Thoughts at the Store


It’s 4 pm on a Thursday. Busy. People are rushing around the grocery store at the corner. It’s old people day, so they’re everywhere, clogging up the aisles and keeping me from the bread and coffee.

In the aisle there are four or five massive pallets that are taller than me and wider than a refrigerator. The guy is stocking things on the shelves. Another two men are bringing out another wide pallet and they’re grumbling and shouting at people who get in the way. It must be sad that the pallet is about four feet wide, which leaves about three inches on either side to squeeze past. When a little girl drops a mag of M&Ms in front of the pallet, the man shouts at her so hard that his neck tattoo reddens.

My local store has some interesting tendencies. While there are four teams of men stocking goods onto shelves, they are doing so at the busiest time of day. They also stock around 12 or so – obviously, lunch rush. And as they are doing that, two people are working the checkout. Last week when all of the self-service checkout stations crashed and 130 people instantly needed a cashier, they added another one woman.

Additionally, when something is good you can almost guarantee that they will change it. Cheese pizza, fish sticks, ricotta cheese, and cookies. All very good. All changed within a year. I think once they figure out that something is good and people like it, they get rid of it out of some kind of schadenfreude. For this reason I am buying every bag of these hash browns that I can find. For these too shall disappear.

I buy my potatoes and pay at the self checkout. My bill is 502 Koruna, which means that I have to enter my PIN code. Anything under 500 Koruna and I don’t need to enter my PIN. I have paranoid fantasies about some guy stealing my ATM card and hitting the town, 499 Koruna at a time.

I don’t know if these things are “Czech” or if they are universal or if I’m just paranoid and weird. Maybe I have a weird persecution complex. But probably not. Besides, when everyone’s out to get you paranoia’s just good thinking.

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