I had an experience recently at the grocery store that needs to be shared. I went to “The Sexy Safeway” outside of Chinatown on my way home from work. If you’re not from or do not live in DC, you won’t know that every Safeway has a nickname. The Harris Teeters and the Giants aren’t nicknamed, but for some reason, all of the Safeway stores throughout the city have a nickname. Anyway, I went to the Sexy Safeway. I walked in, got my cart, and started in the fresh produce section. Since I am dairy-free these days, this section is extremely important to me. I take it very seriously. I also have an extreme hatred for leaving produce and having to go back if I’ve forgotten something. Due to that hatred, I really focus in on the salad works, fruits, and veggies. I took a turn towards the purple onions when I caught a gentleman sailing through the store as if he was on a runway. He pushed the cart with a flare I had not seen before. He seemed to be coming towards me. [Gasp!] “To interrupt my focus?” I thought. No way, get outta here! Turns out he was seeking his partner who was looking into the white onions behind me.
“Ello, love!” He said in his English accent. After no response, he continued to his partner, “Yes, dear. Get one firm, you know, like my bum.” He giggled. I looked up at him and giggled back. I quickly moved on to the next aisle…halfway down I realized I forget to get the crunchy salad toppers I love. F*ck.
In this aisle I encountered a very fit woman with curly, long blonde hair, a bit exotic looking, she was very pretty. She had her son with her in the cart. All I heard was, “Ok baby, I’m going to put this back,” and off he went into tears. For a minute they were real, but they quickly turned into those kid tears that are so fake that I don’t even know how they keep ’em going! It’s just noise with an occasional nose sniffle and a big breath in. Good god. I got out of there quickly.
I skip most aisles in the middle, as I don’t eat much processed food, (snob alert), but I stopped in the chip aisle for Eatsmart Veggie Crisps (for me) and Doritos (for my feyonce). This is a good 5 aisles away from the kid and dontchu know, there they were! #WTF How did you two get here? Get outta here!
Moving on to the deli counter, which is another 3-4 aisles away from the chips, I thought I’d get some food for my man, as I would be out of town for a few days that week. So first of all, I HATE the deli counter. I hate waiting in line. I hate when the person ahead of me orders 6 things. I hate when I order 3 things and the person behind me is breathing down my neck. And I generally dislike all of the deli clerks in all major DC grocery stores. I usually stand there like an a$shole while 3 different people watch me wait. One of them I guess finally takes one for the team to help me out. And God forbid I want one of the pre-made salads and you have to come from out behind the counter to get it. There is one nice deli guy at Giant on H Street, but otherwise, they’re a bunch of jabronis. Anyway, I ordered some cold cuts and asked about the pre-made salads. And on this day, I was struck by how friendly the woman serving me was. For the win! The win did not last long though because while I was standing there, waiting for the large order of pasta salad with bacon and cheese and the small order of creamy shrimp salad, I had an urge to tell everyone around me that the food wasn’t for me. I thought about saying something like, “If only I could eat like this!” I felt like everyone was judging me, and I really wanted people to know that the food I was ordering was for a man, not for my yoga 3-4 times a week frame. Don’t worry, I decided I wouldn’t actually make an announcement.
Then, believe it or not, the lady with the baby came up behind me. She moved towards the counter, literally right in between two “WET FLOOR” signs. I had an out of body experience, I looked at her, and said, “Oh be careful, it’s wet there.” What? Who I am? Talking to people? Being nice? Being nice to someone who’s annoyed me down every aisle? Oh stop. Get outta here! I waited a few minutes longer for the meats and salads. In those minutes, she muttered something about being in a rush, but I stood my ground with my arms crossed across my chest. Another woman behind her noticed my ring and complimented how beautiful it is. The woman was probably my age, give or take, and I recalled being in stores, noticing women’s rings, and wanting one. I always assumed women with nice rings had it all figured out. Anyway, that’s a can of worms for a different time.
Now I have to go back to the produce section, all the way across the store, for the crunchy salad toppers, obvs. I noticed that the croutons and such had moved to the front corner of the store. I walked my cart over that way but I left it a few feet from where I needed to go. There was another cart loaded with empty boxes placed nearly in the aisle way, clearly someone was finishing unloading stock or something, I’m not sure. I was devastated to learn that Safeway does not seem to be carrying its name brand, “Asian Blend Gourmet Salad Toppers,” any longer. [That reminds me, I need to google it and order it in bulk from the website]. I hemmed and hawed over the other options, literally walked back and forth. I finally made a decision, put it in my cart, and headed towards the cashier. As I walked by, having nothing to do with my direct movement, a box fell from the top of the other cart. I was already passed it far enough that I didn’t even notice that it fell onto some flowers. Two more steps away, and the florist says to my back, “That’s it, knock it over into the flowers and don’t pick it up.”
