On January 3, 2003 by Eden M. Kennedy

Ten Reasons Why I’m Not Going To The Fancy Ralph’s On Carrillo Blvd. Any More

10. Insane Cashiers They are either insane, clinically depressed, insanely clinically rude and stupid, weirdly grumbly, or clinically depressed and medicated into a state of zombielike pseudoefficiency. Also, I think the assistant manager is one step away from suicide.

9. Paper or Plastic? Whatever your response, you’ll get the opposite.

8. Bad Bagging Aesthetic And then the bagging guy will put the six-pack, the canned peaches, the gallon of milk, and the prize-winning pumpkin in the same bag, while the other bag gets a roll of paper towels and a baby-size toothbrush. This happens so consistently that last time I actually got down on the floor in front of the bagging guy and repacked everything into two bags of equal weight.

7. Did I Say Stupid Yet? One cashier wouldn’t take my hard-earned, bought-$200-worth-of-alcohol, in-store wine coupon because I was trying to buy champagne with a wine coupon. Notwithstanding the fact that I’ve done it a dozen times before. “They’re the same thing!” I shouted. “Grapes! Wine! They’re the Same! Fucking! Thing!” I continued in my head. Which would have been better, shouting-wise. Always the editor.

6. They Never Have Basil or Italian Parsley And I either have to drag Jackson through another store to get them, or go home empty-handed and get beaten. Again.

5. Or My Favorite Kind of Salad-in-a-Bag And the tomatoes always suck. But they have acres of eentsy weentsy micro-vegetables that no one north of West Hollywood eats, so the display stays dewy fresh and attractively untouched.

4. No Water Machines To live here is to buy drinking water. I actually once heard a member of the water board describe how to make our tap water “drinkable” by putting it into a jug, leaving it out on the counter for twenty-four hours “to dispel the chlorine taste,” and then putting it in the refridgerator (presumably to give it a nice your-box-of-baking-soda-has-expired, hot-doggy flavor). So if your grocery store doesn’t have a water machine, that’s either another extra trip or another beating. You see what I’m saying.

3. Are You Done Yet? But I haven’t mentioned the below-store parking garage and the elevators that you can roll your cart right into! The elevators with two buttons to choose from: “P” and “G.” P for Parking? G for Garage? Oh, no! We’re trapped for all eternity in Ralph’s Elevator of Hell! Oh, wait, maybe G is for ground? Would that be above-ground Ground or below-ground Ground? Either way, you’re going to push the wrong button. Trust me.

2. Let’s Face It, It’s a Parking Nightmare I once saw two cars angling for the same spot. The BMW guy almost got the spot, but then this nasty Suburban-driving bear-rassling bully leaned out his window and said, repeatedly, with different scary I-live-in-a-shack-and-mail-bombs-to-the-university inflections, “Do you wanna die young? Do you. Want. To die young?” Over and over and over and over and over and over again. He got the spot. I think at that point the BMW guy left not just the parking lot but probably the state.

1. They Have Those Teeny Shopping Carts for Kids Which is the one reason I go there. Jackson loves to careen all over the store and fill his cart with things we don’t need, like unripened avocados and horrible new kinds of crackers. But he’s really learning to steer the thing, and he gets all excited about it, so what can you do? Go home, take your beating, eat your teeny weeny vegetables, and pray.

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