Wednesday, July 8, 2009
"Shopping At The 99 Cent Store" from Rong-Chang
Once a week, Neil went grocery shopping. He always made a list, but he always forgot to put one or more items on the list. This used to anger him, but now he just accepted it. You're not as sharp as you used to be, he told himself.
It was Friday—shopping day. He went to the 99¢ store. Sometimes they had a lot of fresh produce, sometimes they didn't. He got lucky. There were fresh, packaged broccoli, celery, eggplant, and squash. Also, packages of peaches, plums, and apples. He easily had enough produce to last all week, if it didn't rot first. The produce alone filled up four plastic bags. Four other bags contained other items that were on Neil's list.
He drove to Albertson's, which sold milk by the gallon and at cheaper prices than the 99¢ store. Interestingly, the price of milk had soared in the last month. He used to buy 2 gallons of nonfat milk for $3.59. Now he was paying $4.69. Yet, the news media was silent—the same news media that reports a 2-cent increase in gasoline prices or even a 1-cent decrease. That's all over the news. Milk, he thought, just isn't sexy enough.
He parked his car in the carport and opened the trunk. Somehow he managed, as usual, to put all 10 plastic bags into his hands and lug them upstairs. What a drag shopping is, he thought. And then he mentally slapped himself: if you think it's a drag now, wait till you can't drive. Wait till you can't even walk up the stairs unless you use a cane. How are you going to get your groceries then? The older you get, he told himself, the more you'd better appreciate the fact that you can still do all these boring chores and errands.