Today I went to a new Trader Joe’s store in town. I expected the Big Dealness had died down since the store already had a big week-end launch. It made the paper and everything. But I am wrong.
The scene looks like a colorized film version of a Russian grocery store in the 1950’s. (Although the Costume Department somehow didn’t catch the eastern european vibe.)
There are long lines of shoppers brushing by each other as they trudge past rows of partially stocked shelves. They wince, murmur and with a huge air of resignation, reach for a jar of this or a package of that. They toss things into their carts, grip their handlebars and push off with a lack of expression.
At the back of the store there is a huge wall of wine with a jaunty sign that announces, $2 Buck Chuck! Inflation has raised the price; Charles Shaw’s famously cheap, not-bad wine is selling for $2.99 a bottle.
There is plenty of it.
Customers who have reached this special place happily hoist mixed cases on their shoulders or fill all the empty space in their carts. People laugh, share stories and exchange all kinds of personal information the way you do with someone you will likely never see again.
A tall, muscular clerk lifts cases from the top of the pile and sets them on the floor. He looks an awful lot like Ronald Reagan. ( Nice job, Casting.)