Christ salvation

Dowd: Salvation proves elusive in the revamped Big Super

An ambassador of Jesus recently offered me salvation in my supermarket. It’s a bit late for that.

I was, in fact, a finicky soul on a tour of shopping purgatory.

The supermarket in my hometown just completed renovations that closed the place for much of the summer. I have a love-hate relationship with the place. I hate the place, immensely.

Love walking past on the way to the Candle, the upmarket market just up the street with the best steaks and fresh produce. The cashiers even pack your groceries without asking.

Not so Big Super. I’d like to meet the company pencil pusher who decided cashiers didn’t need to pack groceries unless instructed to. If my elderly mother had to pack her own bag, but once, I would be really angry.

And a fancy place never smells like a dead rodent. I can’t say the same for Big Super. If you’ve ever worked in a supermarket like me, stocking shelves and bagging groceries for people, you’ll remember the obnoxious smell.

Big Super has ill-mannered, poorly trained children and tasteless adults, all underpaid, who maintain the food fort. You can always spot the management. These are the highest paid people in vests standing there and watching. They never go behind a ledger to help clear blocked lines. Too important for the menial tasks left to cashiers at minimum wage and with little training.

The giant corporation shrugs its shoulders. They don’t care about you or me at all. They’re making a killing on the backs of the public, where a “profit bias” has been noticeable in the food industry especially this year, according to Forbes. Food company profits “far exceeded the growth in workers’ wages”.

Poof: So goes the specious argument that federal bailout money is responsible for inflation. In fact, more than 53% of price increases over the past two years have been driven by profit margin gains, according to Forbes. Salary increases: less than 8%.

It is wanton greed, plain and simple, perpetrated against the middle class. Do you still want your child to work in the supermarket for garbage pay? Do you think he’s going to learn some important life lessons? Many better lessons to be learned elsewhere.

Big Super has so much money that it can afford to renovate its store every five years or so. (Are you still waiting to redo the bathroom?) They hear about the 9% inflation rate and use it to justify price increases of around 20%. Do you want proof ? A bag of chips that cost $3 last year now costs $3.50 or even $4. It’s crisps.

Then there are the prices of chicken and meat that have forced ordinary people to go without. Big Super chuckles: let them eat hot dogs.

I stopped to see the “improvements”. There was new signage and revamped walkways. Pickles and Condiments now face Berries and Bananas. Canned fish fixes loose potatoes. They now offer a “wing bar” in the produce section because chicken wings have to be trendy. The only real wings on earth are at Buffalo, NY Heaven in hot sauce.

Throughout, the aisles and shelves were in different sequences but contained virtually the same products they displayed before the renovation. I joined other confused patrons, wandering like lost souls in search of the milk and honey of Long Island life.

I wasted 15 minutes looking for my crackers. The fries aisle now included a range of sweets, a section designed to drive parents of young children crazy.

I found the crackers and went to the dairy aisle looking for a brick of cheddar cheese. He was no longer there. I became nervous, angrier than usual. I was just lost.

Then the spokesman for Jesus appeared. He looked like John Lennon and decided my soul needed saving. He asked me to pray with him. I refused. He insisted, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal saviour?

Heaven in dairy light. Alleluia.

Now people have been trying to save me for decades with no tangible results. And believe me, I could use the savings. I wanted John Lennon to ask Jesus for a straight path to the cheddar brick, but I thought better of it. I said thank you, that’s fine.

In addition to a wretch like me, price gouging profiteers could use their own savings.

I found the cheese where I started this odyssey: in the produce aisle, near the wing bar, and on the wall opposite the canned fish. It happened right after I spotted the squashed mouse, like a flattened pancake, in the beer aisle. The poor guy was long past redemption. Thoughts and prayers.

Maybe management can send a kid to clean up the carnage. He obviously doesn’t pack my groceries. Can I have an “Amen”.

Joe Dowd is editor and associate publisher of Long Island Business News. His award-winning column airs regularly.