Thursday, October 07, 2010


Trader Joe's on a Monday morning. It's the best time to go. Nobody's there. Well, except for the staff and a few underemployed (a.k.a. freelance) folk like myself. Shelves are stocked, aisles are clear, it's time to get shoppin'!

I'm perusing the peaches when a Trader Joe's employee guy in Hawaiian shirt greets me by cheerily asking "Is there anything I can help you find today?" I smile back and say "Nope, I'm all good."

I make my way toward the bread past two moms with strollers speaking in French and I grab a loaf of white bread. As I pass the French moms, I grab some tortillas for my burgeoning quesadilla habit and I notice the jam. Which makes me remember that I don't need any jam. See I've got a subscription to this jam called INNA jam that's super tasty and it keeps coming in the mail, which is a very good thing. But the boy Judah tends to eat it all up if I don't have any substitute jam for his PB&J sandwiches. And the foodie in me doesn't believe that a four year old has the taste buds to appreciate such a culinary treat.

So I reached up and grabbed a jar of Trader Joe's raspberry jam - which is stacked on top of each other - in the process knocking about four other jars sideways and toppling off the shelf. I propped my burly-ass forearms sideways and prevented what could have been one of the biggest Monday morning Trader Joe's fruit jar disasters in the history of California. Maybe in the entire United States for that matter. The French moms gasped and stopped talking in French for a second, stopped talking altogether. Disaster averted, the TJ's employee who greeted me earlier came by and asked "Are you allright?" I replied with the calmness of Don Draper: "Nothing broken. It's my lucky day." To which the employee replied "Let's keep it that way". Which was said it in a friendly tone, not a snarky one as I've come to expect in my jaded little Los Angeles existence.

Moving down the grocery list, I meandered toward the cereal section and picked up some maple & brown sugar oatmeal for Judah. The same employee walked up to me and asked "Is there anything I can help you find today?" I smiled back and said "Nope, I'm all good." I wasn't sure if he was messing with me or not, because he had a perfectly straight face on. But I couldn't see how he could possibly mistake one of the maybe five customers in the store he'd asked that question already. Especially one who almost sent the entire jam section tumbling to the floor.

As I headed toward the meats, I could hear the employee in the next aisle asking the same question over and over. "Is there anything I can help you find today?" The voice came closer. I thought for sure he would pass me by this time. I mean, hell, I was wearing a somewhat distinctive hat and I was the jam disaster guy in his eyes. But here he came again, right up to me with a straight face asking "Is there anything I can help you find today?" I smiled back and said "Nope, I'm good."

I figured I'd change my reply next time to see if that jolted him out of his little loop, but I think by entering the frozen section I finally made it out of his sector. Can't wait for next Monday morning.

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