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Thursday, September 25, 2003

This was my day for a new adventure. It didn't take very long, and it won't take long to tell about it. But I had never been in a giant self-service food warehouse before today. Food 4 Less stood for many years on the corner where I park to go to the post office, right there in the Food 4 Less lot, and I was never inside the store.

But now it's Food Maxx. I can't tell you if it's different since it became Food Maxx instead of Food 4 Less, because I never had a reason to go to Food 4 Less. I never really wanted to go to a store where you have to bag your own groceries. It's not that I insist on being treated like a real (spoiled?) customer instead of a money machine (although that's a good thing). It's more that I never had confidence that I wouldn't crush the bread by putting one too many cantaloupes on top of it.

But today I volunteered to bring sodas for the Survivor party at Tammy and David's house, and Food Maxx was the closest, easiest place I could think of to go. I had a couple of things going for me. First, I wouldn't have to bag anything, because all I was buying was sodas. And second, even if I did have to bag the sodas, you can pile a lot of cantaloupes on top and not have to worry.

Naturally, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I walked up and down all the aisles of that monster store, and I never found six packs of sodas. I didn't find any sodas, even twelve packs, that were already chilled. So I ended up buying two warm twelve packs and praying for ice.

When it came time to get in line, I bypassed the check-it-yourself counter. That's taking self-service one step too far, in my opinion. I don't like fumbling around with technology unless I'm absolutely sure I know what I'm doing. Walking up to a naked scanner with my two twelve packs just wasn't going to happen.

That meant getting in line. Like most stores, Food Maxx has registers for as many as fifteen checkers. But like most stores, they had the minimum number of them open for business, forcing everyone to wait. There are no express lanes to be found in this place, either, so I just picked the shortest line and waited my turn as the people ahead of me bagged their own.

Shopping in a place like that seems like a two-person operation, at least during busy periods. Somebody watches the checker, and somebody else goes to the end of the counter and starts bagging. I guess one person could do it, but it would be awkward. Maybe when it's not so crowded you could just wait until you paid and then move on down to the end and load your cart.

At least they have the belt for the items already checked divided into two sections, so the next person wouldn't have to wait for you (or in this case me) to finish before their stuff could be scanned. I'm just glad all I had were two twelve packs of soda that come with their own built-in handles. I paid and headed for the parking lot as fast as I could get out of there.

23 September 2003

Garden on the left, side yard on the right, house in the middle.

The whole adventure was over fairly quickly, but I got the lay of the land. I think I can shop there if I really need to. I don't know if it's worth it, though. I don't believe I saved a penny over the supermarkets where you don't have to bag your own groceries. The only obvious advantage is proximity, and that's not enough except on special occasions like tonight when I was a bit rushed. Maybe the experience will do me some good somewhere down the line. That's about the most positive thing I can think of to say about it.

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I don't know if you watch Survivor, but isn't the Morgan tribe the stupidest bunch of people you ever saw? They've lost every challenge, and deservedly so. And tonight when they had to vote somebody out, they couldn't even pick the right person to leave. They had a choice between a big guy who was a quitter, and a skinny guy who gave it all he had (which admittedly wasn't much, but he was also smarter than the rest of them). Naturally, they sent the little guy home and kept the big dumb loser.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Very Special Episode
"I'm not even sure they're actual paid civil servants. It's possible they just wander in from the neighborhood and do what they can to help out, as if this were a community service project."

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