Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coke kills

posted Mon, 13 Jun 2005

Saturday morning, I was at the grocery store at 6:15 a.m. Not for fun. Not because it’s the most efficient time to shop for groceries, because it’s not – there are a lot of stock outs at that hour and not a good selection of produce. In Miami, it actually was the best time to shop. There was no traffic and no one else in the store. I would get in and get out. On my way there, I would see people stumbling out of nightclubs.

No, I was there because the Coke distributor had run me out of diet Cherry Coke.

I had warned the guy the weekend before when I saw him stacking a bunch of lime diet Cokes. “Don’t run me out of diet Cherry,” I said.

“Uh huh,” he said absent-mindedly, as he unbuckled that silly back brace they make them wear. The corporate safety guy would be furious if he knew that no one ever buckles those things.

Last Sunday, I ran out of diet Cherry cokes. I put it on my list. Tuesday evening, I went to the grocery store after work for a few things. I checked the soda aisle. No diet Cherry coke. This was not yet a problem, because I had two cases of it at work for a.m. consumption. (I don’t drink coffee.)

What I needed was a case to have at home for the weekend. But the weekend was not yet nigh. I had time.

Friday night, I didn’t go to the grocery store. Why? I don’t know. I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking. So when I awoke Saturday morning, I had no source of caffeine. I had to make a trip right away to the store. I was not in a good mood when I got there.

See, this is all just the warmup for the real story. Now we’re getting to the actual plot. That was just the introduction. This is the man vs self, man vs man, man vs nature part (at least for anyone educated before 1980).

So I get to the produce department. I have had no caffeine and nothing to eat. I have already checked the soda aisle and there is still no diet Cherry Coke.

The rhubarb (an absolutely delicious Midwestern fruit -- vegetable? stalk?, for those of you who have not had the privilege) has been in stock for over a week.

Yet they still haven’t put out a price for it.

I find a clerk.

“I’m just curious,” I say. “Why is there a price up for beets – even though are no beets in stock – yet there is no price up for rhubarb?”

The clerk yells. “Andre! This lady wants to know much the rhubarb cost!”

“No,” I say patiently. “That’s not what I said. What I asked is why there is no price posted for a product that has been sitting in the bin for over a week?”

She looks at me as if I am nuts. Andre approaches us.

“It’s cheap. Two ninety nine a pound,” he says.

“That’s not cheap,” I say. “Why haven’t you posted the price?”

He shrugs. “You hafta ask the manager that. He’s not here.”

The woman looks at me. “Why do you care?”

“Because every time I walk into a store, I think how I would run it better. If I were in charge here, that price would have been posted when the rhubarb was stocked. The prices for the items not in stock would be removed. I wouldn’t make it so hard for customers to buy things. Last week, it took me forever to find someone to tell me the rhubarb price. It shouldn’t be hard for me to buy something from you.”

She stepped back.

I took pity on her.

“Look. I haven’t had any caffeine yet, OK? I’m a little testy.”

But she didn’t come any closer. I gave up and got diet Dr Pepper instead. I’ll have to visit my mom for the rhubarb. If I am going to pay that much for it, I might as well buy a plane ticket.

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