Grocery stores are interesting places.
Places where incredibly powerful psychology is used to defy logic and engage the limbic system in both overt and covert ways.
Where these persuasive forces are used to shape the end results of what fills up your shopping cart – the extra bag of chips, the bonus box of cookies, the 3 for 1 deals which make no sense, but it’s a deal.
My grocery store is no different.
Like casinos, they have it down to an art. Brightly lit. Recently renovated. Fresh and clean. Eyes in the sky and secret security. They have it all.
However, what Big Grocery doesn’t know is that sometimes, there are people who can’t handle that much stimulus, who can’t synthesize that much information without falling into the dreaded GSD – grocery store daze.
These folks are so overcome with all the sale price stickers and the coupon savings that they wander like zombies, zoned out. Instead of aimlessly putting all good deals into their carts, they meander the aisles, lost and confused, diabetic one might say, filled by an unknown hunger, starvation in the midst of plenty. Looking for that something they don’t quite know, on the edge, so close to being released from the exquisite craving, from attaining satisfaction – of which they can’t have no.
My recent trip was no different.
I knew better than to attempt grocery while hungry, this is akin to driving post drinks. One simply does not do this. Ever. It’s not worth the risk. To others. Or to self.
So with full belly I arrived. Within moments of crossing the threshold, I could see the glazed eyes and listless faces of the cart pushers all around me. It appeared as though an endemic had struck, confined to within those walls. They were everywhere.
With averted gaze, and little basket in hand, I quickly sought out the perimeter where it was usually safer.
Not this time. Big Grocery had caught on. They had moved some of the inner displays to the outer edges, to woo and persuade those of us who attempted what I had just done, the Venus fly trap coated with succulent treats and delights. Also Oreo cookies, on sale.
It was in this perimeter excursion, with new perimeter displays taking up space, that I saw a gentleman, his vacuous eyes staring without seeing, seemingly afflicted with GSD, implode a massive double-sided display case of big nuts by crashing into it with his shopping cart. Dozens of containers of perfectly seasoned nuts tumbled to the ground, and within the deafening clatter, it was as though I could hear them say they were alone now. Spread all over the grocery store aisle.
The man, released from the nefarious, piercing tentacles of GSD, startled by the clatter and now woke, looked around sheepishly as grade AAA beefy store security came rushing in, tactical combat boots replete with tell-tale Vibram soles thudding quietly against the polished floors, and he said to them apologetically before they tazed him:
“I guess I should be more careful around your nuts.”