Grocery Store Bonding and Singing in Safeway: Two Stories
I’m going to attempt to tell these stories as they happened, exactly as they happened. I live in the town of Severna Park, and the closest grocery store is Safeway, which is walkable. I’m over there constantly, as I’m not a big “do the grocery load for the week” kind of person. I pretty much figure out each day what we will eat, and run over and get whatever I need since it’s so convenient.
In the last several months, I’ve had two hilarious Safeway Moments, as I shall call them.
The first happened a few months ago when I was standing in line to pick up a prescription. The line was long. There was a middle-aged woman at the counter being helped, but there was something holding up the process, something the clerk was trying to figure out. Behind her was another woman, tanned with blonde hair, about my age, who had just moved from Florida. Then, there was me. Behind me was a man in his 50s and another man in his late 50s to early 60s.
We were all waiting.
And we were all in our fifties, because, let’s be real, you need a lot of prescriptions, vitamins, supplements, or probiotics in your fifties.
When the problem at the counter was finally sorted out, the woman was getting ready to pay. “And I’d like to use my AARP card for my discount,” she said.
The woman from Florida, whom I had been chatting with, and I both looked at each other. “Did she say she’s using her AARP card for a discount?” I asked.
The woman who was paying turned around and looked at us both, ready to straighten this thing out. “I use my AARP for discounts everywhere. I just used it at Bill Bateman’s (local restaurant) the other night and got $40 off my big bill,” she said.
We were astounded.
It’s been a running joke in my family that when I turned fifty two years ago, that I should immediately sign up for the AARP card. My dad claims you get discounts on lots of stuff. I’ve avoided the reality of the AARP card, because, quite frankly, it’s admitting your age, something I don’t like to do unless pressed, or must be honest, as in yesterday’s post.
I asked the woman if movie discounts were included. I’m all about discounts for the movies, as I refuse to pay full price to see outspoken, condescending, opinionated celebrities when I can wait to get them soon for free on cable.
“Yes…and so many other discounts!” she said. “You’re crazy not to get one.”
The man behind me piped in. “I use my AARP card all the time. Lots of discounts, dear.”
The woman from Florida and I, clearly both not wanting to utter our age, agreed that, perhaps we should look into it. Then the man all the way at the end of the line shouted, “You really need to sign up for one. You’re missing out.”
I felt immediately connected to these fellow people of AARP age. We were communing in the prescription line, discussing membership to the club.
The “I’m old enough for the club card” club.
Needless to say, after the encouragement from my peers, I’m looking into it.
If only for the discounts.
Yesterday, my daughter and I had to run into Safeway for a quick errand. If you’ve been in a Safeway store recently, you know that blasting from the speakers in the store are typically songs from the 70s and 80s, or lighter current stuff by my buddy, Michael Buble. I can’t tell you how many times Buble is playing in the store.
Anyway, yesterday’s featured song as I walked through the door was Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love.” As I am often wont to do when I am with my 15-year-old daughter, I began singing along with the song, quite loudly and on purpose, just to make her wonder about her own mother’s sanity. She is always amazed that I know the lyrics to songs when you could actually understand the lyrics to songs. I knew every word of “Endless Love,” and as such, I was singing it and smiling as I looked at her. As we picked up what we needed and made our way over to the self-check area, there was a man, about my age, singing the song as loudly as I was. And, in front of him was a woman about my age, who was bagging her stuff and singing too.
“We’re all singing along with song!” I said to him as we got in line.
“I’m singing it, she’s singing it, you’re singing it. We’re all singing it,” he said, smiling. “How can you not?”
The woman in front of him looked at me and smiled.
“Exactly,” I said back to him, smiling back and laughing.
“Exactly,” I then said, looking at my daughter.
I figured it was my birthday and I could sing whatever the hell I wanted.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.