Yesterday I had occasion to be in a part of town I rarely visit. I noticed that Wal-Mart had put in a “Neighborhood Market.” Wanting to grab our Thanksgiving turkey and ham, I decided to give it a try.
I was so pleased. The Market was about the size I remembered the new “supermarkets” of my childhood. I confess that I resist going into Walmart Superstores because of the size—Want dog food? It is waaaay over to the other side of the store.
But this smaller version was great. It had everything I needed and all within fairly easy reach.
Our holidays are different this year. I will be cooking for MIL, Son and me on Thanksgiving Day. We have promised to indulge MIL with her football while I sit before the fire, listening to her urge Navy on to a goal and working on my rag rug. The next day we will go to my sisters for my family’s feast.
As I passed one of those mid-aisle displays, I grabbed a couple of bottles of sparkling cider for our little Thanksgiving Day celebration. At the checkout stand, the checker (a young girl in early 20’s) picked up the bottle and said, “Hmmm. Is this alcoholic?”
Before I could answer, the sacker (a woman in her 30’s) answered, saying, “No, it’s not alcoholic—it’s diet.”
Before I could say anything, the checker said, “No, I don’t think it’s diet, I think it’s alcoholic.”
Sacker: “No, read on it. It says right on the label that there is no alcohol, so it’s diet.”
Checker: “Oh, you’re right! No alcohol, so it must be diet.”
Sacker: “Right. It’s diet because there is no alcohol.”
I can tell you that I was fairly speechless. I simply do not follow the logic of this exchange. I finally got my word in edgewise: “It is neither. It is non-alcoholic, but it certainly is not diet.”
To which Sacker, ever vigilant to be correct, answered: “Are you sure. I thought that diet ones were not alcoholic and non-alcoholic ones were diet.”
Huh? Still, I was lost. “Nope. It is neither.”
I left, wondering how these two were going to make it in life—not my problem right now, but I think it could be a societal problem in the next fifty years or so (maybe less).
Are we dumbing down our populace?
This reminds me of my sister’s drive-through window experience as she ordered the half-dozen chicken nuggets (a food she has given up completely after watching Jamie Oliver’s show about how they are made—ugh!) The speaker reply was “We don’t sell them in half-dozens. You can pick six piece or nine piece…”
My sister decided she’d go with the six-piece item.
Or how about my bank teller not long ago who was completely clueless what to do with a check made out to “cash.” Don’t they have teller school???
And speaking of dumb, it runs to both ends of the financial spectrum. This week I saw a quote about Wal-mart attributed to Paris Hilton. “What’s Wal-mart? Do they sell wall stuff there?” (Do you think she was kidding?)
This may be just lack of exposure on Paris’ part, after all, why would she ever have occasion to shop in Wal-mart? although you’d think she would have sometime. And her vast wealth means that she stands to affect the nation’s policy far-and-away more that I will ever do.
Reminds me of reading a Jackie Kennedy bio wherein they discussed her total cluelessness about the cost of things. I remember an episode where she was being chastised over the food budget. She was quoted as saying “Well, how much can a can of green beans be? Three or four dollars at the most!” And this was in the 60’s. I have never thought of Jackie as dumb, but certainly she was out of touch with the rest of us ala Ms. Hilton.
But the result of a huge portion of our population being either ill-educated or of the “ruling” class (yes, their money has a lot of impact) being so out of touch with us middle-classers spells a huge problem to me. It is why you will never see me in a voter-registration drive—if they can’t get off their duffs and register themselves, like I did, then I don’t want them voting and making policy…
I just fear that we middle-classers will be squeezed between the ill-educated voters at one end and the out-of-touchers on the other into policy that is not good .
Well, that went unintendedly political. I’m done.
PS – speaking of ill-educated, I have to point out that I don’t think “unintendedly” is actually a word, but it sounds so “right” that I’m leaving it.