Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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615 words

I had to buy some yeast today. A small cube of yeast – typically found at some corner of a fridge in the supermarket next to the dairy products. Selling for 9 cents or perhaps 13, if you’re unlucky.

Obviously I didn’t want to make a big effort for such small purchase, so I just went into the next supermarket I passed which happened to be the horrible Kaufland one that opened last year. And gee, was I appalled once more. Starting from the people leaving the place, passing the tacky stall selling sausages right at the entrance, insulting me when I entered because they didn’t have any shopping baskets (which admittedly is standard for the non-service attitude of German retail on a Saturday afternoon), the vegetable section being packed with tarts from the countryside who apparently ‘enjoyed’ browsing some peppers or so (despite being the type of people who will be painful to watch when trying to cut any vegetable because they mainly eat ‘convenience’ and ‘diet’ products, me having to fight my way through aisle after aisle of colourfully packaged goods just to reach a dairy section with loads of ‘cheap!’ signs and so many pre-packaged low-fat ‘cheese’ offerings that I lost orientation before I managed to find the yeast – hiding behind a ‘cheap!’ sign in a box that had fallen over.

I decided to also pick up some eggs as I was there, noting that you can probably tell a lot about the supermarket just by the various eggs they offer. With there being four different kinds of fairness in egg production these days, it means you get plenty of ‘different’ eggs to choose from. And just the proportions of Bio vs. free range vs. cage made eggs on offer at the supermarket can probably tell the ambitious sociologist a lot about the supermarket and its target audience. Needless to say that the majority of eggs there were cage made with a particularly tacky pack offering 10 eggs ‘plus two boiled eggs for free’.

Off I was to the checkout. Naturally choosing the line where someone in front of me caused some problem that stalled everything for a few minutes. Minutes can be long, thankfully I had the iPod with me to protect me. And just the checkout in that place tells you all about its class. The checkout girl person is forced to type the number of people’s shopping carts into the cash register. Not only is it completely unclear what that should be good for, but the very fact that said number is printed on the cart’s wheel covering strongly suggests that this is done to make sure the checkout people actually make sure you didn’t hide anything you want to steal at the bottom of the cart. Classy! One simple movement showing complete distrust and disrespect for both their staff and their customers, i.e. the people who do the actual work and those who pay their salaries.

And, after I was through the checkout, the girl of course asked me whether happy with my shopping… and I was about to start going through these points when – luckily! – I realised that it’d just waste my time, they should pay me loads of dough for such insights, they don’t care anyway and, most importantly, it’d extend my time in the horrible place. So I just mumbled something slightly discontent, but inoffensive, and left.

The fun thing about this is that perhaps they are tracking how happy customers are. And I really wonder who would bother to give a negative response. With a bit of luck those are questions which are bound to give you 98% approval rates…

February 11, 2007, 10:52

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