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{March 13, 2015}   Tidbits from Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's shopping bag, supermarket, Trader Joe's

Shopping Bag

I love Trader Joe’s. I don’t do all my shopping there, but I love their image, their marketing, and some of the interesting products they carry. And when I go there, I can honestly say the employees make it fun.

I usually shop there for specific products, one of which is Trader Joe’s Rustic bread. Anyone who has been there knows that they have a station where someone is cooking up samples featuring at least one of their products. Last sunday a woman was making a “special” grilled cheese sandwich: one with Dubliner cheese (a mild cheddar they are featuring for St. Patrick’s Day) and fig butter using the Rustic Bread. Right up my alley! I thought it was delicious! So…the Dubliner Cheese and Fig Butter joined the Rustic Bread in my bag. I hung out there for a bit by the little sample coffee cups to watch other people’s reaction to the sandwich and butt in, encouraging them to try it. I laughed and told the lady I was helping her sell it. 🙂 While I stood there, she was telling me other recipes she has tried. She recommended making meatballs in Red Pepper Jelly…mmm…I love red pepper jelly too!

At one point a male employee came over to talk to the woman about a trip she had made to the Providence Bruins game the day before. Apparently her nephew plays for either the Bruins or their opponent, and she said 25 family members went to the game and “he got quite a bit of ice time.” She said they had a lot of fun. The male employee said his niece (or little sister?…I didn’t listen well enough…) was going to be in some kind of production being held in Worcester. He said he had a “gig” that night but he was going to try to make it. Ah, I thought, grocery worker by day, band member by night? My mind recorded all of this for a future story (or maybe just this blog).

I proceeded to the register, and talked to the very pregnant young woman in front of me in line who was trying to control her toddler. I had put my shopping bag down on the floor and he was very interested in what I was buying. I looked in her basket and thought I saw cilantro, which I had forgotten I needed for the turkey chili I was making that day. I told her that and she laughed, “Oh no…that’s just the leaves on the flowers I’m buying. Isn’t that funny?” Suddenly a Trader Joe’s employee appeared next to me and said, “Can I get you anything?” “Yes,” I said, “I forgot cilantro!” Off she went…it took a little bit of time so I started to think they didn’t have any, but meanwhile the cashier chatted with the lady in front of me.

“You’ve got your hands full!” he said.

“Yes” she said, “and another coming soon. What were we thinking?!” We all laughed. And then, here was my employee with the cilantro. “It was the last one!” Ah…aren’t I lucky? I was having a good day.

Finally as I left the store and walked back to my car, I suddenly heard a booming and amazing male voice singing, “Oh Jamie, oh Jamie.” I looked around thinking maybe Trader Joe’s had hired a singer to entertain their customers. Yes, and no…the source of voice was a Trader Joe’s employee collecting the baskets! And no…he wasn’t mentally challenged as far as I could tell, but what a voice! I was too far away to acknowledge that I thought he was great (that’s how LOUD and strong his voice was) but I got in my car smiling from ear to ear. The only thing that would have made it more perfect is if my name was Jamie.

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{April 9, 2012}   Dreaming of Shopping

I used to be interested in dreams. (I had so many strange ones and loved to talk about them, to the chagrin of whoever lived with me at the time: mother, roommate, husband.) This interest resulted in one of my friends giving me a book about interpreting dreams (probably hoping that would shut me up). The book related the meaning of certain common dreams like dreams of losing your teeth, drowning or falling through the air. I have almost never had such dreams; for me, recurring dreams involve being late for school or work and not letting anyone know, or trying to tell someone something and having nothing come out of my mouth.

I also remember reading that dreams are our brain’s way of working out conflicts that occur in our waking life. When I worked full-time, I most often dreamed of my workplace and the people I worked with (after all, I spent 8 hours a day with them). Now that I work part-time at a non-stressful job, dreaming of work is rare. The interesting thing to me is that recently I have had dreams about shopping. How common is that?

My husband and I adopted a frugal lifestyle a few years ago, first out of necessity then out of choice. We have learned to evaluate our purchases before we make them. We buy very little that we don’t need and very few items from the “want” column. It is a healthy permanent change in our values. As an ancillary change, I look at my time differently too. I work out and read a lot to take care of my health. There’s very little time spent wandering in stores browsing.

But lately I’ve noticed a difference in my dreams. I sometimes dream of shopping. I did not do that in the past. I wondered if it means that I have not completely accepted my new life? My conscious mind knows I do not need more books, clothes or music cds, but somewhere inside me there’s someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be fun?”

In my past life, I would spend hours lost in bookstores and come out with a full bag. Last week I tried something new; I allowed myself some time to look at books at a store. It was a nice treat (only ½ hour), and I didn’t buy anything. I think maybe that was all I needed, because I haven’t dreamed of shopping since.



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