Tag Archives: whole foods

Lame Adventure 210: Lightening Strikes Twice

I was in Tribeca walking down Greenwich Street en route to Whole Paycheck mindlessly thinking about whatever it was that I was mindlessly thinking about at that moment, probably the usual — food or sex or did I remember to turn off the iron.  As I was approaching the intersection at Greenwich and Warren Streets I suddenly saw the elusive Google Maps Street View car for the second time in less than two weeks.  Click here to read about my first encounter with this exciting vehicle.

The right place at the right time.

How likely is this second occurrence in the annals of pretty unlikely occurrences?  Could it be right up there with the time I found that ten-dollar bill in the lint trap at my laundromat?  Then, a few weeks later, I opened that lint trap again and found a twenty-dollar bill.  I don’t need to play the lottery.  I play the laundromat.

Last week, there was a penny on the floor.  I left it there for the employees.

Back to my second Google Maps Street View car sighting in less than two weeks,  I was frantically digging my mitt deep my into my satchel in search of my camera while praying to myself:

Me:  Please, please, please catch the light so I can get this shot!

Finally my recent bout of crummy karma lifted, the light turned red, and Mr. Google Maps Street View Car himself, a very nice guy named Ray (I asked him, “What’s your name?”) even acknowledged me.  How cool was that?

Hey Ray!

After I gave him my Lame Adventures card and he realized I was yet another harebrained blogger, the musical cue was probably comparable to the downbeat. If I see him driving around a third time, I’ll probably find myself arrested for stalking before I can ask him any questions about this gig.  Or, maybe he’ll just floor his accelerator and leave me standing in a cloud of Gotham City soot.

Lame Adventure 64: “Do you need a bag?”

Wednesday, when I returned from my much too brief West Coast escape to my exalted position of low reward as floor and wall tile sample emissary between my boss, Elsbeth, and sidekick, Greg, I noticed that I was running low on breakfast cereal.  A week earlier Elsbeth and I locked horns over my eating my cereal during the ten o’clock hour instead of the usual nine o’clock hour, the hour before she enters the premises.  The conversation went as follows; Elsbeth is in her office and I am sitting at my desk situated outside her open door.

Elsbeth (bellowing):  Can you come in here?

Me (mouth full of organic wheat carbuncles):  No.

Elsbeth (dumbfounded):  What?

Me (mouth still full):  You heard me.

Elsbeth (insistent):  Come in here!

Me (chewing):  Is this an emergency?

Elsbeth (demanding):  I need you in here!

Me (slurping milk):  Hold on.

Elsbeth (breaking point):  Why?

I finish my breakfast and enter Elsbeth’s office with my ever-ready notepad.  Her hair looks electrified.

Me:  I was eating my cereal.

Elsbeth:  So?

Me:  There’s only a two minute window between crispy and mush.

It’s so exasperating having to explain the fact of cereal eating to Elsbeth, but her ideal desk-breakfast, the kind she usually denies herself due to staggering calorie content, is a bagel with cream cheese, an egg sandwich, or possibly her favorite indulgence, a sugary, buttery and flaky pastry.  I have never seen her spoon anything floating in milk ever.

Elsbeth:  You should have eaten your cereal earlier.

Me:  I couldn’t.  I was taking care of all the things you told me you needed done “first thing” this morning.  I had to delay eating my cereal.

I resist adding “because of you” but my superior knows exactly what I am thinking.   She also knows me well enough that she can hear the abacus inside my head calculating that for most of the 1,461 days that I’ve been sitting at that desk outside her door I have ingested my cereal by half past nine.

The cereal discussion concludes.

As for what it was that my Lord and Master wanted me to do with such urgency, it completely escapes my recollection.  It was not as remotely memorable to me as our sparring over my cup of organic wheat carbuncles, but I suppose that after 1,461 days of fulfilling floor and wall tile requests, they all start to blur a tad.

This week, when I return from my much too brief West Coast hiatus, Elsbeth is quite content to have me back in the fold.  For the two days that I have been absent, she has been unable to locate a box of tile color chips we received earlier in the month.  I walk over to her bookshelf, remove the box, and hand it to her.  She finds my powers of sample location in her lair remarkable.  I resist asking, “Can I go home now?”

Greg tips me off that although it is quite hot outdoors I will not suffer heat stroke since there is a welcome breeze.  Armed with this information, during my break, I decide to run my cereal errand.  Since it is warm, I travel light with only my i.d., some cash, and cell phone.  I traipse down to the Whole Foods in Tribeca that is near my office.

Once in the store, I pick up three organic bananas, and two boxes of cereal, items that are all I can carry without drop kicking anything.  I make a beeline to the express checkout, a little wary since there was that mishap the last time I was in the store when a fellow shopper failed to follow the rules and went to the wrong register wreaking a few moments of blood pressure raising havoc for me.  Fortunately, today I am in the company of Mensa shoppers.  Everyone has extraordinary powers of proceeding to the appropriate register without inciting any brouhaha.  When it is my turn to check out, I place my three items on the counter and have this exchange:

Clerk:  Do you need a bag?

