Educational opportunity at the grocery

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It’s a well-known fact in the trucking industry that grocery loads suck. They’re time-consuming, expensive to get unloaded and pay just about the very least of anything out there. You would think something as important as every single thing we put in our gobs to survive would be the highest paying, least annoying loads to carry, but like many things in today’s society, no one really understands the importance of the loads, so they’re treated like Paula Deen at an NAACP meeting. (Stop it. That was funny, and you know it. Jessee Jackson would have laughed.)

The point is, people deliver them because they have to. It’s their job. Reefer drivers really don’t have an abundance of things to deliver to other places. Company drivers go where the company sends them, or they go home and starve. The only reason we take them is to get us to another place where there are better loads to catch, without having to deadhead and eat fuel. They’re a means to and end for us, but some people have to do them every single day. I thank these people, from the bottom of my heart. I understand your pain, and I appreciate you getting food to the shelves for me and mine.

One of the main reasons I think grocery is treated with such utter disregard is the general public absolutely does not understand there’s no magic tree planted in the back of the grocery, pumping out cookies and freaky elves. They cannot fathom there’s probably only enough gummi bears on the shelf for about two days’ worth of shopping, unless you’re shopping at the same grocery as Governor Christie, in which case you’re in deep doo-doo on the gummi-bear front. (And everything else.) People seem to think there are vast, invisible warehouses behind their local grocery store, just chock-full of delicious goodness and fresh meat.

The fact is, most grocery loads are JIT’s (just in time), and they get there just in time for you to not have to do without your Fritos and scrambled eggs on Saturday morning. Storing cold and fresh food is expensive — they don’t keep it stocked up in the back, they order enough to have on hand until the next JIT load gets there. If that load doesn’t make it, and your freezer at home isn’t well-stocked, then Grandma’s birthday cookout is ruined because there were no center-cut pork chops at the market and tofu burgers are a lame substitute. Way to go, dummy. Ruined Grammy’s birthday and made everyone eat tofu. Nice.

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screaming childI watched a little kid have a near seizure because there were no Lucky Charms on the shelf at Kroger last time we were there. (I myself was somewhat disappointed, but refrained from throwing myself to the floor and screaming, unlike the kid.) His mom kept telling him, “We’ll get them to see if they have any in the back. Let me find someone to ask. Please quit gnawing at my ankle.”

Of course, I saw this as an excellent learning opportunity for the kid, and was fully prepared to march over and tell him there were no more Lucky Charms, and there probably never would be any Lucky Charms, ever again, unless someone brought them on a truck. I was going to go on to tell him that he and his parents should worship the American truck driver, and say a thank-you prayer for them every time they put a spoonful of synthetic sucrose into their mouths. (I was a little excited — the combination of no Lucky Charms and a screaming kid had me all hopped up on adrenaline.)

The voice of reason stepped in (George), and led (dragged) me away, murmuring soothing phrases and speaking quietly: “We’ll get Lucky Charms somewhere else, it’s OK, leave the kid alone.”

Although I was able to (almost) control myself at the prospect of not having Lucky Charms, I fear the general public will not be able to do the same when there are no Totino’s frozen pizzas and Buddig ham available. People will absolutely freak the frig out when they can’t get their Axe body spray any more. Society will crumble if there’s no Bud Light on the shelves. Toilet paper and ammunition will be at a premium. (Oh hell, it already is. We’re in trouble, folks.)

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