Sock Monkey Prepares for Thanksgiving
Sock Monkey was excited about the upcoming holiday. Thanksgiving had always been one of his favorite celebrations. His keepers went all out decorating and cooking for days before the event and this always excited him. But this morning, he was a bit annoyed. Of course, he knew he had nobody to blame for his irritation but himself. He was the one who turned on the morning news to see reports about certain personalities complaining that the Thanksgiving holiday was “problematic” due to its origin in genocide.
“Sheesh,” the Simian thought. “Is there no tradition left that people will not go after?”
To his mind, it seemed that the naysayers were more intent on destroying any tradition that his people once held dear than they were in actually understanding their own history.
As he pulled into the parking lot for his local grocery store he was amazed by the number of cars that already filled the parking lot. He recalled that, not so very long, this very land on which the store stood, was once occupied by a nursery selling trees and plants. The cement, cars, and building stood as testament to the unfettered growth in the area and this made him sad, indeed. He recalled the refrain to that Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi” and silently sang its refrain: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
Sock Monkey grabbed a cart from the front of the store and entered its doors. He was surprised to spy the sea of people. It was only seven a.m.! He understood that this was the weekend before his favorite holiday and that the store would be more crowded than usual as a result, but that didn’t much soothe his irritation.
He turned to the right intent to see whether he had become a millionaire the night before, but the machine that dispensed lottery tickets already had a man feeding it - and three others waiting their turn, so, he passed them by and pushed his cart toward the fruits and vegetables. As he did so, he passed the locked cage that housed the cigarettes and his irritation grew as he realized that the spot that normally held his brand was empty.
“Great,” Sock Monkey thought. “The only reason I come here instead of the store down the street is to pick up the weekly supply of my addiction and, of course, they are out.”
He recalled the “good old days” when stores were not compelled to lock up such commonplace items and a customer could grab what they needed. Today, the cashier had to leave his her her post to retrieve the protected items - usually to the dismay of those in line wanting to pay and whose wait would now be longer. Sock Monkey did not understand the need to lock up these items. It was not as if they were the treasure of Fort Knox, after all.
He began going through his list and mentally ticking off the items he needed to purchase. This store, like so many these days, had scales that stood at the end of the bins so that the customer could weigh and label the price of their purchase themselves. They called it a convenience, but Sock Monkey secretly believed that the store was simply making its customers perform the duties that paid employees should. He considered requesting an employee discount from the cashier.
The screen on the first such scale was blank - clearly, not working. The second scale was out of labels. The third scale had a handwritten sign that read “broken”. Finally, he found a scale that worked and waited for the other customers to use it so that he could take his turn.
“If they want us to weigh and label our merchandise,” the thought, “then they should provide working tools to do so.”
He felt his irritation grow.
His vegetable order complete, Sock Monkey made his way through the meat section (he had already picked up his turkey) and then started up and down each aisle (as he did every week) picking up the items he knew that he would need. He ran the slalom of stockers wondering why they did not stock at night. When he was a young lad and did this same job, his shift was in the middle of the night before the store opened in the morning. This enabled him to complete his duties with no inconvenience the customers. That was not the case any longer. Now, customers had to dodge the workers as they tried to get to the wares. When this was added to the number of people pushing carts for the delivery service - a trend that had become quite popular in recent days - it made it nearly impossible to get through the aisles without having one minor accident or another with the carts.
Sock Monkey zigged and zagged his way down the aisles running the gauntlet of other shoppers who were doing the same and feeling as if he were at a carnival riding the bumper cars.
He was distraught when he came to the baking aisle and saw the number of people dotting the space between the stockers. These amateur chefs who cooked but once a year had no idea where to find what once was considered basic staples in any household - flour, corn starch, sugar, etc. Sock Monkey parked his cart at the end of the aisle and pushed his way through the crowd. He knew what he needed and exactly where it would be. He retrieved these items and returned to his cart to go down the next aisle, and then the next.
His dressing required a specific type of sausage. He went to the section that housed this item, but there was none. This was the third item on his list that this grocery store did not have. He gave up on the sausage and made his way to the dairy section.
Finally, with his cart complete, he went to the front of the store and stood in line to pay the cashier.
“Good morning,” he said to the teenager who only grunted and nodded in reply.
Sock Monkey paid his bill and took his groceries to his car.
As he pulled to the edge of the parking lot, he waited for eighteen vehicles to pass before he could safely turn right on the road feeling depressed by the large increase in traffic.
“My beloved home is being destroyed,” he thought.
He wanted nothing more than to go straight home. But there was the matter of those three items that he still needed. He drove down the street to the other grocery store and parked right up front. For whatever reason, its lot was not crowded at all.
When he entered the store, he felt a calm overtake him. There was none of the frenetic energy of that other place. He picked up a basket, quickly and easily found the items that he needed. There were no stockers in his way. There were no delivery personnel jockeying for position in the aisle. The other customers were calm and collected.
When he went to the cashier to purchase his items, the man behind the register greeted him with a friendly, “Hello, Sock Monkey! Good to see you again. Are you ready for your Turkey Day?”
“Almost,” Sock Monkey smiled in reply. A little more chitchat occurred as the cashier rang up his items and the bagger arranged them.
“Do you need help to your car?” the bagger asked.
Sock Monkey smiled and responded, “No thank you. I think I can handle the one bag.”
On his way out, he stopped at the customer service desk. The clerk commiserated with him that he was not the next millionaire, but congratulated him on winning the $8.00.