Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Market is making its way across our great land. Two just opened in our fair city this past week and I have yet to check them out. I am curious but early reports have not been the ringing endorsement that I would have hoped for.
What’s putting me off the most is not the vegetables and fruit pre-wrapped in plastic (not what I call “fresh”), but the British cost-saving measure of asking patrons to bag their own groceries (certainly not what I call “easy”). I hated bagging groceries when we lived in the UK – I don’t need the stress of having to quickly bag a week’s worth of items while the guy behind you tuts and waits so the cashier can ring him up (and then having to strongarm all five bags out of the shop, past the parking lot, over to the nearest bus stop, where there was inevitably a crazy person awaiting all too eager for a chat).
The concept of bagging my own groceries sends me right into a PTSD episode. Yesterday, while at Trader Joe’s, the cashier (who, I should add, is the only uptight, intense person that I’ve ever encountered working at a Trader Joe’s) actually held up my cloth bag for a brief moment as if to show it to me, before putting it back down on top of my groceries. I read it as, “Here’s your bag. You could save some time and effort for me if you started putting your items into it while I’m ringing you up since our current bagger is busy with another customer.” I held his gaze and with it conveyed the message, “I left the U.K. so I wouldn’t have to bag my own groceries, buddy. If you want me to start bagging, you’re going to have to say it to me in words, not via this Vulcan mind meld.” And then, as if on cue, the bagger came over and began bagging my groceries.
I might require some therapy before I visit Fresh & Easy.