Oh no she didn’t.
I whipped around, “Actually, you didn’t see me knock ANYTHING over. I didn’t touch it,” I sassed at her. At this point, I can see now, as she’s picking up the box, that it fell into some poinsettia plants……..I love poinsettia plants. My mother decorated our entire house growing up with them at Christmas time every year. And not for nothing but, I am the girl that when she tries on clothes at the mall, puts every item back on the hanger, right-side out, buttons buttoned, and zippers zipped! I am the girl who puts the shoes back in the box how she found them…even at DSW. I am the girl who stacks all the plates and silverware at restaurants before the server picks it all up. I’m the girl who walks aisles away to put an item back in its place if I decide I no longer want it. You will not find any apples in with the spaghetti as long as I’m around!
I am a rule follower, damnit. I have also spent time working in retail and hospitality and know just how frustrating the laziness of shoppers in stores can be! I am not a lazy or disrespectful shopper.
To my sass, she responded, “Oh yeah, yes you did. I saw you. I see your type every day.” And by my type, I can only assume, that she was judging me to be a basic white b!tch, who couldn’t possibly know what it means to have someone disrespect her place of work. Beeeeeeetch, I may be in this store in my black suit, my clickity-clackity heels, and a very fall festive, pumpkin-spice orange trench coat, but don’t even act like you know me.
I can remember years ago, standing downstairs at Rhino, watching a kid take two full pitchers of Miller Lite, hold them out in front of him, and dump them both onto the floor. Beer spilled everywhere. Right after he threw the pitchers onto the ground, he SPIT into the mess. Now, he was hammered and trying to piss off his friends, but I still grabbed him by arm and yelled, “DO I SPIT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM? THIS IS MY HOUSE, DON’T DISRESPECT IT AGAIN.” Yeah, so there were very little rules at this establishment. Anyway, “My type?” I questioned. “And by my type you mean what? Please. Explain. Right, you don’t want to go there with me right now. You know that,” I yelled as she retreated back behind the florist counter.
Like, are YOU kidding me? Did that just happen? “A brawl in the grocery store,” I muttered to the other basic white b!tch looking girls around me. And ya know, I got no Ya-Ya love. They both ducked their heads as low as possible. The one must have picked up the most interesting bag of lettuce the world has ever seen, she stared at it so intensely.
So now I’m fired up and have to check out. Every line is stretched so long that they extend into the shopping aisles. I picked the one that looked to be the shortest and sent these to my feyonce, excuse my language:
[I can’t read these without laughing at myself. And I actually never say the f-word in texts, I usually use “eff.” I can say it just fine, but to type it seems like too much for some reason. I also really enjoy that without having any real understanding of the situation, he encourages me to “cut her.” LOL, MAH MAN! ]
So at this point I am debating whether or not I should report the florist’s behavior to the store manager. The debate is strong. I am furious, but I am also picturing what my reaction would be if someone came to me about one of my employees. I am hearing the words, “I never normally do this but…,” which is true for me, but when someone says it to me, as a manager, I never believe them. I always assume they are a constant complainer. But in the midst of my furious texting and debating, I notice that I’m in a “15 items of less” line. No f*cking way am I moving. I am not next, but next after next, and there’s no way in hell I am starting over. Get outta here! I pretend not to notice but I accept that the clerk may ask me to go to another line when I get to the front. [How do they count the 15, by the way? Is it by individual item or for example, do 7 avocados in a bag count as 1 item? I never know].
Anyway, the elderly woman trying to pay, two people ahead of me, is taking forever. I am not paying attention to the details but I can see that the clerk has gone quiet, basically letting the woman do whatever she wants since she won’t listen. The mood lightens and she looks to me, the other young person around, for confirmation. Another out of body experience, I laughed with her! I even commented, “There’s no winning that one.” Like what? What am I doing? I’m furious right now. But in my mind, I am hoping that my rapport with her will allow my passage through the “15 items or less” line. When it’s finally my turn, she double takes my 35+ items but begins to scan. For the win yet again.
And finally, I have to go to customer service, as always, to get my parking validated. I usually walk up, no one acknowledges me, I put the ticket in the machine, it stamps it, and I move on. I can see that a manager is standing there, and this time, unlike any other time, she greets me…aka opening up the door for me to explain what happened, “Hello, ma’am.” I hesitated a moment, said hello, stamped my ticket, and moved on. I just couldn’t be that girl. If the florist had taken it further, I would have said something, but I just couldn’t do it. I scooted past the florist, avoided her gaze, and left.