The Friendliest Store in Town

I must report my failure in this year’s Little Drummer Boy challenge. I heard the song. It is a silly game that I subscribe to, where one strives to not hear that song in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is played on the honor system, and I won it last year. This year, I was almost out of the grocery store, one of my main danger points, when I heard it. I heard it. One of the store’s employees who regularly specializes in customer outreach demos was dressed as Mrs. Claus. She was greeting customers and had her own little boom box, and that box played the song. This game began as a hipster challenge that I have adopted, but now I am wondering about its efficacy. Trying to win steers me away from the seasonal music, which I really do love. Now, with more than a week to go, I can freely listen to all those carols.

I have been to the store twice since that encounter. Both times it has been very crowded. As it turns out our local grocery store is the busiest in the entire metropolitan area. This all comes down to location. Forty plus years ago, when we first moved to town, this store did not even exist, at least not at its current location. A much smaller member of the chain held sway and served all our grocery needs. Eventually, the current “new” store was built, and the old store torn down. It has stood there as a beacon for many years. Shining out over the food desert that is the City of Saint Louis. Being such an outpost, it serves a diverse cliental, which is only made more so, when you throw into the mix all the nearby college students.

Normally, our grocery store is up to the task of serving our community, but now, so near the crescendo of the holiday season it is struggling to cope. Yesterday, the line for checkout stretched to the back of the store. Today, the line went to the back, turned right, and headed off to the store’s far corner, or halfway around the store. I do not think that the line can get any longer, because all the shopping carts were is use at the time. People were waiting for other shoppers to give up their carts, after they had loaded their cars. It took me half-an-hour to go through that line. I did not mind though, because there was a very friendly camaraderie among the shoppers waiting in line. I am glad that it is done though.


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