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The Supermarket

The supermarket is a supreme example of things that annoy me. First you go in and grab a cart which always has the alignment problem. Walking down the meat aisle you suddenly find that your cart has a magnetic attraction to the condiments section of the aisle. Somehow now you have to plan your shopping around the magnetic shift of the planet. It becomes painfully obvious why there's an aurora borealis in the deli section. That's why the supermarket is a mysterious and magical place. You can witness the effects of nature while purchasing fresh meat and produce. But the cart is the least of the mysteries.

Ever notice that at least twice a year they (I don't know who, probably related to the Kebler elves) change the complete shelving alignment of the store? It's as if there were part duck in the shelves. Every six months they migrate farther than the average Canadian Moose. Nothing is where you thought it was and don't expect them ever to be, well, except every 78 years when the cycle somehow interacts with the sighting of Hailey's Comet. Now you have to consult your Farmer's Almanac in order to find the placement of the frozen peas. This is the real reason for the rise of science. Ptolemy was really just a stock clerk who mastered the sorting of new stock.

While Ptolemy might have been a stock clerk at one time, the current crop are far from the Galilean gene pool. Most of them are recently promoted cart gatherers which, by necessity, remains it's own distinct subculture. When these special few who make it inside the building are given the power of price, you have to be wary. They weild their guns with the efficiency and valor of a government worker near quitting time. Of course, that's if they decide to use the technology entrusted to them. If you find a price on something today you're luckier than a lost Bedouin finding a mythic oasis in the middle of the south Sahara.

But while Copernicus is stuck with his antiquated technology, the shopper is coming into more and more new gadgets. Look at the modern cart. The first in the progression was the ad box in front of the cart which acted more like a sail in aiding the wheeled storage container to seek out new, undented vehicles in the parking lot. Now this is being replaced by the new computerized version of the same. While negotiating the often strange lanes we are bombarded by commercials for the next 'New and Improved' innovasion. As if wrestling the cart with its added twenty pounds of weight isn't enough, we now have to peruse the information superhighway while comparsion shopping the cantalope.

Lastly, there's that dazzling technology that everyone is familiar with - the laser scanner. Finally, we too can pretend we have 'The Force' while buying "The Star' magazine. On the likely chance that your eye will be intersected with the ruby light you will see the glowing image of Obi-Wan Kenobi graven into your sight like the sun when you stare at it for too long.

The fun part is when you become part of a World War II reenactment after you're done loading the car with your bags. You get to bring your cart to the cart concentration camp and chain it to it's brothers for just a quarter. Who else but the supermarket could make your visit both annoying and poignantly educational?


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