It is still dark out, but you have to go to the grocery store because you are out of things to pack for the kids’ lunches. Only one store close by is open at 6 am, and it’s the Big Enormous Supermarket (BES) and their logo is a dinosaur eating a whale eating an elephant. The hungry carnivore (named with originality and creativity to spare) is of course “Bessie.” No one seems to notice Bessie looks suspiciously like a brontosaurus (famous for being vegetarian). Seems BES’s marketing department has no access to Google.
You hate BES. And not just because of the eating-disorder-conflicted Bessie.
How do you loathe BES? First of all, it is no exaggeration to say the store is bigger than two football fields. And that’s just the frozen aisle.
If you find what you need right away (and that is rare), then you will inevitably need something on the other end of the store, and then the final thing on your list will be back in the first part of the store. So there is a lot of backtracking going on.
Their prices are high. But at 6 am when they are the only store in town with the door unlocked, what are you going to do? BES holds you hostage to its excellent selection of nothing.
You are there, after all, for kid lunch food. This means juice boxes. You (intelligently, you thought) go to the beverage aisle. Beverages to BES mean soda. Rows upon rows of soda. Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi, even Fanta. Do they still make Fanta, you wonder? No juice boxes.
This is not enough to strike you down. You keep searching. You stumble upon the water aisle, and ever hopeful, you peruse it looking for juice boxes. Nothing.
Nor does the snack aisle produce juice boxes, and there are no employees to be found. (At this point you think they should hand out some sort of map/directory at the front door.) You finally see an employee in the bread aisle and you innocently ask him where the juice boxes are. He shrugs and apologizes that he works for the bread company and not the actual grocery store. He has no idea where juice boxes are.
Next, you find someone who is wearing the store uniform. You ask her the whereabouts of juice boxes. She shakes her head “no” and pretends to only speak Spanish. You switch into flawless Spanish (how you are congratulating yourself on minoring in Spanish in college! It is finally paying off) and then she switches into flawless English.
“Juice boxes? For kids? I have never heard of that. No, we don’t carry those.”
You sense she is lying to get rid of you.
It is now 6:15 and you have wasted a quarter of an hour in this stupid store and you are not happy with her answer.
You realize it is not so much a language barrier issue as a volume issue. Yours gets louder.
“JUICE BOXES??? OF COURSE YOU HAVE JUICE BOXES. THIS IS BES. BES HAS EVERYTHING. AND EVERY STORE IN AMERICA HAS JUICE BOXES SO BES MUST HAVE JUICE BOXES.”
She is starting to understand that she cannot get rid of you as easily as she first thought, therefore she walks you down the length of two football fields saying to herself quizzically, “Juice boxes, juice boxes?” as if you asked her for chocolate-covered grasshoppers.
Twenty minutes later, you and she are standing in the candy aisle and lo and behold, juice boxes. It takes every ounce of restraint you have to not pick up a pack and throw it at her. You lift one pack off the shelf and say, “See? See this? Juice boxes! I knew you had them!”
Victory is yours, if that is how you measure victory, wasting half your morning yelling at BES employees to “educate” them about what products they sell.
And this is why you do not shop at BES. Ever, ever, never.
Until the next time it is 6 am and you are out of something.