Twenty-Four Hour Grocery Stores

As someone who is by nature somewhat nocturnal, I appreciate that some (very few) businesses stay open twenty-four hours a day. Gas stations and restaurants I can understand. Grocery stores I’ve always been a bit skeptical about. I mean, who goes grocery shopping in the middle of the night?

Well, me, apparently.

So, it was ten-something at night, and I wanted some dried fruit, but didn’t have any. Wait until morning, and maybe pick some up on the way to work? Hah, I’m unemployed now, I can go shopping whenever I feel like it.

I threw on a coat and headed off to the grocery store, on foot, in the sinister and eldrich gloom of the night.

By the time I got to the grocery store, it was after eleven. Surprisingly, it was fairly busy. Well, if by “busy” you mean “had a lot of people in it”, at any rate. Old retired people moving down the aisles at a rate of about a hundred feet an hour, entire families shopping… a guy carrying on a conversation with a milk cooler. A kind of cute goth-looking chick counting out bulk candy into a bag, one piece at a time. A young couple having a heated argument about what movie to get from the rental machine.

Some pretty colorful characters, by and large.

Unfortunately there were only two cashiers – one who was lurching like a zombie, and one who seemed to feel that carrying on long conversations with customers was more important than actually ringing them up, and who wasn’t afraid to discuss hot-button issues like politics or food prices. And, phew, some of the old folks, they have Views about food prices, let me tell you. Yikes! So, you know, it took almost as long to get through the queue as it did to walk to the grocery store in the first place.

But, you know, I didn’t really mind, and neither did anyone else in line, as far as I could tell. Apparently you don’t go grocery shopping in the middle of the night for fast service, or anything like that. No, you do it for the experience, the cheap entertainment, the sense of comraderie and companionship.

I’m not sure it was a great experience, all told, but at least I now know what it’s like to wander the aisles of a grocery store filled with a combination of crazy people and hyperactive children. I wonder if that’ll look good on my resume? 🙂

Tonight, I’m torn between trying to find a bar that does karaoke, and covering some David Bowie songs, or finding an all-night diner and striking up random conversations with half-drunk rednecks. I think I’m really taking to this unemployment thing; wish me luck!

Published in: General | on November 3rd, 2010| Comments Off on Twenty-Four Hour Grocery Stores

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