I shop at a huge supermarket/organic food combination store in Bozeman, MT. Their organic department is quite good. I was going to remake a delicious Chicken Tikka Masala recipe from Bon Appetit’s April issue. I had made it the night before to much praise by finicky husband. I had all the exotic ingredients like Garam Masala, turmeric, chiles de arbol, cardamon pods. I did not have Ghee (clarified butter) and was told to substitute vegetable oil. It also said to use yogurt but not Greek. I only had Greek.
So the point and relevance is coming, I promise you.
I am standing starring at the yogurt section. Oddly, there now is very little old type yogurt. Mostly Greek. As I’m pondering, the usual helpful employee asks if there is something she can help me with. I usually say, “No, I’m fine”. This time I mentioned there being no “regular” yogurt. She explains the difference between them is mostly texture and how she has a hard time eating regular because the thickness of the Greek is so satisfying. I tell her that I used the yogurt with the Indian spices to marinate the chicken. We both pondered and decided to stick with the Greek since I had more of a variety of container size and whatever was left over I could eat. I then showed her the jar of Ghee and asked about using that or the vegetable oil. She immediately said, “Oh, the Ghee, of course.”
I thanked her profusely and went on my way to checkout where the bagger asked if he could assist me to the car (whispering as they always do), “I’d like to get outside. It’s so nice out.” We chit chat all the way to the car.
I realized that the woman who helped me probably felt some satisfaction in helping me and it was a nice change from stacking shelves. And with finally a nice sunny day, who wouldn’t want to get outside and see the beautiful snowy mountains and breathe fresh air?
Then off to Costco I went where the same people have been helping me for 15 years. The same woman admires my flowers and I tell her that they last at least two weeks. I talk to the checkout guy and ask how his son with cystic fibrosis is doing. He has insurance which is much needed.
Why would anybody shop at Wal-Mart other than hoarders of cheap crap?
By the way, our local store is not all that great although it’s trying for more “organic” and the check out people are mostly kids or tired looking adults who none the less do smile and ask “How’s it goin’?”
I do wish the “big” stores had lower ceilings and didn’t feel so…well…big. But the happy helpful staff makes up for that. (Although I do wish the bagger last week hadn’t coughed and sneezed all the way to the car. No paid sick days?) And I do wish the smaller stores weren’t so strapped that they can’t afford to pay decent wages to their workers so that they felt more like…well… “staff”.