I shop at a “Low Price Leader” grocery store, and I love going there. You can see the world at WinCo—people with very limited means, the well-off wanting to save a buck, people from many countries and ethnicities, and the in-between folks like me. I’ve shopped there long enough to have made great in-store relationships with many of the long-term employees and I look forward to seeing them when I go to the store.
I have experienced some really fine, life affirming moments at Winco. A few times I’ve been able to quickly and quietly help someone who was in immediate need, and other times people have said something to me that either made my day or put a beautiful balm in a sore place in my heart. Tanya, who works in the deli reminds me every now and again that, “You look just like a movie star—you know, that one in Waking Ned Devine.” Seriously, a movie star? She’s the only one who thinks so, but it makes me smile every time.
Being a student of people and a lover of words it’s no surprise that one of my top shopping thrills is to I find a grocery list that someone left behind. Last week I made a quick after-work stop at WinCo and as I walked through the entry I tugged at the front of the next available grocery cart and was surprised with a slightly crumpled piece of paper taped to the handle of the cart.
I love that this piece of paper was so purposefully put where it would be most useful. This person had practice, years of practice. (How many people take tape to the grocery store?) Not only were there groceries to buy there was also a list of things to do, and with the completion of their shopping trip washing the car would be the only thing left to do. The words on this piece of paper show many good things about this person. Without knowing anything about life details we see someone who is organized and methodical, someone who takes pride in their home and belongings, and someone who has a well-developed work ethic. And, someone who might well be preparing for a BBQ in their backyard.
The thing about the grocery store is that the act of gathering food, for survival or celebration is a common denominator of humankind It is a task of dignity and care.