These words are for your children and your children's children. I was finishing off my $200 Whole Foods gift certificate splurge (lasted 2 weekends!), and the late 20-something cashier, whose beard clearly had a college education, put the frozen shrimp on top of the bananas in the grocery bag (this not a euphemism). Vexed am I when this transgression occurs, and I cannot sit idly by, especially... when I have the rare privilege of acquiring a premium-priced Whole Foods banana, which uses white people in the supply chain.
Me: "You know frozen stuff bruises bananas, right?"
He, defensively: "I didn't want to smash the vegetable rolls."
Now, I could have responded to his “I couldn’t have kicked your dog because I was busy knifing your cat" defense, but this was not a confrontation. I just didn’t want my bananas to be chrisbrowned.
A little about me, your internet neighbor kid. I’ve worked many customer service jobs--as a teenager, in my 20s, in my 30s. We all have, we all do. Important to this less-than-worthwhile use of words is that I worked at grocery stores for 4 years. In fact, my first job was bagging groceries and taking them to people's cars (wearing a tie, Wisconsin winters, no tips, uphill both ways, etc.) Some of my internet neighbors here did the same. We had to have off-the-floor training prior to ever touching a customer's groceries (again, not a euphemism). We were timed. Although plastic killed the paper-bagging star, there was (and still is) technique. Your attention span here is limited, so here are the absolute basics: (1) Don't squash stuff. (2) Don't make it too heavy. (3) Don't put bananas with frozen stuff.
Although the third might not be intuitive like the first two, I'll assume life experience, or your grandmother, has taught this to many of you. However, this well-kept gentleputz’s repeal of bananacare is not the bone that I pick; it is said reaction to mentioned situation. And this is the reason for which my mental fountain pen leaks this day. I have the same reaction to bad customer service as I do for lactose. I can take it, but sometimes it causes a stink. The correct response by this Wholeass would be “I didn’t know that. Sorry. Thanks!" or “Oops, sorry!” Clearly I must have been talking down to him and I have no idea that he and his beard are only between jobs before he gets his master’s degree in Pitchfork history. But I also know that he'll never put the bananas next to frozen food again, because he craves knowledge of insignificant things. Like the fact that frozen stuff bruises bananas.
Note: These words are not for your children's children's children, for they shall have no frozen food items in the encampments.
Comedian Paul Thomas’s satiric mind emerged from the pandemic unbowed, leading to Intimate and Appropriate, an incisive collection of scenes steeped in the selfie-righteousness of a country that has lost its mind. With grounded characters and the logic of an ancient Midwestern philosopher, Thomas delicately stomps through the “mine” field of identity, language, and recycle bins, putting a hall of mirrors up to a narcisstocracy that kinda seems to wanna offend itself.
DECEMBER 8th and 9th 8PM
The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.
(Wicker Park) Chicago