I live in a very tiny little town in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. I always say it’s like living in a modern day version of Mayberry RFD (yes, that dates me, remember Andy and Opie?) and it’s a great place to live, but sort of retro and often feels like we live in the 1950s.
SO, the big doings around here this month is that the local Shop Rite is re-modeling, and expanding into 2 additional storefronts so that it will be a lot larger. It’s taking a while and in the meantime, everything is moved all around and there are incorrect signs so no one can find anything, and carts are bumping into each other, people are wandering around looking puzzled and there is general mass confusion every time I walk in there. A normal Shop Rite visit on the weekend used to take me 45 minutes for a full weeks shopping. Now…..it takes me almost 2 hours and the visit is filled with drama.
Everyone in the store is highly indignant about the whole thing. No one can find a thing. They’ve moved stuff all over the place and it’s like finding things in a maze now and the locals are NOT happy. I personally think the whole hubbub is hilarious!
It’s turned a normal, mundane weekly grocery shopping trip into a big social thing. Today as I wandered around trying to find the Ice Cream (some things never change), I came upon 2 couples in their early 40’s discussing their dismay at their total inability to find anything in the store since the re-arranging. I heard one of the wives say, “I mean, we’ve been coming here for 10 years, and everything was always in the same place, and now we can’t find anything. I think they did it on purpose to make us buy more things.” The 4 of them looked like they had been standing there talking for a while, and were still there when I found my Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream gallon, and left to go search for the bread aisle. Every aisle offers a new opportunity to converse with some other stranger and ponder about your respective inability to find things. Wasn’t the pasta down this aisle last week? Who decided to put the cat food across from the candy?
The amount of planning behind this thing is akin to the storming of Normandy. There are store personnel roaming all around trying to be helpful, directing people, giving out maps with lists of where things are. Food is stacked everywhere, stuff seems to move from one aisle to the next, and then to another the next week, for no apparent reason. There are announcements over the loud speaker, telling shoppers that the management is sorry for the inconvenience and thanking all of us for our patience.
I’m finding the whole thing immensely amusing. For some reason it isn’t bothering me at all. I find stuff like this doesn’t get to me these post Breast Cancer days – I’m actually loving it and the fact that my funny little bucolic town is so flummoxed by it just makes me smile at human kind. Where else but in America, would we all be so annoyed at a store for giving us more choices? Enjoy your weekend.