By: Ann Brown
As of this morning, I am a Very Valued Customer at Safeway Market. An assistant manager came out of her cubicle to tell me so. She congratulated me and gave me her work cell phone number and her business card. Which has only her first name and her work cell phone number on it.
“This is so you can reach me any time,” she told me.
“Really?” I asked, “Any time?” Sweet. I could use someone to take Phila to the vet next week.
She could not have been more earnest when she said, “Yes. Anytime I am in the store.”
So I waited a few minutes and then called her from the baking aisle.
“Hello,” I said, “this is Very Valued Customer Ann Brown. I was wondering if you had any turbinado sugar.”
I didn’t need turbinado sugar. I mostly use Splenda. I was just fucking with her, of course. But also, I wanted her to think that I was the kind of wholesome eating person who – if compelled to use sugar at all, say, if I was all out of organic agave – would choose turbinado. These kinds of things are very important to me. I define myself by the contents of my shopping cart.
Which is why I either send Robin to the market or I shop outside my ‘hood when I want to buy cookie dough or Fritos. Or Monistat Ultra.
I really don’t know why I bother, however. I mean, have you taken a good look at what people buy? You know, all of us whose carts are filled with coconut probiotic water and shade-grown no pesticide yam sprouts and quinoa? We do not look so hot. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but it’s true. We look kinda wan. And jiggly. And our hair just sort of sits there. And we are always tired and complaining.
And the gorgeous, thin, energetic, white-toothed, luxuriously- maned specimens of health? They are guzzling a Trenta quadruple caffeine mocha while piling mini marshmallows and bologna in their carts. What the fuck.
The answer, of course, is that all the preservatives are keeping them young and beautiful. Duh. Man, were the rest of us hippie Birkenstock crunch eaters all sold a bag of horseshit or what? Paying forty dollars for cold pressed pomegranate juice at the wood-paneled, hemp basketed foode shoppe, and my lifeless hair is falling out. I may as well shop the shit at Walmart.
As you may recall, I recently wrote about a Walmart going up in my neighborhood. And, as promised, I have not stepped foot inside of it. Although I was tempted two weeks ago when I was alone and out of ice and my broken finger made it impossible for me to hook the hooks of my bra so I had to just wear it unhooked; you know, straps draped over my shoulders and cups hanging in front of my boobs like a thin, greying lace curtain ill-containing a pair of unruly ferrets behind it.
I was prime Walmart material.
But I am defined by my grandiose token acts of political rebellion (and my shopping cart) so I did not go. I stayed home and carried on without the bag of ice. I had a rum and coke NEAT. What I will not do for the Revolution.
It’s too bad I was not a Very Valued Customer two weeks ago. I could have called the assistant manager and asked her to deliver a bag of ice to me.
And when she got here, I would make her hook my bra.