I'm a creature of habit. I have a routine that I follow every morning. I drive the same roads to school. I have a few key places that I patronize. So when I found out that my favorite grocery market closed today, I was completely out of sorts. No notice, no warnings. How did this happen? I was there on Monday. You'd think they'd let me know. They asked about my daughters. They never told me the store was changing ownership, that it was turning into an AM/PM Mini Market, and they'd be out of a job in a few days. No more busty Russian lady ringing me up. No more Texas Holdem wanna-be poker player trying to sell me overpriced beef.
I have been going to this local market for almost 3 years. It was like Cheers only in grocery store form. It was a privately owned, mom and pop shop, where everyone knew your name, and you could purchase your items on credit. Sure, it was a little more expensive, but if you opened an account, you automatically received a 10% discount, which made the prices comparable to the larger grocery stores. At the end of the month they charged your credit card ~ after the 1st you could go in and ask for your receipt. No muss, no fuss.
As we can't ship our opened food items to India, we're trying to use up everything in our fridge, freezer, and pantry. I'm attempting to go to the store as little as possible, only replenishing dairy, drinks, fruits and vegetables. When we get to the point where we only have enough food to make a tamarind sauce and wasabi mustard sandwich (hold the sandwich), I know it's time to go to the market. Today was one of those days.
I left the house about an hour before I had to pick up the girls from preschool. I needed to buy a few things for dinner. Of course I didn't bring my wallet. Why would I? They know me, more importantly, they know my account number by heart. There wasn't any parking in front of the market, so I circled the block and ended up parking on the sidewalk across the street from the market. No worries. They know me. They know my car. The store was closed, so I walked up and looked into the window. There were a few people inside, frantically cleaning and re-organizing the store. There was a sign on the window in Hebrew that said the store would re-open after 16:00 today. Judging from the mess inside, I didn't believe it was possible.
I had to go to another grocery store. I had to swing by the house to pick up my wallet first. I got stuck in traffic on the newly designed one-way streets. It took me over 45 minutes to traverse the aisles, the people, and check-out. The kid ringing me up didn't even bother to help me bag my groceries. I was late picking up the girls from preschool. What a hassle.
Before you think that I'm waxing sentimental about the demise of the mom and pop neighborhood market, let me be clear, not really... just the inconvenience of it all. In 35 days I'll be pushing my Buick sized, bright red shopping cart through congested allies, in search of my palettes of Charmin and Cherokee brand children's clothing. Found all under the same roof at my neighborhood Super Target.