When I only went to town once a week and bought the full grocery supply, teenage packing clerks insisted on carrying the bags to the parking lot and installing them in my vehicle. I’d keep a $5 bill handy to tip them, knowing that they rarely receive tips and that it would make them feel good. This in turn made me feel like a million bucks, a worthy investment at only $20 a month.
When I changed jobs and began working in town three days a week, my shopping habits changed. I stopped at the store more often, bought fewer groceries at one time, and easily carried my own bags to the vehicle.
Now that I’m only going to town once a week and my helpers are back at it once more, I’m stocking up on $5 bills again.
If only those eager kids could accompany me to the farm and carry all those bags into the house. That is the only part of grocery shopping that I don’t like. I enjoy pulling the cart-on-wheels down every aisle and choosing what we need. I enjoy chatting with people perusing the shelves and in the checkout line. I’m happy once the groceries are in the house and I’m putting them all away. But those four or five trips between house and vehicle with a full load hanging off each arm … I hate that part, even in the summer when I can park right next to the step. Right now the distance is two or three times the length of most city driveways.
It makes me miss the years when Everett lived at home and was my packhorse. He even liked putting the groceries away. The part he hated was when he accompanied me to the store and would have to stand waiting, hands on the shopping cart handle, while I visited in the aisles with acquaintances. And there were many, because you always see several people you know well enough to want to talk to for a bit. Around here there’s no such thing as a quick trip to the grocery store or anywhere else. Even if you disguised yourself, all the friendly folks would still talk to you.