Today was a good day. There were only a few things on the agenda that needed to get done. The first was to get the car inspected, but unfortunately, my place was closed due to a funeral, such is the life in a small town. Oh, there were other car inspection places that I could go, but this was the place I liked, they knew me, and I didn’t want to go anywhere else. It’s OK, I can wait. I’m not driving around illegally yet. I’ve got until the end of the month.
The second thing on the list was to get groceries. That required a trip to Publix, which really is a pleasure. If you don’t have a Publix, well, I feel sorry for you. It only took 14 years for me to get one here and I’m never going anywhere else ever again unless out of utter desperation. Publix is the grocery store of my childhood. They still give kids free cookies so I suspect my children will love them henceforth, too.
The Publix of my childhood had a really interesting feature which I never gave much thought to until now. It had a giant antique scale when you first walked in the door. It was really tall, at least to my child-sized self. I had to bend my neck back as far as I could to read the numbers on the scale when I stood on it. This scale was kind of a giant version of a vegetable scale in the produce department, with that bouncy arrow to show whether you should indulge in said cookie or not.
Every time my mother took me shopping, I had to get on that scale. I wonder if it was an annoyance to her? She probably just needed to grab a gallon of milk and get home to prepare dinner, but I was making it take twice as long. At least, that’s what happens anytime I take my children anywhere. My mother rarely showed any annoyance and I try to emulate that for my kids, even though inside I’m performing the emotional version of pulling my hair out. I’d encourage my mom to get on the scale, too, and that’s when the annoyance would show. She was not getting on. No matter what. Now let’s go.
I took for granted that the scale was a normal part of the grocery shopping experience because it isn’t. I’ve never seen a scale in another grocery store ever before or since. It was just at my Publix in my hometown. I wonder who put it there? Why? Where did it come from? The only other places that have a scale as part of the routine experience are gyms and doctor’s offices and people hate going to both places. In some weird way, though it made sense. Should you buy that half gallon of ice cream on sale this week? Well, let me get on that scale and see.
And in other ways, it’s a terrible idea, especially for a grocery store who wants you to buy that ice cream on sale. They don’t want you to think that you should not indulge because that might hurt their bottom line. It seems that the bottom line is all that really matters anymore.
Maybe we need more scales in grocery stores, and pharmacies that can make you a milkshake, and healthcare that doesn’t bankrupt a family. We need more businesses that close for a funeral even if it means I didn’t get my car inspected when I wanted to. We need businesses that aren’t just in the business to make a buck, but to provide a service and an experience to the customer and to their employees. We need businesses that put scales in the foyer even if it doesn’t make any sense, even if it costs them a sale on that ice cream on sale.