets) we would walk into a small grocery store with a short grocery list Mom had given us and hand it to a clerk at the counter, which was located right at the entrance of the store.
As we waited, the clerk would disappear into the three of four aisles of groceries and choose the items on the list for us. The clerk would come back several times, bringing one or two items each trip until Mom’s list was filled. He would fill one or two sacks, we would pay him cash (remember what that was?) and off we’d walk toward home. That’s exactly what they mean when someone sighs and says, “Life was so simple back then.”
When the first supermarket opened near us, it was beyond belief! Grocery carts you pushed around the store by yourself! Shelves and shelves of food you could choose from.
Remember when Eavey’s opened on the south side of Fort Wayne? It had a huge neon cornucopia on its roof, towering over the immense parking lot! Awesome. Food by the mile for the masses.
Well, gotta run. I have to go to the supermarket. I’ll be back in about three hours, maybe longer. They’ve probably moved the soup again.