Morning Walk-to-the-Shops

Today I realized the full extent of my distrust of supermarket store assistants to find me anything I wanted, or could possibly ever want.

It happens every time. I blab on about tampons or Turkish delight or baby corns, ‘you know, they look like little mielies, like little baby corn on the cob thingys’ (gesturing the love child of a box of matches and a minuscule party hat). The store assistant slumps in front of me, unmoving, hair net squashed lazily on their head. I see their impassive eyes glaze over. I don’t know what they’re thinking and a few options flit through my mind (…I want meat) but I fear it may really be Nothing.

Every time. Yet against my better judgment I ask anyway, interrupting her mid-tea-creamer-pack.

“Hi, sorry, do you know where the red food coloring is?”

Why am I sorry? It’s her job, right? Why ‘sorry’? Excuse me… Excuse me is better perhaps, yeah that works. Through this silent monologue I notice she’s twirled around a few times (left, right, left again) and is now gazing at a particular shelf with her fingertips to her lips.

Her name is ‘Delight.’

“Is it not here?” She opens her arms out and motions to the entire shelf.

No, I think, probably not in the curry powder section.

“Um, no. Sorry… food coloring.” Sorry again, what am I saying? “You know, for baking?” I gesture crushing a baby’s milk bottle, emptying it out onto the floor.

Her eyes flail desperately for an answer. “Um I don’t really know what you want…” Why have I put her through this?

“Baking… Maybe over here.” She scuttles off down the aisle and veers into the next one, like an eager hobbit. I lope behind, a bemused smile on my face. It’s like a game. What will I get? She’s trying, I’ll give her that.

It’s around this time that I spot the ‘Baking Aids’ sign three aisles down and so I try to flag her down. She’s raced off, the little bugger. I halfheartedly jog down the aisle. “Uh… Delight.” This stranger shop assistant’s name tastes funny in my mouth. “Deli-… Delight!” No confidence in this call. “I got it, never mind, I see it over there.”

“Oh you do?” Her surprised eyes gaze wide into my jaded ones.

“Yeah, sorry, thanks.” ‘Sorry’. Fuck. TC mark


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  • Jenna

    go to trader joes… they entertain all requests for even the vaguest of items AND flirt with you while doing it! (isn't there an article about this somewhere in this catalog of thought?)

    • Aja

      There are very helpful and very flirty at Trader Joes. I think that's why I love it so much! Also, the store isn't massively overwhelming.

      • Aja

        They . . .

    • givingupthegun

      That guide to strategically maneuvering Trader Joe's in NYC made me all the more panicked about moving there. Surely grocery shopping can't be that stressful?


    At the grocery store I used to work at we never would have treated you like that. We would have smiled and taken you exactly to where you needed to go.

    • Michael Koh


    • Amy

      Wow. You guys must live in a first world country or something.


        This grocery store was actually in Belgrad but we were always told to serve customers as if it was the first world.

  • Hhh

    yo! classist! BOOYA!

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