Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The great debate

Dear Emi,

Have you ever been to Trader Joe's?

I go every week and regret it every time. It's the closest I have ever come to being an addict and the closest I've come to having a nervous breakdown. The one in New York is small, crowded, ridiculous and completely infuriating--I can't help myself. Who can resist all the affordable organic items? The delicious prepared food, the Chile-Spiced Dried Mangos, the $4 Raclette, the $5 fair trade breakfast blend coffee, the cheap "but in a carafe no one will know the difference" wine?

When it gets too crowded, there is a bouncer! Who manages the line outside of the grocery store! And people wait on the line! I've waited in this line, friend, and it made me feel like a proper asshole. It's that cheap and good.

It is an interesting contradiction to be in a store and want to clap my hands and jump up and down with glee and simulataneously want to SHOOT MYSELF IN THE FACE IF ANOTHER PERSON TOUCHES MY PERSON WITH EITHER HAND OR CART. It's quite the conundrum. Cheap soy milk and greek yogurt for 2 bucks or my sanity? You'd think the answer would be easy, but it is not. You actually have to stop and do a cost-benefit analysis.

But this is all beside the point, what is most interesting is the staff! The place is lousy with employees walking through the biggest grocery-shopping shit-show that ever was, the but on every single face is the biggest, most blissed out smile you have ever seen. Soma? Orgy in the back? What?

Emi, I know these people are as pissed off about having to be at work as I usually am, and I like my job. The shoppers are pretty hard to love, with their carts wielded as weapons, their uninterruptable plans of attack, their nose-dives for the last box of Panko Breaded Tilapia. And I can't help but believe that at least a handful of them have probably dealt with tendencies towards claustrophobia at some point in their life. So why are these people so happy looking?? I want them to tell the TRUTH, Emi!

OKOK, it's schadenfreude, fair enough, but sometimes as I wander the crowded, obnoxious aisles (that I'm dealing with OK but am sure are doing some lasting damage to my soul), I think that if I don't see a "crew member" completely lose it (I'm talking a throwing-ham-at-customers, trashing-the-cheese-aisle kind of fit), throw a box of TJ-O's at their manager and quit out loud, I'm not going to to shop their anymore. Cause if this is what people have to put up with for health-insurance, and whistle while they work, mind you, I don't know what to say.

From New York,

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