Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tipping the Scales of Progress and Produce
I was in Graul's earlier this week for one of my daily visits. You could say that I'm a poor menu planner and kitchen provisioner, but I prefer to view my frequent trips to Graul's as the European approach to grocery shopping. Not buying it? Neither does my family, but that's just how I roll.
At any rate, as I made my first daily pass through the produce area, my pal, Ron, greeted me as he weighed my bag of shallots (ooh - sounds really haute cuisine-ish, huh? - just an ingredient from the latest quick recipe ripped from the pages of Real Simple magazine - recipes that always leave my family starving). He informed me that in a few weeks, Graul's will finally install produce scales at the checkout, and we will no longer have to have our produce weighed by the guys and Donna in the produce area.
I was surprised to find myself taken aback by this news. When I first started shopping at Graul's over eighteen years ago, I made the standard newbie error of not getting my produce weighed before checkout, not just once but over and over. Even after I got the hang of it, there were many times when the kids were little that I missed weighing something in the mad rush to get in and out before one of the little angels destroyed a shopping aisle or threw a world class tantrum. The folks at checkout would always patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) take the unweighed item over to produce to remedy my blunder.
Over the years, I have fallen into a comfortable routine of starting my shopping in produce, having a chat with Ron or Pat or Donna as they weigh my apples or broccoli, and discussing the current evening's dinner experiment with them. At checkout, I occasionally find myself behind someone new to the Cape or a visitor who does not know the drill, and I always feel just slightly superior to be an established "local" with my produce already weighed and labelled. The process that vexed me so in my early Cape days has become one of those unique Cape experiences to which I've adapted and even come to embrace.
Well, there's no stopping progress, even at Graul's. Ready or not, they are busting into the... late... 20th... century...? with produce scales at the checkout counter. Who'd have thunk! No more can we munch on our grapes as we shop, safe in the knowledge that they've already been weighed and priced so it's not really stealing. What will be next? Self checkout? Dear God, please no...
I guess progress is a good thing, but it makes me a little sad. I will miss Donna and her crew manning their posts at the scales as I pass through (sometimes two and three times a day...). I hope they will still find tasks to do out in the open so I can continue to bat around my dinner plans, but it won't be the same. I may have to pay them a visit in the back room, although I'm not entirely sure I want to know what goes on back there...