Thursday, April 29, 2010

Usually, my lunches aren't an experience

I like being able to get out of the office for lunch.  Often, some of the other workers will stay in the break room watching episodes of sitcoms while they eat their from-home lunches.  I like to get away.  I spend eight hours (or beyond) in the warehouse anyway, so when I have the opportunity to escape for a bit, I seize it.  So, when I bring my lunch, I escape to a park (or parking lot) and enjoy.  Otherwise, I stop in at one of the local establishments for lunch.

And today, the local establishment was especially interesting, in that it *was* interesting at all.

First, the location is interesting.  I was having lunch in a restaurant that borders the giant depressing pile of concrete that is the "Great Mall of the Great Plains".  A testament to what was cutting-edge consumer experience 15 years ago is now a tumbleweed-populated horror.  I hate it, but that level of dislike is probably exclusive to me.  Due to whatever latent psychological problems reside in my brain, just being near the mall makes me ill-at-ease.  I've mentioned my dislike of "dead" towns and shops, but somehow it's even worse actually being in one that's dying a slow and painful death.

The restaurants on the busy main street are enjoying brisk business, however.  Into the store walked two men, who caused a customer to double-take.  "I bet you guys get the question 'Are you twins?' all the time."  I noticed they had amounts of "bald spot", which I found noteworthy.

To the door came an elderly woman with full walker.  Right behind her, several young twenty-somethings who practically tripped over each other to hold open the door for her.  Amazing!

Some while later a woman entered, carrying a convenience store cup.  She crossed the length of the place to get to the soda machine, picked out whatever flavor she wanted, filled her cup to the brim, and walked back out to her car.  She drove away.  At no time did she make eye contact with anyone.  She was probably my mother's age, and I couldn't help thinking that whoever that was probably didn't have a mother who taught her that was OK.

That used to happen sometimes when I worked at St. Louis Bread.  You'd be surprised how ugly a human can be as they get completely offended when you've caught them stealing soda.  It must be a taste of what police officers get when they give tickets for running red lights.  But this is a cup of soda -- I never understood why people think it's OK to steal as long as it's from a faceless corporation who you patronize multiple times weekly.

Speaking of Panera Bread, I've had a chance to visit one a few times since I started making money.  As soon as I hit the front door, my brain starts diagnosing all the good and bad things that I can see.  Smudges on the door.  Leaking trash receptacle.  Newspaper nicely stacked.  No crumbs next to the cash register.  Employees cheerful and pleasant.  Manager on a personal telephone behind the counter.  Line worker scratching nose with gloves on.  Light fixtures freshly dusted.  No samples.  Printed menu has incorrect pricing.  Dirty bagel slicer blade (obvious when the bagel dances back out of the chute instead of slicing).  Employee wearing jeans.  Coffee being changed.  And a hundred other things.

Don't ever let me behind the counter, or I'll just take the place apart. 

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