A Conversation at Gelson’s Market

(Sometime last week)

I enter Gelson’s. It’s 100 degrees outside. I have five minutes for quick snack before I have to get back to my class. I head to the yogurt aisle and get one. I need a spoon. I head to the deli.

“Do you have a plastic spoon?”

Deli Woman: “No. They are over there.”

Points to a counter with napkins, utensils etc. I walk to counter. Forks, knives, no spoons.

“Excuse me. Are there more spoons back there? This bucket is empty.”

Meat-Cutting Deli Woman does not respond.

“Hello? Excuse me. Are there….”

Meat-Cutting Deli Woman walks away.

Other customers look at me. Is it sympathy? Or am I rude for asking a question without waiting in line?

I leave feeling self conscious. There will totally be spoons under the cashier’s area. I know I always kept stuff there when I was #1 cashier in 1988.

I get to the cashier. “Do you have a spoon?”

He quickly rings up and bags the yogurt that is futile for me to buy without a spoon.

“No, I don’t have one. The deli does! Over there!”

“Yeah. They’re out.”

“Oh. Then I guess we’re all out.”

“Well, it’s not that they said ‘we’re out’ the woman wouldn’t answer me and she walked away.”

“Oh. I guess they’re all out.”

“Right. Do you have any back here? Because I can’t eat my yogurt without…

“Nah, ma’am. I don’t get special priveleges here. I eat my stuff with spoons from the deli like anyone else.”

“What do you do if it’s your lunch break, you go to the deli and there are no spoons? Like I just did. I guess I’ll just eat this with a fork.”

“There you go! That’s inventive.”

“So, you’re telling me. If it’s your lunch break. And you need a spoon and the deli doesn’t have any right on display. There are none in the back? You wouldn’t eat?”

“Man. That would be tough. Listen, I feel ya. You gotta get a spoon for that!”

“Right. So, there is a truck that delivers spoons. Boxes are kept in back. It’s somebodies job to keep re-stocking spoons at the deli counter. Someone just needed to re-stock. Instead I was ignored and you’re saying that you know clairvoyently that all the spoons that are given free to customers are gone?”

“Pretty much yeah.”

“I feel like being a brat and saying I want to return this yogurt. But I won’t. I’ll eat it with a fork.”

(And I shit you not)

“There are spoons at the deli counter.”

“Are you…joking? We just talked…”

“Oh yeah. That’s right. I’m sorry.”

“Anyway, I think this is weird customer service. But…”

“Well, you can buy spoons. We sell packs. Like a whole box of fifty, one-hundred. You could have fifty yogurts!”

“Yeah. I don’t think I’ll buy a box. Thanks.”

“Well, ma’am it’s stealing if I open the box for you.”

“I wasn’t asking you to. Okay. Thanks for all of your help.”

“No problem, ma’am. You enjoy your day!”


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