Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Vanquishing the Salad Bar Witch

It's 1:25. I've spent most of my lunch hour trying to figure out what the 'Jiffy' means in 'Jiffy Lube.' It certainly doesn't mean 'performing service at a reasonable speed.' Three guys, one car, and the most amount of effort they seem to exert is in trying to sell me extras that would triple the cost of an oil change.

On the way back to work, I decide to grab a salad at a local supermarket. There's a decent salad bar, loaded with three types of lettuce, mushrooms, chopped onion, shredded carrots, broccoli, feta cheese, grilled chicken strips, and those fake bacon bits that wedge themselves into a recess of a molar and give your tongue a good twenty-minute workout dislogding them during the afternoon. Yum.

There's also pickled eggs, tuna salad, jello, peaches in syrup, baby corn, and glops and glops of mayonnaise-laden starches that, for me, stretch the meaning of the word 'salad' until it's near useless.

I guess that's why the salad bar was stocked with plastic three-compartment clamshell containers. They're there for those patrons of the salad bar who wish a variety of salad-like substances for their lunches.

I do not desire three salads. I'm not a three salad guy. I'm a one big salad guy, and those containers annoy me. Sometimes, this store will have similarly-sized one-compartment containers, which are great. Otherwise, I pack my salad into the three compartments and grumble as I suck bacon bits out of my teeth.

Another feature of this store is that, right next to the salad bar, there's an olive bar. An olive bar. An entire serve-yourself island devoted to the fruit of the mediterranian. Greek olives. Black olives. Calamatta olives. Dried olives. Chopped olives. Green olives. Olives with feta. Olives with onion. Three olive mixes. Olives, olives, olives!

And, set out at this olive bar, are the perfect containers for my salad. Deep, quart-sized, but with a wide bottom. I can put my big salad in it, dollop a bit of dressing over it, and have plenty of room to do the shakey mixey thing. But it's not at the salad bar. It's at the olive bar.

Most days, I would just grab the three-compartment containter and grumble. But not today. Jiffy-lube lunch day deserves a salad done right. Are there really that many people in town that want a quart of olives? I ask myself. No, there aren't, I answer, and I grab the container and get busy.

I'm at the chicken-strip phase when the Salad Bar Witch appears. She pretends that the chick-peas needed a good prodding, but she's really there to point out the error of my ways.

"That's the wrong container," she tells me.

"Excuse me?" I ask.

"We use these containers for our salads," she points out the trifurcated plastic stacked up next to the croutons.

Most days, I probably would have said "Okay," and gone on with my life. But not on Jiffy-Lube day. "I like this container better," I said, and continued on to the feta. Apparently that wasn't the right answer.

"These are the containers for our salads," she repeated, a little louder, causing the other two or three grazers to stop and watch. She picked up a container from the inverted stack, apparently assuming I was too dense to know that they could be separated. "That container's for our olive bar."

I looked over at the olive bar. While the olive bar was well-stocked with olive and containers, it was noticeably light in the consumer department. The grazers, and now a few produce shoppers were watching me now. "Those containers have three compartments," I said. "I only want one salad."

"Then we turn our container over," she demonstrated with her container. The half-inch high lid would be overflowing with the amount of salad I now had in my ersatz salad holder, but that didn't matter to the salad bar witch. She smiled, triumphantly.

"That's stupid," I said. Why should I eat my salad out of the lid of one piece of plastic, when I can use this one? Is it a different plastic? Does it cost more?"

She glowered, then brightened. "Well, it will cost you more," she said. She pointed to a little sticker on the lid, and laughed. "That's going to be rung up at five dollars a pound!"

The reason why the Salad Bar Witch had the time to plague me is because so many of the traditional things done by supermarket employees are now done by the customers themselves. I put my container on the salad bar scale, which dutifully recorded the weight, and spit out a barcode sticker, which gave the correct price for the weight, and completely covered the other sticker.

I smiled at the witch, and proceeded to the check out. I wonder if she cursed me as I left. She must have. I still have a bacon bit in my molar.



Blogger mal said...

!@#$@ I think I would have ratted her out to her management.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

good for you

7:50 AM  
Blogger Timmy said...

lmao "salad witch" too funny!

9:13 AM  
Blogger Notsocranky Yankee said...

Way to go! Next time it shouldn't even need to be a Jiffy Lube day.

I changed the oil in my car the other day and I bet I was quicker than those jiffy lube guys! A little sand in my eyes, some oil on my sleeve, but much less hassle.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

AAARRGGHH! Rules! So hard to live with rules!!!!

8:06 PM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

I can live with rules if they make sense.

Look both ways before crossing? Good rule.

Never run wish scissors? I'm down with that.

But plastic's plastic. Olive bar be damned.


9:06 PM  
Blogger Rowena said...

This was a mini Michael-Douglas-In-Falling-Down moment BP. Hilarious.

7:19 AM  
Blogger John Good said...

Lol. .that's why I always stick with the Chinese buffets. Well, that and the fact that I am quite partial to fried schnauser.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

I prefer teriaki schnauzer on a stick, john.

A long time ago, I made a commercial for an Indian Restaurant. The owner wrote his own copy, part of which read "Indian food is healthy food! Low in fat and high in protein." Which immediately was changed by me to: "Indian food is healthy food! Low in fat, and high in cat."


11:24 AM  
Blogger Gef said...

Yes that sure is true. BTW did you see my new pup from Darksky Alaskan Malamutes? He's a real spunk.
Have a great one


9:08 AM  
Blogger Gef said...

In the day and age where people are so secretive I really appreciate you sharing your true thoughts.

Sean Cody

9:48 PM  

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