Me (what I want to say):  How else do you expect me to carry all this stuff, on my head?

Me (what I do say):  Yes.

And I feel defensive about this response.

I understand the need to conserve and recycle, and I do conserve and recycle, but sometimes I think basic practicality is ignored.  On the other hand, I suspect that this line of dialogue has been programmed into this clerk, so even if I were purchasing ten boxes of cereal and nine bananas, he’d ask the same question.  Plus, many customers shop with their own bags, such as the ones that Whole Foods sells.  I would carry one of those bags if Whole Foods would pay me an endorsement fee.  Hm, one way to supplement my meager income.  If I were really thinking, or possessed a scintilla of the intellectual acuity of my fellow Mensa-member shoppers, I would have carried my own Whole Foods logo paper bag, possibly one of the many I’ve stuffed inside the storage locker at work.  Had I planned ahead, I would not be suffering a guilt trip now over saying yes to another paper bag.  Will I remember to bring my own bag the next time I do a cereal run?

Probably not.

Clearly, I’m ready for another, and much longer, vacation, or maybe I just need to do the truly unthinkable and eat a bagel for breakfast.  Then, when my boss bleats for me, I can immediately answer her call, and gift her desk with crumbs.

Lame Adventure 59: Intelligence Test

There is a Whole Foods, or as my sister, Dovima, prefers to call this market, Whole Paycheck, in Tribeca near my place of employ.  Since milk and the bananas I get – the ones that are called free range or possibly it’s whole trade – are priced the same as the Fairway near my apartment, I do not feel fleeced when I make these purchases during my lunchbreak.  Whenever I am in Whole Foods, I only buy what I set out to get, and therefore, I am a barnacle to my budget.  That is the only way I can afford to set a toe in this temple of gastronomy without agitating my acid reflux.

Whole Foods in Tribeca under cover of leafy trees.

The purchasing of two simple staples can easily be accomplished relatively quickly in the ever-evolving express checkout lanes.  Since this location’s inception, these checkout lanes have continually transformed.  Initially, there were two high definition TV screens for the two separate sections of registers, one section for registers 1 through 12 and the other for registers 13 through 24.  Inevitably, one section always moved faster than the other so the challenge was to determine which section that was.  Often, the faces bearing the more miserable expressions were a good indicator, but in New York, you cannot always rely on the disgruntled look since some people just naturally appear that way.  Specifically, I’m thinking about my millionaire landlady, Iris O’Gougely, but I digress …

In recent months, Whole Foods in Tribeca has switched to a more egalitarian one monitor for all registers approach.  How this works is there are now five color-coded lanes with big white arrows pointing downward, a simple way of communicating to customers where they should stand and wait their turn to go to a register while watching the screen above.

Stand under the arrows.

The monitor’s screen now has five fat stripes, the same color as each color in each lane.

Screen with five fat stripes.

Customers stand in the lanes, and as registers become open, a number appears in the color of the corresponding lane’s stripe showing the open register’s number.   A pleasant female voice simultaneously announces that number.  Working from left to right, the next open register then proceeds to the next lane’s stripe color.

This system is working with precision efficiency as customers follow instructions and go directly to the registers corresponding to their lanes.  Unfortunately, the system breaks down when I take my place in the yellow lane, a lane that is between the blue and green lanes.  In the blue lane to my left, stands my fellow customer, a jughead that I call Mr. Blue.  Up on the monitor, in Mr. Blue’s blue stripe, appears the number 12.  For added emphasis, the voice announces, “Register 12.”  A second or two later, in my yellow lane’s yellow stripe, appears the number 7, and the voice announces, “Register 7.”  As I am walking toward Register 7, I slam on the brakes for I see that Mr. Blue, who was supposed to head to Register 12, coincidentally the register closest to where he was standing and waiting, has gone to Register 7 instead.

Meanwhile, just as I am back-peddaling to Mr. Blue’s register, Register 12, I hear the voice announce, “Register 8.”  The customer in the green lane who is supposed to go to that register is Ms. Green, a woman wearing a hat that resembles a birdcage crossbred with an inverted garbage can.  She steps up to Register 12 instead.  As order briefly freefalls into chaos, I lose the ability to hide my frustration feeling sandwiched between dolts.  I morph into Darth Vader, emit a deep breathy groan, and flash Ms. Green the hairy eyeball.  She giggles, “I think I’m supposed to go to 8!”  She makes a fast exit in Register 8’s direction.  I resist suggesting in her wake, “Give the finger to Mr. Blue at Register 7 for me.”

I hope that Mr. or Ms. Red found their way to Register 12.