It was Sunday morning and armed with an eclectic list of ingredients for dinner I ventured out. My shopping had to centre around the bulk food store because I needed a tablespoon of a few different spices that I didn’t have in my cupboard. I was making veggie burgers and baked fries with humus for movie night with the family.
I got what I needed from the bulk store and with only 3 ingredients left, I went into the grocery store in the same plaza. I hardly ever go into this store. It’s nice enough I guess but I always get this sense that people are simply working there, but no one is really interested in the food. I’m sure you know a few of these giant places.
I picked up the one jalapeno pepper I needed and the multi-grain flat bread buns and went searching of tahini paste. Couldn’t find it so I approached 2 ladies who were engaged in what looked like a serious conversation about someone’s brother – not sure but that’s all I got before I decided to interrupt.
I asked for tahini paste and their looks went vacant – I hate food stores where the people who are employed to help you with food purchases, know nothing about food! Ok, maybe tahini paste is a stretch – nawwww. She replied by asking, “what, Tahiti?” She looked at the other girl and asked, “do we have any Tahiti?” The other girl replied, “oh, tzatziki? Yes, it’s over there.” The first girl turned and began walking in the direction of the other girls pointed finger – but I stood my ground.
Why is it that grocery store clerks who have no idea what you’re talking about would rather walk you around a football field-size grocery store in search of what – they don’t even know! Instead of learning about the products they’re paid to help you with? It boggles my mind in so many ways. So you know the drill, they smile, instruct you to follow them, turn and walk away with no idea what the end goal will be! But they’re sure if they show you Tahiti or tzatziki you will somehow be happy! In fact, the girl, who I’m guessing is in her late 20’s didn’t even know Tahiti is an island – and not edible!
So there I was standing my ground, refusing to budge, refusing to be lead one more time through the maze of a small city. Perhaps she thought I needed some exercise. Not sure if that would have been a compliment or insult. But what she didn’t know was that I’d just come from the gym. I didn’t need any more exercise that day.
Then I noticed what looked liked a manager – or shall I say he looked like a better prospect for my question. He was in the produce section. I walked over to him and asked for tahini paste and he tells me they just don’t sell it any longer, “not enough demand” he said. Well I guess not, if the staff thinks it’s Tahiti or tzatziki. Imagine that, those much needed jars of tahini paste just sat on their shelves collecting dust.
“Hey”, the manager goes on in a friendly manner, “someone came in asking for that just yesterday.” Well, that restored my faith in grocery shoppers. People do use tahini paste and they do ask for it. The reason sales were down in this store was because their own staff killed it with ignorance. Shall I tell him? No, I figured his problems were much greater than what could be solved with a simple discussion on geography, and ethnic foods.
So I took my pepper and buns to the cash register and paid. As I was picking up my bag the woman behind me asked the cashier for gladiolas. “I didn’t see any and I know you have them on sale”, she explained. To my surprise, there was that vacant look again. The manager just happened to be close by and he said, “sorry but we won’t have any more until Tuesday”. The cashier, now with a smile of relief laughed, “well I’m glad he was here. I didn’t know what they were. But they sound good. I’ll have to try them”.