Take that Food and Shove it!

 Posted by at 10:41  rants
Aug 282013
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A Shopping Rant

I seem to be recovering some

English: Interior of a Sam's Club in California.

English: Interior of a Sam’s Club in California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

of my cantankerosity which went AWOL when I got back from my trip.  Once I got my worries about becoming nothing but a mellow old geezer off my chest last week, it slipped blissfully from my mind. (It is one of the blessings of getting older.  I start thinking about something and ten minutes later it’s gone.)

Anyway I was doing some shopping at Sam’s, blissfully alone so all I had to do was find the items on my list.  There were no distractions to slow me down.  (When I go with my wife, it’s like she had never been there before in her life.  She has to look at everything and apparently she has never seen any of it before.  I have to write off a whole morning.   It is a whole different experience that I can’t control so I turn off my mind and follow her lead)  -but back to the point.

I was moving methodically through the store picking off the items on my list, only slightly handicapped by Sam’s insistence on constantly moving items around.  I had picked up the laundry and dishwasher detergents and was rounding the corner into meat when it started.  I saw a lady standing behind a cart looking at me expectantly.  I shuddered when she made eye contact.  She looked me square in the eyes, held up a pill cup and said,

“Try some Ranch dip?”

“No thanks,” I told her staring at the floor and moving quickly toward the vegetables.  My steely focus was broken.  I forgot the next item on my list and I could feel her eyes burning into my back as I rushed by.  And that was just the beginning.   It was like running the gauntlet.  Every aisle I found another stalker trying to get me to taste chili, oranges, nuts- you name it.  I was able to avoid a few so I can’t tell you everything else being offered.  Finally, I reached the registers and safety.  They never offer you anything once you make it to the registers.  They only want your money  and let me say that I am ok with that.  It’s the reason I came to Sam’s today anyway-to give Sam some of my money and take home supplies.

So what’s my problem?

Some of you may wonder why I complain about free food.  Some of you may think that it is great when a store offers you something to eat without making you pay for it.  And if that is you, then you can stop reading right now.  If you are the kind of person that will eat anything offered, even at Sam’s Club then you clearly aren’t the discriminating reader that we love here at COC.  Heck, if you will eat anything that somebody sticks in your face, then you will probably read anything you find also.  Take yourself right over the Huffington Post rig and we will forget you ever visited.  No one will ever know.

No, it’s not the food that sets me off.  It’s not the fact that the food is free either.  I’m fine with food and I have the figure to prove it.  I like free also.  You won’t ever catch me passing up a freebie.   There is just one proviso that I insist upon.  It’s got to be something that I want and it has to be first rate.  I don’t want imitation crab.  I don’t want low fat sour cream.  I don’t want a pig in a poke.  I don’t want mystery meat. (I had enough of that in the Army.)  I want something good!  If you are going to give me something for free, then let me pick it out.  And while you are at it, make it more than a taste.  Let me have all I want.  Deep down I know that if what they are offering me is any good, they wouldn’t have to give it away.

But there is more to my dissatisfaction than the food being offered and the piddly portions.  It is also distracting.  When I am cruising the store, efficiently  picking off the items on my list, I get in the zone.  With deadly focus and precision, I move from one item to the next.  My mind is a steel trap, intently concentrating on the task at hand.  I don’t chat with neighbors.  I don’t hob nob with employees.  I don’t muse and daydream about places I would rather be.  I take care of business and there is the problem.

Those annoying hawkers of free food demand my attention and divert my focus.  They waste precious minutes while forcing me to respond to their demands.  Even worse they take it as a challenge to overcome my resistance.  They won’t give up.  It is as if they get a reward when I take their food.  They refuse to believe that I don’t want the stuff and keep nagging.  They won’t accept no for an answer.  They can’t believe that I really don’t want it.   “After all,” they seem to be thinking “Who doesn’t want free food.”  And they

won’t believe that I am that who.

So why do I go back?

So why don’t I just give up on the brick and mortar stores?  Why don’t I take my shopping to the web and avoid all those frustrations?  I try but it isn’t easy.  You have to plan ahead in order not to run out of something important.  There is also the ability to compare products and prices in real time and actually see what you are buying when you go to the real store.  Finally, I guess I’m an old fashioned guy who just likes to get out of the house once in a while even if it does mean dealing with annoying people.  Life isn’t easy.  For now, I guess those annoying food hawkers are just something I will have to deal with as best I can.  Nobody ever told me that life would be easy.

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Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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