What’s the exciting thing about buying groceries and other stuff at the supermarket? Well, you’d be restocking your fridge with food- real food and junk food alike- for the next week or two. Maybe buy new batteries for your Bluetooth headset, keyboard, mouse, and other electronics, some new magazines, toys, milk, and diapers- anything. You buy two to three weeks worth of provision, whatever is enough to keep yourself and your family supplied before the next payday. So, I guess that’s exciting, isn’t it? Is it?
Last Sunday, I went to the supermarket to do just that. I took a basket and we bought a few stuff, not necessarily for a couple weeks, but just to get a few things to use. It’s like buying a piece of bath soap, a pack of 30-piece biscuits, and a can of corned beef to get you covered just a few days before payday because your supplies fell short, so you use every remaining bit of extra allowances that you have to survive.
That wasn’t the case with me, though(I swear). Or maybe it is, except we rarely experience having to wait too long before the next payday to arrive. I and my girlfriend get paid every week. We’re lucky at least to be able to restock whenever necessary, or even when not yet necessary. We’re lucky, or blessed, to have a choice if we’d want to restock in advance or not. I guess, to us, a trip to the supermarket is indeed an exciting thing.
It was Sunday the 15th, which means workers were paid last Friday the 13th and have already started to bid their money farewell as they slept away in exchange of their provisions. As I waited in line to pay, I used this chance to look around and observe people and things to see what I can find and see what story I can create out of it, which is why I’m writing this now.
I thought I wouldn’t see much since it was just another weekend at the supermarket, but there was something that caught my attention. It felt like a contagious disease, that if I continued to look at it, I’d get it, too. I had to keep looking, though, because as I did, words were starting to come out as I tried to describe in my head what I was seeing. I still haven’t bought a pen and a notebook to write down immediately whatever I had in mind. A big mistake, but I’ll continue to write.
Was it just the “Lazy Sunday” effect? Was it the rain? Or was it the low-class rap music playing at the supermarket, which sounded like a gangster shit and was irritating the adults and elderly people who weren’t into this type of music? I’m not hating on hip-hop. There’s a lot of rap songs that I like, but this one’s of those rap songs you’d usually hear playing in urban poor areas. Whoever was in charge of the music at the supermarket clearly doesn’t know how to vibe the people and thought his/her cheap music taste would just go unnoticed.
Maybe that’s not to blame, either. Only to me, it was.
I observed further. My head was turning left and right as if I was looking for something or somebody but I wasn’t. I just looked at the faces of the people lined up to pay for their things to buy. They all had the same expression- it was expressionless. Everyone looked dead. Their faces weren’t pale, but they just looked dead inside. I only started to notice after looking at the cashier in front who I’ll be paying to. There were five people in line before me.
It had just been a couple of hours when the store opened, but her face seemed like she’s just about ready to call it a day. I used to have the same face when I worked as a call center agent. It wasn’t a shit job but the people I served were. Did she have a shit customer this early? Or is she just fed up with her job and wanted something else? Who wants to be a cashier, anyway? No, I’m not shitting on her job, but let’s be real- nobody would want this job as a passion. I mean.. come on.
It probably wasn’t the job because like I said, everyone had the same face that day, especially the customers. The only ones I saw who actually had an expression on their faces were the angry mothers trying to tell their kids to shut up and wait, and stop taking things they’re not supposed to buy. Taking your kids with you to the supermarket is never a great idea. Can’t blame you if you had to since no one’s home to look after them, so you just have to deal with it. But if you took them with you just to have a companion, what the hell is wrong with you?
I didn’t know being attentive can be this interesting, or rather disheartening in this case. What seems to be just another day actually has a lot more to it if you look closely.
So, why the long faces at the supermarket? Is it the separation anxiety everyone feels knowing they’re about to give away their hard-earned money that they’ve only had for two days? The gloomy weather? The urban poor rap song? The annoying kids? The fact that it’s Sunday and they were supposed to be still in their beds? Everything combined? Guess I’ll never know.