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...


lindsay said...

Great post. I have lived in the Cape for 1.5 years and quickly became a fan of the produce clerks. I too hope they don't hide in the back!

Louise Z. said...

Shocked … that was my first reaction to the new scales at the registers in Graul’s this week.

I’ve been shopping at Graul’s for more than 38 years and I have seen a lot of transformation at the store over those 38 years but this one took me over the edge but I think I could handle this change.

I’ve seen them replace the old-fashioned registers with the “new then” scanning registers, a big deal at the time. I wasn’t sure I liked not hearing the ka-ching of the old-fashioned cash registers but I got used to them. I’ve watched them redecorate the store and move product lines around and I learned which aisles the items were moved to. I got used to that change.

I remember when the deli department was in a different part of the store. I remember when they added the new addition to the store where the bakery now stands. I remember when the old Graul’s sign on the front of the store was replaced with a new one. And of course, I’ve watched the many familiar faces at the register change over the past 38 years. That was always the hardest change to adjust to. I became friends with many of the wonderful people who rang up my groceries every day (yes, I am also at Graul’s just about every day) that left for greener pastures or just retired. I mean how much more change can I take but I managed to adjust to these, too .. you know “time marches on” “life doesn’t stand still.” Unlike my husband who hates change, I can embrace it ... eventually!

I can still have Donna or Don, et al. weigh my produce but, hey, this is a no brainer of a change I can take them to the register if I forget and I will no longer feel stupid for forgetting to weigh my items because I won’t be holding up the line anymore. This is a good change I think I can adjust to this, too!