Monday, February 21, 2005

two random things of the day--one bothersome, another funny

With a gallon of milk and a family-pack of chicken legs, I was in a cashier line at Jewel Osco, one of the two major supermarket chain in the city earlier today. A woman probably in her early forties was in front of me. The cashier, another woman in her forties, prompted her for a Jewel preferred Customer Card, with which we get discount on merchandise in exchange for our intimate consumer information--from our favorite bland of crappy chips (and how long it takes for us to devour the entire bag) to the date of our last purchase of sanitary napkins. The customer fumbled in her purse, and said to the cashier.
"Can you use your Dominick's Card?"
Uh-oh. She made a mistake. Dominick's is another of the two major supermarket chain in the city, similarly trying to keep us loyal to them with their version of discount/information-surrender card. The already-grumpy looking cashier looked up, and coldly said,
"I don't have any Dominick's Card."
Ouch. The customer apologized (how nice of her!), to which the cashier did not show any sign of recognition. She apparently had a great employee loyalty to the chain. The unfortunate customer turned to me for emotional help, and smiled a meek smile. I smiled back, feeling sorry for her. With the presence of the Ms. Cashier, I couldn't do more than to sneakily stick out my tongue in complicity. But oh, boy, what an unpleasant woman the cashier was! Everybody knows that more than 80% of the customers of the two chains have those stupid cards from both stores. They can name their cards whatever way they want to, but let's not pretend that anyone with a "preferred card" or "fresh value card" is a loyal customer to the specific chain who never goes to the other store, for it is an illusion that cannot be more obvious.

I had lunch at a Corner Bakery today. (A combination of cesar salad and half a South Western roast beef sandwich on Poblano cheese batard... hmmm, yum!) With the sandwich in a hand, I was reading "Illness as Metaphor" that I picked up on Saturday after the car show at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park. The place was packed with lunch crowd. So it was not surprising that the mom of a family (mom, grandma, three teenage boys of about ten to thirteen years old) sent the kids to get the food while she held on to the table next to me. When their food came, the forty-something mom exclaimed in astonishment.
"Oh my god, you guys are having cesar salad!? What happened to you boys?"
I looked up, and here they were, two of the boys were receiving cesar salad. Not even with a strip of roasted chicken. Just plain ol' lettuce with croutons and dressing. Wow. AND they are drinking water! What happened to them boys? Aren't they supposed to be gulping down hamburgers and fries, along with a 24-ounce coke? Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe it's in fashion for adolescent boys to be lettuce-eating crickets. It's a weird world. It certainly is.


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