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A Tale of Two Krogers

Only known logo created across from a hotel window

I would like to preface this by saying I go to Kroger a lot. That doesn't mean once a week, or once every two or three days. That means I am there twenty-eight days a month. Twenty nine if it's a leap year. Don't ask me what I buy there. That's for me, and everyone who works at Kroger, to know.

Also, I am in the unique position of having three Krogers each within ten minutes of my house. So if I feel like mixing it up, that option is open to me. Mainly, though, I stick to the two closest. From a friend of mine who used to work at yet another Kroger (fifteen minutes away), I learned that one Kroger (let's call it Kroger A) is union and the other (Kroger B) is non-union. Now, I don't know what the difference is between a union and non-union shop, other than a lack of motivation and training, but there's something I can't quite figure out going on over at Kroger A's deli section.

The rest of Kroger A is fantastic. Everybody's smart, courteous, attractive; all that. The same can be said for Kroger B as well, except for maybe the attractive part. But we can't all be Tab Hunter, now can we?

But A's deli section is something completely different. It's like everyone working there is having their own private Requiem for a Dream. You can almost hear the Kronos Quartet playing as they run the slicer. One employee in particular, let's call her Ina Daze for the sake of amusement, really turns on the junkie charm.

I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm very good at estimation. I can judge distances, lengths of time, beans in a jar, all with relative non-Rain Man associated ease. I think it's partly due to the fact that I have a little ESP going on as well. Though I tend to believe ESP is a combination of having both a bad memory and strong sense of deja vu. In any event, my talent comes to the fore when dealing with Ms Daze.

You have to be one step ahead when dealing with her, because she is invariably one step behind. The dangerous part is that she knows it, and uses it to her advantage. For example, she's figured out quite quickly that cutting meat on the thickest setting results in her having to do less work. She has also ascertained that whenever anyone is asked, when shown a sample slice from a distance of six feet, they will invariably say that the thickness is fine. So presto! You now have a pound in ham cut into six Russian coal miner-portioned sizes.

So that's how you say "I'll suck your dick!" in Ancient Greek

And if snappy repartee is what you're after, look no further than her glazed eyes and corpse-like countenance. You can almost hear the echo in her ears when the wind picks up. You know, the strong breeze found inside Kroger. She will delight you with disinterested mumbles which make you wish for a sort of crackhead Rosetta Stone, that you might understand her powder-coated wisdom.

It cannot be unseen!

She could perhaps be put to better use as an acid test for immigrants wishing to be US citizens. Carry her around in the back of a truck which patrols the Mexican border. If they catch someone sneaking over, let them spend half an hour with Lady Junksick and if they haven't decided maybe they really were better off in Mexico, make them citizens right there on the spot. It doesn't get any easier than that!

I really want to complain about her, too, but what can you say? "Oh excuse me, manager, your associate over in the deli section seems to have a severe substance abuse problem. You think you could talk to her?" Meanwhile he flinches when you say "deli section" and obsessively fingers a six-inch scar down his left cheek.

No, there isn't much recourse in this situation. You know, except maybe get my meats and cheeses exclusively from Kroger B where they guy is insanely thorough and right-on with the deli action. But what's the challenge in that?

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Copyright © 2005-2013 Graham Cranfield