Thursday, February 11, 2016

Going to the Trader Joe's on 6th and 21st right after work is not something to look forward to, especially on a Thursday. As amazing as Trader Joe's fair prices for good products are, along with their really great employees, dealing with the constant crowds just isn't worth it sometimes. But today is different, and even the sea of baskets and carts everywhere filled to a Thursday night level can't be avoided. People in every aisle shop and weave. Some are trying to hustle and keep it moving along, while others stand directly in front of the hummus to take their sweet ass time. The fact that they're blocking it all and making it hard for people to grab any hummus doesn't cross their minds. They contemplate without concern. Then the snaking end of the line beacons with a large sign held higher than everybody, and it happens to be right by the front entrance. Practically the whole store seems to be passed again from that point until checkout, and the queue winds through sections avoided earlier. There are areas and shelves that seem pretty much ransacked as well, only proving as a reminder of relief and gratitude. Shoppers go through a second cycle of everything like dejavu at the rate of the moving line, except eggs were not on the shopping list the first time. So the bare shelves that once held all the eggs seem off, with two random cartons remaining on the top left corner. The third and final carton is two rows below and impossible to miss. The shells of one dozen eggs, which appear totally fine, just sit there exposed with the top open. Even with people trying all around to grab a free sample or cut through, it's hard not to notice the three lonely cartons of eggs. Will they all find a good home?

But a completely different grocery shopping experience later in the night can still save the day. The most reasonable supermarket around the Financial District is on Fulton street. They close at midnight, so going to the store right before 10pm tonight felt cathartic. There were barely any people, and fully stocked shelves glowed with tranquility. Seeing the wall of greens and vegetables being misted with water helped reveal options while in the background of a jungle, or like a personal garden that's been sowed with love. It made buying bags and bags of it really satisfying, especially when an actual choice was presented at the cash registers. Two side-by-side were both open, and the conveyer belt that stood closer then started moving with a warm greeting from the cashier. The short walk home through quiet street backstreets with a backpack and tote full of produce was the perfect way to end the day.

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