In our small Arizona mountain town of Prescott — pronounced “Preskitt,” rhymes with biscuit — there are two Fred’s grocery stores. In our family shorthand, they are “North Fred’s” and “Rehab Fred’s,” because the latter happens to be near a lot of drug and alcohol rehab places, which we seem to have a lot of in Prescott. The clientele at the North Fred’s is more suburban; the Rehab Fred’s is more quirky. That’s okay. Prescott is quirky.
At the nearby Wal-Mart, for instance, it is routine to see cowboys wearing their sidearms strapped to their belts. I have given up being fazed by people sporting pajamas, or wild, enormous tattoos, or anything that might have turned my delicate head back east. Live and let live, it’s Prescott. I just push my cart. Once, though, at Wal-Mart, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something dark and small behind me. Very small, too short to be a person. That’s because it was a duck. A black duck, just standing in line. He seemed to be hanging with two human companions, by their cart. I sneaked a picture with my phone. Later, I mentioned it to someone who works at Wal-Mart. “Yeah, they come here a lot.” What I love about my town is that nobody batted an eye. A duck in the express checkout lane … that’s just Prescott.
Today I went to the Rehab Fred’s, trying to hurry, as always, so I could come back home and get to work. There he was, my least favorite cashier, Mr. Grumpy. I have written about him before. He has a thing about scanning the Fred’s VIP card before he will scan a single grocery item. He won’t move without that card. I don’t like this, because if I’m behind the cart, trying to put its entire contents on the conveyor belt as quickly as possible, I don’t like having to push the cart aside, take those two extra steps — it’s the principle of the thing — and give the guy my card. He is the sole exception in all my Fred’s shopping experiences; every other cashier will just start scanning. The cash register doesn’t care; you still get the VIP discount. Not Mr. Grumpy. In the past, he has actually folded his hands and waited until I gave him the card before he would scan a single item. Not even a bunch of grapes, or a single bottle of ketchup. He would not scan them with a mouse, he would not scan them in a house. He would not scan them at all, the louse. Today, I wasn’t having it.
“Do you have your Fred’s VIP card?” Yes, I said, “but can I give it to you in a minute?” He sighed. “I guess so.” The bagger guy stepped forward and asked if he could help me unload my cart. “Yeah, she needs it,” the cashier said. Grr. Still, I count it as a victory. On the way out, in succession, I saw three things. One was a lone piece of broccoli in the parking lot. I took a picture of it. As Samwise Gamgee said in Fellowship of the Ring, “I don’t know why, It makes me sad.” Two, a bumper sticker: “Honk if you really need to poop.” Why would anyone have this on his or her car? To feel solidarity — no pun intended — with anyone who honks? Seriously, I am baffled. Then, another bumper sticker: “Constipated people don’t give a poop.” Except it didn’t say poop. Again, why this needed to be said is a mystery to me. I don’t have a bumper sticker, but if I had to choose one, it would probably have a happy dog on it or something.
But live and let live. It’s Prescott, where life is generally pretty good.
This post and all blog content Ⓒ Copyright Janet Farrar Worthington. P.S. I changed the name of the grocery store.