Store stories

Monday was Labor Day, and for me it was very odd: there was no MDA telethon…well, there was, for about an hour and twenty minutes or something on Sunday night. But, Labor Day sans Jerry Lewis just didn’t seem right.

It’s like going to the mall the Friday after Thanksgiving and finding out that mall management has nudged Santa into retirement and left the elves in charge of Santa Land. And we all know how creepy it is when an elf asks you to share his lap.

As Jerry might say; “Heyyyyyyy, layyyyyyyyyyyyDEEEEEEE!”

I worked the morning shift Monday at the store – kind of a slow one, but a few of our regulars showed up, in different guises than the norm. One in particular was interesting; a fortyish woman I usually see in the afternoon when she stops in on her way home from work. She usually dresses nicely, seems to work in a professional environment. She is always pleasant and gracious, asks me how I am. On Monday, she came in wearing  jeans and a sweatshirt and was a bit more chatty than usual. We were discussing dodging the Tropical Storm Lee mess when she looked at me, leaned in and kind of squinted. “You must be from up north or out west – I can tell by your accent, your dialect. Where are you from?”

“Minnesota, originally.” I replied

“See? I knew that. You have such nice articulation and good enunciation…” she paused, gathering her fresh po-boy and groceries. ”We don’t have that here, so thank you.”

With that, she took her bag and left.

“Heyyyyyyy, layyyyyyyyyyyyDEEEEEEE! Have a good afternoon. And…uh, you’re welcome?”

When I work mornings, I meet some of the store’s vendors who are making their daily rounds restocking products. One of them is the Zapps potato chip guy, a really nice, older fellow. We have a rack of individual-serving chips at our counter, and are constantly restocking. Zapps makes really tasty chips and some locals will only eat Zapps. Their flavors are very localized, too; Voodo and Cajun Crawtator are two spicy favorites, plus sweet potato chips, and they have black pepper and vinegar, bar-b-que, etc.

Due to our weekend crush of people thinking they were going to be stranded at home due to T.S. Lee, the racks were picked over more than usual, and our restock supply beneath the counter was all used up; about all that was left on the rack were the orange bag, ‘Regular Flavor’ potato chips.

This is a ‘flavor’ choice that seems to confuse a lot of our customers, as in, “So, what flavor is ‘regular’?” when we only have orange bags left on the rack. (“Uh, plain-old potato chip” is my general response.) For the record, when that is all that is left on the rack, we don’t sell a lot of potato chips.

As I started to relate this story to the Zapps guy, he just nodded, kept checking off stuff on his order pad. “They always ask that. I don’t know why.” He shook his head and chuckled.

“Maybe they should just say ‘potato flavored’ instead of ‘regular’” I suggested, tongue firmly in cheek.

“People have said that” he nodded in response, looked at me and shook his head. “I don’t know why they ask what ‘regular’ is – but people always do. It’s all you can tell ‘em, I guess”

Just a couple of regular guys discussing the befuddlement of regular customers and ‘regular’ potato chips. 

Labor Day morning was a little dull at the store, and there wasn’t even much good on to have on the restaurant-area flat screen. With T.S. Lee having moved on, the Weather Channel was even more boring than usual, and a customer asked me to put something else on.

It was a challenge (especially with no telethon!) and brought to mind a recent discussion with a friend on watching golf on t.v. – something I can only do for about five minutes. Now I love to play golf, but watching it on t.v.? Nope. In fact, there are a lot of things that dot the airwaves these days that I simply don’t understand the appeal of. Doing or participating in them is great, watching them on television…?

The  ‘things I really enjoy doing but find watching others doing on t.v. is a colossal waste of time’ list  includes, but is not limited to: golf, tennis, weather, poker, sex, baking cupcakes, NASCAR, cooking (except for Rachael Ray) and shopping come readily to mind, and don’t even get me started on ‘reality t.v.’.

Give me a good, cheesy telethon for a good cause any day.

“Heyyyyyyy, layyyyyyyyyyyyDEEEEEEE!” Boy, I enunciate well.

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