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Changes Not Permanent, But Change Is
Somehow I’ve gotten the reputation of being change-averse. Nonsense. Sure, I’ve driven the same truck for 16 years. Sure, I’m working by the light of a cowboy lamp I’ve had since I was 5. Sure, I complained for three years after “WKRP in Cincinnati” went off the air. But all that aside, I think I’ve really done a pretty good job dealing with the twists, turns and unexpected jolts offered up by Modern American Life.
Until now, I mean.
My grocery store is being remodeled.
You can’t imagine how upsetting this is.
Well, maybe you can. After all, grocery stores are like little cities, with streets and neighborhoods and shops (deli, floral, tobacco, pharmacy) and even casinos (the lotto machines.)
And so you visit this city – well, I do, anyway – by organizing an itinerary, your grocery list, with a route in mind: First to the produce, then we’ll swing by the meat, up the canned vegetable aisle, down the soups and juices, hang a left, go up cereals to the breads… you get the picture. The layout becomes second nature to you, and before long, you know the grocery neighborhoods as well as you know your own. Maybe better.
And then, just about the time you could do your shopping blindfolded (except that with a blindfold on you couldn’t see if they were having a sale on Twinkies or Cheetos or other staples) they decide to remodel, just to cross you up.
That’s the reason they do these things, you know. Oh, sure, they give you some song and dance about new owners who decided the place needed some sprucing up, a bunch of new products and a better use of existing space. But we know that they really wanted to see if they could get you to spend an entire hour looking for the pretzels while they hid behind a two-way mirror, snickering: “Look! Look! He turned around and now he’s headed back toward the laundry detergent!”
Of course, I’m not the only one lost in the wilderness, also known as the former snacks and crackers aisle. The place is filled with shoppers who do not know which way to turn in their quests for salami, cheese and a big bottle of root beer. We’re all out there backtracking, criss-crossing and pushing our carts in circles (“Hey, didn’t we go past the hot sauce three times alread”).
It’s interesting to note that we’re staying true to form gender-wise. Men are, as usual, refusing to ask for directions, while women are looking for employees to flag down so they can ask where the marshmallows are hiding.
(Depending on the time of day and the level of construction work going on at the moment, the answer may be “Over there by the canned tuna” or “I don’t know! I don’t know where anything is anymore!” Which is kind of disturbing to hear from the store manager.)
Now someone who is change-averse is in trouble here. The store is changing, and he or she wouldn’t like that. The obvious solution would be to go to another grocery store, but if you’re change-averse that’s easier said than done. So what’s to do?
You hold on, allow about double the usual time for shopping, and wait for the day when the new layout becomes as familiar to you as the old one. It shouldn’t take more than three or four years. At which time they’ll probably need to remodel again.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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