So I ditched the market and trekked to a well-known grocer in a well-heeled suburb.
The produce looked better and I was allowed to touch it.
Alas, the prices were very high.
Would I get over them?
The locals certainly seemed comfortable.
They thronged the aisles, pushing mini trolleys and chatting about school plays. Uniformed staff wove among them, renewing displays with dew-kissed offerings from the field.
I went through my list and assembled a cornucopia of peerless beauty. I felt I should paint it, not eat it.
At the register, the lass asked if I wanted bags or a box.
I chose box, then averted my eyes from the mounting toll.
Best in Show
On a prominent wall, a decoupage of plates, photos, trophies, letters and certificates proved by weight and volume the absolute incredibleness of the place.
This is top-notch fruit, I thought, but it’s still just fruit. Why all the carry on?
Then the lass asked if I wanted ‘carry out’.
I’d noted a stream of bright youths heeding carry out calls from the tannoy.
Though thankful I still had strength to hold my own, I was curious about this service. It seemed as ancient as gas station driveway attendants. So I quizzed the lass.
Do you always ask customers if they want carry out?
[OK, it’s a system.]
How many people go for it?
[A popular system!]
Is it mainly older people who want it?
No. Some get offended if you ask them. Mums with kids like it. The people who get most upset are big blokes. I think they feel threatened.
[A fallible system?]
So, if you have to ask everyone, how do you not offend people?
Well, if we’re pretty sure a customer isn’t going to appreciate the offer, we don’t ask.
Yeah, we’re allowed to use our judgment. And you get a pretty good feel for people once you’ve been here a while.
Someone had given great thought to the small matter of carry out – creating a robust yet supple system that honoured staff and clients alike.
If management could take such trouble over this, what care must their produce receive?!
As the receipt slid past my bounty, so did my concern.
I was sold.