Dear Jewel…

My dearest Jewel-Osco,

Why must you insist on us having such a love-hate relationship?

Providing only four employees – one for each of two lanes, a bagger, and a supervisor for four self-checkouts – on a busy Friday night when all of Boystown and Wrigleyville needs to stock up on their weekend refreshments, is probably not the smartest staffing decision. Especially the weekend that Chicago’s plastic bag ban takes effect.

And especially if a decrepit 93-year-old Mr. Miyagi lookalike is your bag boy?

By All Means...

While I love you and your broad selection of delicious food, your checkout lines on a Friday night are the reason I keep Treasure Island around as my mistress…

You see, it’s like this…

10:17pm. I enter you. I have my list ready. I’ve obsessively-compulsively organized it so I can get in and out in one simple lap with minimal deviation into your aisles where I know all too well that you’ll lure me and tempt me with your shitty delicious-yet-terrible-for-you food. Let’s do this.

[x] Broccoli
Chicken Breast
[x] Steak
[x] Eggs
[x] Shredded Cheese
[x] Tuna Fish
[x] Peanut Butter

10:34. A grand total of 17 minutes flat. Done. Boom. Look at me go. Checkouts, here I come.

At which point I discover there are only two staffed-with-real-people lanes and four self-checkouts open. All of which have lines stretching halfway back through the store.

Once it’s finally my turn in line and my goodies are all on the belt, I’m met by Mr. Cashier. Friendly, decently attractive, efficient, done.

Enter a real-life living and breathing Mr. Miyagi. I’ve never seen such a frail old Asian man outside of the Karate Kid movies. While I think it’s great that the elderly want to work, there’s a time and a place. Like instructing kids in the art of karate. Not bagging my groceries.

Like any professional shopper, I’d sent my reusable IKEA bags down the belt first, followed closely behind by my groceries in a methodical order so they could be bagged according to temperature, weight, the whole nine yards. When you’ve worked retail and go grocery shopping as much as I do, you know how things get bagged so you help the cashiers out. It’s like removing hangers for them when you’re shopping for clothes. It’s the little things.

Despite the fact that Mr. Cashier had informed Mr. Miyagi (or at least attempted to as it would seem he didn’t understand English whatsoever) that I had my own bags, he began stuffing my items haphazardly into their semi-reusable-plastic-bags – which still boggle my mind as to how they’re any better for the environment than normal-weight plastic bags.

Not only were my groceries randomly stuffed into three bags rather than two (I know, I know….needy and demanding princess status), but nothing was bagged like I’d sent it down the belt. Meanwhile I’m standing next to him holding my reusable bag explaining “Sir, it’s okay, I have my own bags. I can do this if you’d like.” Nothing. Either he’d left his hearing aid at home or he didn’t understand a lick of English. My money’s on a combination of the two.

83840a1763d881ba838d95057181ff16f8ad7f6afed3d2fd5947501cc892b3c8And to top it off? It. Took. FOREVER. Literally forever.

In the time it took Mr. Miyagi to bag my basketful of groceries, Mr. Cashier managed to ring through – not one, but two! – two more people (and bagged their groceries himself since he could tell it’d be a while if he sent them down the belt and that they’d probably end up mixed into my bag anyway).

Clearly I haven’t been practicing patience like a good young grasshopper. I should work on that. Or not.

So of course -before I left the store -I spent about 45 seconds re-bagging my groceries. God forbid I walk home with my chicken upside down and leaking on top of my bananas with a carton of eggs thrown in vertically on the side.

Absolutely ridiculous.

So on that note, Jewel, that’s the reason why I choose to cheat on you with Treasure Island. While their selection may not be quite as broad, it’s typically fresher and their staff is a million times more competent. It’s that whole quality over quantity thing, you know. Plus they’re two blocks closer and I’m lazy. It’s a win-win situation.

Unless they’re closed for the night. In which case, I’ll come running back to you and Mr. Miyagi. Joke’s on you. You’re the mistress now.




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