Saturday, November 13, 2010

Small Town FTW

Eeek!  The day's almost over and I almost forgot to blog again!

I have to say it's only been a few days, but I am so loving being in a small town again.

We took Mosely to the St. Marys Santa Claus Parade last night.  It was his first parade, and he did alright!  Of course he did some typical Mosely whining, whimpering and "singing" along with all the sirens, but I think he had a good time.  He especially enjoyed the Shriners looping around in their tiny cars.  It was a good time and it reminded me of parades gone by in other small towns.  Parents waved from the streets as their children marched, danced or "floated" by.  People jumped out of the parade to say hi to friends on the street, and a few randoms joined the parade to do the same.  And even though we knew no one, people said hi, petted Mosely and treated us like - well, neighbours.  It was great. 

Those of you who know me very well may have heard me lament about my pet peeve with grocery stores.  I really feel the grocery store industry did a huge disservice to the economy, consumers and society in general when they did away with the bag boy.  You know, that nice young man who used to put your groceries in the bags and then help you take them out to your car?  He had a system for putting the items in the bags -- he didn't just throw them in there!  It was like a strategic game of tetris (which I should add I've been playing a lot of lately).  Everything had to fit perfectly without making the bags too heavy or damaging any of the merchandise.  When the bag boys were let go this task was left to the cashiers, but they didn't have the skill or know-how to pack bags -- and they certainly can't help you get your stuff to the car.  Now it seems the consumer is most often responsible for bagging his or her own groceries.  What a pain in the arse!

Today I went to the local big-box grocery store, McDonald's Independent, which is just like a Super Store.  My first pleasant surprise was being able to park near the entrance on a Saturday afternoon, but that small delight was dwarfed by my elation at seeing extra staff at the check outs whose specific duty was to assist in the bagging of groceries!  There were about three cashiers on duty, plus this extra gentleman who seemed to be helping out with older customers.  I wondered if he would help them to their cars if asked.  True, I didn't personally benefit from the presence of this bagging professional, but my cashier did an excellent job helping me pack my groceries.  She put boxes with boxes, fruit with fruit and handed me the eggs to carry out.  Just to compare, at my grocery store in London I usually get the cashier with the deep smoker's voice and the only words she ever says to me are "Cart or pick up?" as she hastily throws laundry detergent in the bag with bread and grapes.

As with any small town though, there are downsides.  In the short time we've been here I've already seen at least 4 NASCAR jackets.  Not run of the mill driver fan gear either -- I saw one for Hendrick's Motor Sports, one for Dupont with a 24 and one for Office Depot with a 14 on the sleeve.  These are serious fans.  Hopefully I can avoid them.

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