Friday, November 04, 2005

The Grocery Store - A Rant

I have been a fan of Dennis Miller for years. He may be sarcastic and often negative, and yes, even somewhat vulgar at times, but he is also a brilliant, funny, erudite humorist of rare, singular talent and abilities. In honor of his work, I have written this humorous rant in his same style. To fully appreciate this article, you need to imagine his voice, his timing, his delivery in your head as you read it.

The Grocery Store

Have you been to a grocery store lately?
Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but do we really need this tedious, drudgery in our lives that we have to do every week for as long as we care to drag our carcasses around on this planet?

Survey says that roughly 95% of us work for a living. This means that for most of us wage slaves we only get 2 days of time to rest up before the next 5 day marathon of trading our lives for buttons so we don't have to walk the 30 mile trek to the workplace of pain, or sleep in the rain and mud, and feed our progeny on small stupid animals we have to catch as they go running by our ditch.

These 2 days are called "the weekend". It is the one time when we are permitted to allow ourselves the fantasy that we are actual human beings with lives and hopes and dreams of someday rising above it all and climbing up out of the stagnant pool of indentured servitude in which we all swim.

And what do we do with that precious little time? Well, we have to squeeze all our necessary living maintenance into those 2 days each week.
And we have a lot to squeeze in. We spend 25% of it paying bills, 25% of it doing the laundry(so we'll look presentable back at the rowing oars the next week) 25% of it mowing the grass or fixing up our car or our house, and the last 25% of it - shopping for food so we'll have the strength to keep rowing.

Basically, you've got 2 days away from work and you're going to spend half of one of them wandering down the isles of some grocery store searching for the medium-sized jar of extra-crunchy Jiff peanut butter looking as lost as Radar O-Reilly at the New York Stock Exchange.

Now, you'd think getting food would not be a problem in this day and age. We ought to have the process pretty streamlined by now right? Not so Rocco.
I hate shopping. I especially hate shopping for groceries. In my book, that's just one step above shopping for womens clothing which is akin to suicide by slow torture. I'd rather remove my own spleen with a dirty spoon than do that.

There are so many things to hate about shopping for groceries. I hate standing in line. Of course that's little consolation to the guy behind me who thinks that I'm the line that he is waiting behind. Essentially, a line is simply a row of people all thinking that everybody else is the problem that's keeping them from getting out the door.

I hate it when people take 136 items to the 8 items or less cash line and then pay with a check against a bank that has one location in a town 3 states away - these people should be strapped down and forced to listen to William Shatner sing.

I really hate it when some woman who thinks she is the only one in the store, leaves her buggy in the middle of the aisle in exactly the one position that blocks traffic from all directions.

I also hate the fact that some slimy head office merchandizer thinks he's smarter than all us shmucks out here just because he decided to organize the store in such a way that it forces us to walk past the cookies and pastries which have 1000% markup in order to get to the basic staples like bread and milk and hamburger meat whose prices are controlled down to only twice the profit of most other businesses. I can picture him now as he rubs his clammy hands in evil glee thinking that we will succumb to his Pavlovian triggers.
That's as bad as KFC using a fan to blow the smell of fried chicken out through that little steeple on the roof to the surrounding area so that we lemmings will smell it and be helplessly drawn into their stores so we can pour out the contents of our wallets into their revenue stream.

Don't you just hate it when every single marketing person for every single product and service thinks of you as the stupid, ignorant sucker that they are going to manipulate into buying their stuff? What do they think about the other marketing people? Don't they think they buy food and used cars and vacuum cleaners too? Don't they think they've ever heard of bait-and-switch, and line-of-sight shelf marketing, and putting 5 potato chips in a bag that holds 20 and filling the rest with pressurized air, and all the other tricks? Don't they realize that most of us have seen it all by now?

Still, we do buy the damn cookies when we see them anyway don't we?

And what about customer service?
There you are. You're looking for the powdered chicken soup mix in some superstore with a hundred isles in it so you think you'll save some time by stopping an employee to ask him where to go. What a sad mistake that is, my friend.

You get some dazed, pimple-faced high-school dope-addict who is a quarter-inch away from committing suicide because the job he has is one of the few in the world that is actually worse than making pizza for a living.
But he's all you've got so you ask him. He gives you a stare like a deer caught in the high beams of a fully-loaded Peterbuilt going 85 miles an hour downhill in the dark. You realize it's pointless and you walk away quickly before he meets his inevitable demise by exploding in a shower of mostly dead gray cells and the authorities blame you as if you were the one who asked
Norman and the android sisters the logically circular argument that fried their CPUs in Star Trek episode whateverthehellitwas. (The sad thing there is that I actually KNOW what episode it was, but I'm not about to expose myself by performing the geek-trick of revealing it. ...or maybe I just did. I don't know anymore...)

Anyway, then there's the really gross stuff. I heard these tales on a recent radio show where grocery store clerks call in and tell their horror stories. The kid who eats some of the grapes and then the mother takes it out of his mouth and throws it back on the fresh ones. The older lady who cannot sense the lumps of fecal matter sliding down her leg as she walks down the meat isle. The people who (this is all true by the way) actually take a new deodorant stick out and rub it into their pits and then put it back ready for the next unsuspecting customer. That saves a trip home before the big date tonight!
People have been spotted taking a swig of listerine, doing the swish and gargle and then.. wait for it... you guessed it - they spit it back into the bottle and put it back on the shelf!

There's got to be a better way, right?

So there's the food services. The shop-at-home-we-come-and-deliver-6-months-of-food-ahead-of-time-which-allows-us-to-sell-at-wholesale-prices kind of service. This actually seems like a good idea until you tally up the bill. I was ready to try this recently but I was surprised by the price for the relatively smallish amount of food we were going to get, so I put the order on hold for a couple of days and went price shopping. The wholesale price was $2200 and so I went to a full-retail, high price grocery store and priced everything down to the ounce. The bill came to $495 full retail. Whoever heard of a wholesale price being over 400% higher than the retail
price? What a bunch of crooks.

These guys are only half a step above lawyers and auto mechanics and only one and a half steps above politicians on the hierarchy of dishonest vocations.

All in all, after considering the whole experience, and carefully weighing all my options, I think I'll just go eat in a restaurant, and tip enough so the waiter doesn't spit in my food.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.


At 8/25/2006 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, one of the classic's.

I make my wife do the shopping!!


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