Thursday, November 10, 2005

shopping with claire

i need someone to read this and tell me if it sounds wierd. i think i was the object of in-store covert competitor marketing. i could also be paranoid. but this felt so bizarre i felt compelled to blog it.

rufus and i are incapable of grocery shopping together. he views it as a covert search and rescue operation--in and out as fast as possible, and always with the same stuff. for me it's a tactile experience; a chance to discover new and wonderful foods and potential recipes. so, i take my time. i compare prices and nutritional content, packaging and branding, eventually coming to a decision i'm happy about. after many ridiculously stupid fights over grocery shopping, we split up the duties. he does the milk and juice etc. runs that we need every few days; i do the big shops for produce etc. today was one such day, and while deciding between brands of dried dates, here is what happened:

me: (comparing brands of dates)(they are right above the bananas--this is important)

random man: (speaking under his breath, grabbing random things and shoving them into bags as if he was stealing) wow, i haven't been in here in so long i can barely remember where everthing is!

me: (smiles sympathetically; though in real life i can draw you a map of every grocery store i've been to. i'm thinking this man is a loser.)

random man: it's probably my last time too, cause of that new place just up the road?

me: uh, which place is that?

random man: hamilton produce! it's just up the road. you can go in with $20 and come out with way more stuff, plus their produce makes the stuff here look well, you know.

(i should point out here that i've always found the produce where we now shop to be excellent. the bananas we were talking over were of perfect ripeness and arranged attractively)

me: do they have things other than produce? like a meats section?

man: (looks embarassed) no, just produce. but it's just up the road, called hamilton produce. see these bananas? they're 59 cents/lb. normally at hamilton produce bananas are 29 cents/lb. you should check it out.

me: ... ... ... okay, so if it's right up the road, why are you buying bananas here?

man: uh...i'm in a rush tonight, but normally i'd go to hamilton produce. trust me, it's way better. (runs off with his cart)

does that sound weird to anyone? how often does a person, much less a grown man come up to you in the banana section and tell you it's cheaper somewhere else, and keep dropping the name like that? i like to chat away with the folks in the grocery store, but that's mainly my favorite check-out person and the deli ladies. the only time you talk to another customer is when you need to get your cart by, and even then the conversation is limited to "oh excuse me, sorry, i just need the eggs!" not "oh i just need the eggs, which are totally fresher and a dollar cheaper at eggmart!"

since i started my masters we talk a lot about corporations and all the shitty things they do to people and each other so i'm on this "i hate the man" kick, so it's totally within my realm of reason that this guy was recruiting customers for his new business. does this happen? is it possible? why is it so wierd when it happens?


1 comment:

daisy said...

Seems to me there's no way he didn't work for that store, or was part of a viral marketing scheme in some way. How bizarre.