Don’t Ask a Grocery Clerk

Every day, people whose social lubricant has long run dry, roam through grocery stores, poised to drag down my day with questions that should have been answered during their childhood, absurd demands, or barely coherent sentence fragments. This is a modest attempt at addressing the relatively common inquiries so they’re never asked again.

When will this ripen? It’s organic matter in a state of decay that’s rather unpredictable. Some people say two to three days, others think it’s four or five. I’m a fan of the three to four range.

What’s the best one? I’m always surprised when anyone over 12 asks me this because by that age you should have developed a taste for a variety of things from cigarette brands to porn magazines, and most certainly food.

When will you get more? You might as well ask me to pick your lottery numbers. Your food passes through a hundred hands before it gets to mine. Crop failure, a depleted warehouse, or a blown tire on a delivery truck, can keep your special product off our shelves.

Do you have any in back? Since you were polite enough to extend some empathy and say excuse me (guaranteed to get a kinder response) before asking my face and not my side, or back, or from across the store. And what luck, it’s in stock.

What do you do with this? You eat it or pair it with something you intend to eat. Really, though, you don’t want to try it, it’s a sub-par stab at exercising whatever minuscule free will we think we possess. I haven’t’ put this in my mouth yet, perhaps it will provide some distraction from my loneliness and inevitable outsourcing of my body to worms.

How do I cook this? Everything comes with specific cooking instructions. Ask for those if they’re not on the package, not some clerk’s vague idea of how to cook a partially thawed stuffed chicken breast. But if you’re in a jam and need a no-fail option, wrap it in foil and microwave it.

Why is this on sale? The only people with that information work in air-conditioned offices and get to visit their families during the holidays. It’s on sale because of an over-complicated network of capital zipping around under the all-seeing eyes of our oligarchical lords. Just enjoy that the thing is only slightly overpriced because after the sale it goes right back to completely un-fucking-affordable.

There’s no price, is it free? Yes, it is, compliments of the store on account of your brilliance and originality.

We walk into a store and forget that it’s more than a place we shop. It’s somebody’s shitty, overworking, underpaying place of work. I don’t go to your job and demand answers and speak only in nouns, because until you prove otherwise I assume you’re deserving of basic respect, and would like to be treated the same.

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