This the grocery store of my heart -- no doubt you've heard me sing its praises before. I have a nearly unnatural love for it, a kind of love that might be illegal in the South.
Sure, they run out of stock from time to time (no couscous today? fine, I'll use grits). And their freezer case has been known to leak. They break out rolls of cheap paper towel rolls and line them up along the bottom to keep the floors dry.
But they're a little-engine-that-could kind of supermarket. An earnest underdog. A beloved cousin with a club foot.
I was recently there for a midweek, early-morning stock-up, and the manager remarked that I wasn't buying so much today. I told him as long as it was still warm, I was getting most of my produce at the farmer's market. "I'll pretend I didn't hear that," he said, smiling."
It's an amazing thing to be in a supermarket where the manager is both the guy who both greets you at the door and the one who worries whether volume is moving. It's not some suit in a corporate office fretting over the bottom line, but an actual guy, who greets you at the door and pitches in to bag your groceries during a rush.
And of course there's my favorite Produce stocker, who always offers a warm smile and a hearty hello -- asks me how I've been, wants to know in broken English if I need any help. It doesn't matter if I'm having the worst day of my life (too frequent these days) or walk in a bedraggled stinking mess after a jog. He makes me feel like my visit to the store matters to him.
Yesterday, when I noticed they were out of the milk I usually buy, I asked him if he expected a delivery later today. Yes, he told me, maybe later in the afternoon. "Ok, I'll come back," I said.
"You better," he said. "It's always a treat to see you."
You too, produce guy. You have no idea.