If I were alone in the world and needed a friend, the first place I’d go is the produce department of my local grocery store. I mean, have you ever noticed how the people who work in the produce department always—and I mean always—say hi and ask if they can help you?
Of all the places in the grocery store where I need help, it usually isn’t produce. I can tell a Fuji from a Granny Smith. I can divine whether a watermelon is ripe (mostly). I can even choose a darn fine head of iceberg lettuce.
And yet the one place in the entire store where you can’t avoid human contact is produce. Not dairy, where I would like to know why the price of butter has skyrocketed to roughly the value of gold. Not canned goods, where I can never locate those light red beans I need for chili. And certainly not the jam and jelly aisle, where I can’t find a three-berry jam to save my life.If you try to avoid eye contact because you just want some alone time with your radishes and corn, they’ll persist. You can’t escape them. “Are you finding everything?” “Oh yes, although I did have a bit of trouble with the snap peas. They seemed to be hiding behind the butter beans, but I scoped them out! Thanks, though.”
One of these days I’m going to ask the produce guy (or, rarely, the produce gal) exactly what they teach you in produce school. It has to be something like, “Every person who enters the produce department is either a complete idiot who has never seen anything green, red, or purple, or they’re desperately lonely and in need of a friendly smile. Now get out there and make the world a happier, more produce-filled place!”
When I do, I’ll let you know what he/she says.