Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Poor People's Market

Tongue firmly in cheek, my neighbor, Mr. Ford, calls the Thriftway Supermarket at 40th and Main "The Poor People's Market". I say tongue in cheek as he shops there frequently himself, and owning a unit at the Palace and 2 expensive European autos hardly qualifies him as poor. As for me, I had not been in the place for years, opting for the bigger and brighter SunFresh about 8 blocks to the west. Until necessity changed all that. Car-less and counting all the pennies until the ticket mess is done, I think I now qualify as a "poor person".

And frankly, it is not all bad. It reminds me of markets from my Decatur childhood such as the now closed Eisner's on Grand or the Tolly's across the corner on Oakland. Small, narrow aisles, somewhat rickety shelves, only 3 check out counters, most of the liquor behind a counter, no fancy carts, no floral shop, no pharmacy, no salad bar, not a hint of a sushi bar, nix on the deli, generic ATM machine but not a bank, no bakery,and certainly no fresh seafood counter (lots of canned tuna though), all the things we really have come to expect from a "super market". What it does have is friendly staff, interesting shoppers of all stripes, decent selection and not bad prices. My beloved Diet Coke with lime is 30 cents cheaper at Thriftway. As my dear friend Mary Ruth said after meeting her at SunFresh after their recent remodeling, "I see prices are up again, guess someone has to pay for all this", gesturing to the new flooring, fancy displays and new sushi garden. I think chewing gum holds some of the shelves up at the Poor People's Market and the floor, while spotless, looks like it has seen a few decades of shoppers.

When life foists a change on you, and makes you do things a bit different than the rest of the world, you soon learn to adapt. One thing about me, I do know how to adapt to negative situations; poor eyesight, tinnitus, diabetes, low paying job, being single for ages, etc.. for the most part. I bitch about them a lot, and frankly deep down it can hurt and cause lots of sleepless nights. However, being of good English stock, I look at adversity as a bloody nuisance rather than a disaster and with upper lip stiff go about my life.

Thus almost daily, I trek the challenging 3 blocks to the Poor People's Market. I get a few things, say hi to the clerk who calls everyone "babe", wave at the guy at the service desk back in the corner (I need to start noticing and learning names, but there name tags are not always part of the uniform) and adapt once more.

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