I’m just back from the new grocery store we have in our little burg. It is named something like “Grocery Outlet.” It is supposed to save you money. We saved $23 on our $28.34 purchase. I have no idea how, but they said so with authority when we checked out, so it is obviously true.
In any case, I will attempt to describe the major differences between shopping at the Grocery Outlet in California and the Supermarket in Pallerone, Italy.
The Grocery Outlet attracts a certain kind customer. Numero uno are the oldies, a pair of which I encountered in the parking lot. The man, driving (or, at least holding on to the wheel and twitching uncontrollably) almost ran me over as I was trying to cross the street to enter the store. As I was looking glumly at his front tire, which had about 3 pounds of air in it, he turned the wheel, running the car up on the curb I was standing on. He was going about 2 miles an hour at the time, which I believe was his top speed. The car made that eerie screeching sound as the rails dragged on the cement curb. The driver did not grimace. I did.
In Italy, drivers try to get up considerable velocity before passing you so quickly your shirt collar turns inside out. It’s a major driving difference and pedestrian experience. Old folks resort to the public bus. Usually.
Once in the store, it was obvious that the other kinds of people this humongous emporium of crap-inside-cardboard-cartons attracted were the kinds of people who gleefully voted for idiots like Target-supported Tom Emmer of Minnesota who are out to trash minimum wage, thinking they will finally make a wage they don’t have to describe as minimum to their friends and neighbors. Good luck with buying groceries on that.
Here’s a conversation you won’t hear in Italy. Woman holding a can of Gravy Train is asking her companion if they make the stuff for dogs or humans. Companion strokes chin, “Well, I’m not sure, but I think dogs like it—but I dunno really…”
(It’s not all that good over fettuccine, so Italians gracefully decline the gravy train, no matter how much Berlusconi pushes for it.)
And, yes, there’s stuff advertised as wine. Odd colors, some half-nekid babes on the bottles. Wine from all over, mostly from places that don’t make much. Every once in a while you see something with a serious label that comes from France or some such and you shake your head in wonderment. “Where the hell did they come across that?”
People at the Grocery Outlet ramble on endlessly over how much they’ve saved on the large, 144 unit economy pack of toilet tissue they’ve snagged. There is no doubt in my mind that they can’t do the math required to actually prove that they’re saving money. (Hint: that’s why there aren’t packs of 100 rolls!)
Italians don’t age their toilet paper. You get it when you need it. There’s one kind. It doesn’t have flowers on it.
There were giant packages of “brownie shooters” at the Grocery Outlet. They looked like little turds. Who would buy them? Perhaps the Gravy Train people. You could make quite a horrendous mess in the bathroom floor with that combo. No, listen, really: invite your friends over for a few gallons of fake lemonade (made from the [fresh! cheap!] pig urine contract farmers can’t get rid of due to those hideous laws the damn Democrats keep forcing on legitimate confinement operations so the nearby lakes don’t go all smelly and yellow [it’s just lemonade, stoopid!]) hinting that you’ve been feeling so unwell that there are times when you’re unable to find the toilet in time. You’d need most of the 144 rolls of toilet paper to clean your little joke up I suppose.
So, right on Grocery Outlet, you win! You give people the stuff they truly want and need! It fun! It’s educational! It’s…commerce at its industrial best!