Thursday, August 23, 2007


After my last post, I went grocery shopping.

I have a tendency to go late at night, within the last hour that the supermarket is open, and I like to "close up the place." ie. be one of the last, if not THE LAST, customer. Maybe it's a subconscious power thing:

"You can't close up the store until I'm all done... You can't start to count what's in your till until you've finished with me."

There are two supermarkets nearby with a large Kosher selection of just about everything. I often go first to one, and then to the other. On Thursday nights, I luck out because one of them closes at 10 p.m. but the other closes at 11 p.m. Often I see the same people I saw shop in the first store then shop in the second me.

Tonight I went to the first store, which closes at 10 p.m. and then I headed to the second store, which closes at 10 p.m. But I had about a 20-minute window to get what I needed at the second store, so off I rushed.

I was NOT the last customer, but it was about 10:07 p.m. when I was at the checkout.

As I left the store, there were two employees just outside the front doors. I said good night to them, figuring they would lock the doors after the last customer left and then go back inside to deal with the closing procedures.

I was already at my car nearby when I heard in a booming voice: "WE'RE CLOSED!!!"

I didn't look back, but figured that someone thought they might just manage to get in and attempted to do so, only to be met by the "door police." It then hit me in a funny way that these store employees were actually serving as bouncers.

And then I realized that most stores, primarily Jewish ones where customers like to bargain, sweet=talk, insist, DEMAND, rant, and KNOW BEST, could stand to use bouncers like these men. Guards. De-motivators.

I can picture a couple of burly, musclemen, with stubble on their faces, staring down a little old Jewish lady with a shopping cart.

"No, the store is closed... No, you can't just check one more thing... No, the manager has already left... No, you can't park yourself here till morning; come back at 9:30 when the store re-opens."

Before going grocery shopping, I was in another department store, looking for a gift. Over the loudspeaker, I heard, "The time is 8:45; Winners will be closing in 15 minutes. .." "The time is 8:55. Winners will be closing in 5 minutes. Kindly bring all your purchases to the cash.... "The time is 9:00. Customer service is closed. Please bring all purchases to the cash. The store will re-open at 9:30 tomorrow."

Now, wouldn't you think that after listening to that series of announcements over a 15-minute time span that I would get the hint and get my butt over to a cashier with the gift I'd found to buy?

Nah...I'm at the far side of the store, but scanning over the aisles to see if any cash registers are free.

No such luck. There are lineups at each cashier's counter.

So I continue to browse in the housewares.

"I'm's 9:00. This section is closed. The store is closing, " is what a store clerk greets me with.

So you think I'd take a hint then?

Nah... "I know, but there are lineups at the cash anyway," I explain -- and continue to browse. I see that I am not the only customer in that section seeking some last minute purchases. I even think that to myself, "Hey, if you [Winners]throw me out, you might lose out on some customer cash. Maybe I'll find something else to buy in the last minute..."

I guess that all stores where I shop might also stand to use the services of a good bouncer to...put me in place...OUTSIDE THE STORE!


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

This was fun to read Pearl....When I could go to markets, I always enjoyed going at night...Usually not as crowded and also very interesting people shopping at night!
I love how you time everything so that hopefully you will be the last customer out of the store....LOL!

muse said...

I guess you never worked in a store. It looks very different from the other side of the cash register.

RaggedyMom said...

We have friends who tend to shop at one of the local kosher supermarkets until its closing time - usually around 1 a.m.!!

Even though I'm not naturally a morning person, I'm even less of a night person (afternoons are okay, though :)), so if I'm shopping at an odd hour, it's more likely to be at 7 a.m. when the store opens and RaggedyDad is still getting ready to leave for work - which means I have the luxury of going out ALONE (and wishing the ride would be a bit longer so I can continue to listen to music I actually like in the car)!

torontopearl said...

Old Lady: I run into lots of people I know shopping late at night, too. It's sometimes a chance to catch up.

Muse: I guess you have worked in a store... :)

Raggedy: I'm sure your trip to the supermarket becomes a true outing for you, whatever time of day. (with kids in tow or even without)

Sweettooth120 said...

I have a tendency to do that at places like Target. In fact the other night, I was there when they shut off all the main lights. Yes, I heard them on the loudspeaker, counting down the minutes, but hey, it's a big store, and there are still plenty of people in it and THEY need to go through a line too.

Not sure if I ever shared this story before, but I was shopping late one night at Hechts. I was in the dressing room with WAY too many clothes, anyhow, I a voice on the loudspeaker, but it wasn't clear, and I figured, if they really were wanting to kick people out they would come into the dressing room, and inform whoever was there, that they needed to finished, the store is closing in ..... minutes.

So I thought. Nope, not one person came into the dressing room. I didn't have a phone or watch on me and was very busy trying clothes on. When I was finished, I exited the dressing room into a very dark department store. Totally deserted. Fortunately I found someone downstairs, but can you imagine their face to see a customer left behind.

miriam said...

In the library we always got a lot of people who urgently needed to use the library at 9 o'clock. If we hadn't shut down the computers, we let them in, but the staff resented it. They were tired and wanted to go home.