What’s This World Coming To?

I just got back from my local Fry’s store.  I am a regular midnight run kind’a gal, I will frequently go shopping after my late, nursing shifts.  I went in to scoop up their $1.37 a pound asparagus, duh, it’s Wednesday night, and the sales have changed.  Their ‘green asparagus’ is back up to $3.49 a pound, I did not buy any.  Fry’s was out of my favorite vegetable, green or otherwise, last night when I came in for the same reason.  Well, since I was there, I figured I may as well get a few items for the depths of the fridge–but not too many, because I had a coupon to save $5 if I spent $20, at our brand new, pretty, Fresh and Easy store.  They have interesting and tasty ready to roll foods, so it’s not hard to spend $20 at all.  I noticed that none of the cashier aisles were lit up, so I had to go to the self-checkout section.  There was a young man, maybe 17-18 years old, manning this part of the store.  I asked him “None of the aisles were open except for the self-checkout ones, is the cashier on break?”  “No, we’re trying to get the customers used to it, this is permanent”  I was taken aback.  “I just got done working a 12 and a half hour day, I don’t want to come to Fry’s, pay more money for my groceries and work some more to check them all out myself, I don’t WANT to get used to it!”  I was nice and explained that I wasn’t frustrated with him, I knew he didn’t make the rules, but that I wanted him to convey to the powers that be, that this customer didn’t want to get used to it.  I told him that I didn’t think that it was such a great idea to take away customer’s choices when Fry’s had the new Fresh and Easy stores breathing down their backs.  “Oh! They’re all about self-checkout!” he said in an excited way.  I realized then, that that is why Fry’s was making their grand cost cutting move–because that was what Fresh and Easy was doing, and being successful at.  He was helpful and got me through the bind of not finding the vegetables that I was trying to purchase on the picture chart (a good idea for our multicultural city, even if woefully incomplete).  He also pointed out that Fry’s had instituted a new policy of taking all competitors coupons and doubling or tripling them.  “Well how do you know if they are doubled or tripled?”  I asked, “Oh the machine is just supposed to figure it out automatically”.  I just happened to have one of those Fresh and Easy coupons-spend $20 and save $5.  So the young kid helped me to back track a little on the register and submit my coupon.  I had bought $20.06 and it took off $6, that doesn’t seem like double or triple the coupon value, but maybe they took off the Fry’s card discounts on the items and THEN assessed, who knows?  What I really want to know is what happened to the nice, older woman who checked me out last night?  Has she been laid off?  Have her hours been cut to make way for machines and the much smaller salary of this younger worker?  This shopping experience had an eerie resonance after I was made aware of all kinds of cutbacks made by my own company, today.  These ideas of work harder, longer, faster for the same amount of money, spend more for less, and work harder to do it at the grocery store, pay more for benefits and receive less for your efforts, place speed cameras all over the city-some in known locations, place some in surprise locations, these all lead me to a feeling of fighting to survive and control my life.  It feels like it’s getting harder to breathe every day.  Super Secret Back Up Support Agent has been trying to guide me through this highly reactivating part of my life; “Boo, you’re going to have to adjust your attitude or you won’t make it”  Words are easy, but the thing that is inspiring to me about SSBUSA, is that I witnessed her attitude readjustment over the last couple of weeks.  She did it reluctantly, but seems more at peace with her world.  I imagine that I need to do the same, because there are so many things that I can’t change.  Really, all I have control over is my reaction to the events and experiences of my life, that’s all.