ISSUE 68

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 Good morning to our established supermarket customers. Thank you for coming to a physical store instead of ordering online, thereby risking your groceries being grabbed with meaty paws and pulverized into one reusable bag, creating a casserole-like cluster shit of whatever food, personal items, and industrial cleaning products you purchased.
 Unfortunately, this will confirm we are still #109,085 in the proper training of our employees. It does, however, mean we are slightly above recently bombed Afghanistan 7-Eleven whose cashier is bleeding out on the ground.  
 There are, however, still some benefits to visiting us, your friendly neighborhood grocery. We are not mindless machines… well, not yet. Talk with Cynthia, and you could be convinced otherwise.  
 Whereas a machine will treat you with the impassive equality of a prostitute, most of our employees have actual names and personalities. They treat you with dignity, despite the carts you leave to drift aimlessly around the parking lot and the irrational abuse you heap upon us. We even forgive people who abandon an unwanted, organic apple behind the Wheaties cereal, and we find it fourteen months later after it has liquefied.
 Furthermore, we allow our customers the ability to add some exercise to their daily routine by randomly switching our store layout. Is the peanut butter in aisle two or fourteen? Did we shove it in an end rack with the batteries or along the back wall with the feminine hygiene products? It’s like hide-and-seek, except with more anger and a cart.
 While you wander around, you might want to stay away from aisle fourteen because there is some serious shit going down in the pet food section. Officially, we did not start an inter-grocery raccoon-fighting ring, but if the Safeway manager asks, tell him Big Bruno totally owned Furry Dominator last night.
 And we wouldn’t recommend the meat section either. If you think our butcher might have a criminal record, you would be right. Just try to stay out of stabbing distance, feed a test part of your sandwich meat to a squirrel, and you’ll be fine. And if he’s going slower than you would like, just remember he’s three wrong words away from strangling someone. 
 Instead of those two areas, take a look at our sale items: left-over Halloween candy, Christmas trees without any needles on them, bananas that look like turds, and gluten-free brownies that taste like turds. If you decide to pass on these, we will have to banish them to our grocery’s purgatory. Once there, they will be picked over by hopeless scroungers who don’t mind mold, recalled meat, or a yeast fungus that probably killed Bret.
 Whereas a normal person would be dissuaded by half-eaten food that has obviously been hastily repackaged and returned, these customers see it as a challenge for their immune system, as if by beating the expiration date, they are winning at life.
 We would throw these items away, but then these people would rummage through the dumpster, despite the fact they have a well-paying job that can easily support a family. We don’t know what message bringing home a stale pack of muffins sends to their children, except that you must strike poverty before it strikes you, like a thief in your house or communism in Vietnam.
 We appreciate them for the service they provide—like flies or tax accountants—but we’re often confused when they talk to us about Campbell’s soup flavors that we’ve never had in stock.   
 “Saw you guys were about to throw away these cans from 1922,” they say upon checking out. “Marked down to fifteen cents. Fifteen cents! Can you beat that? They say there’s a risk of lead poisoning, but I haven’t noticed anything.” They then nervously pick at their arms for fifteen minutes and complain they can’t remember where they parked their car.
 It’s really these people we stay in business for, the ones who talk to us like human beings, flip through Reader’s Digest for the jokes, and don’t mind the teenagers who struggle to hold up a conversation while they bag groceries. So please keep coming here. Please.    
   
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