Last Night I Went To The Supermarket.


Last night I went to the supermarket.

I prefer to shop at night for all sorts of reasons which we won’t go into now.

The girl who served me was very friendly, which was nice. I told her that I had been thinking, all day, that it was Thursday (it’s actually Friday. I know, but that happens to me sometimes), she laughed and said she did something similar last week. I think she was being kind and humouring the strange old bloke, but I appreciated her effort.

She did what all ‘checkout’ people do and packed my stuff into bags.

When she got to one particular bag she looked at me and said, “This is the bag with the eggs in it.”

I know that it doesn’t seem like much, but it is.

She takes pride in her job.

I do most of the shopping so I experience the ‘check out’ more often than my wife, and as I said, I prefer to shop at night so maybe the experience is different; a little more relaxed? Maybe, I don’t really know, but I do know that not every checkout person tells me which bag my eggs are in, and I appreciate the courtesy.


Recently I had an old compact cassette transferred to a digital recording.

The tape contained an interview I did with a man who worked in the music roll business from the 1930s through to the early 1950s.


I was in the Pianola business at the time and my dad and I restored the machines and the music rolls that went with them. Somehow (I don’t remember how) I found this guy. He was in his 80s and living with his son and his wife. They were amazed that I wanted to interview this old man who they probably thought was not that special. He was to me, he had a crystal-clear memory of how the Broadway Piano Roll Company worked. He ran the production side of the business until the owner, Len Luscombe, died suddenly.

The guy who did the tape transfer is an interesting guy and we did the ‘miss each other dance’ for quite a while before I got to collect the disc. When I did eventually pick it up I found that he had made me an extra copy and printed out a heap of information on piano rolls that he got from the internet, as well as a full colour photograph of a very rare machine (which came from the Broadway factory) which was used to record the master roll when Luscombe would make a new recording.


He didn’t charge me for any of this stuff, he was just so intrigued by the subject matter on the tape that he just wanted to.

The world is full of people who are trying to ‘do the minimum’ or to ‘get out of something’, so it comes as a delightful surprise when you find someone who takes pride in what they do. 


None of the photos in this essay are mine, they were all sourced from the internet.


11 thoughts on “Last Night I Went To The Supermarket.

  1. So many of us think people with jobs in the grocery et al have them simply as a means to an end. We all care about getting our eggs home intact, don’t we? Noticing the eggs are in a precarious scenario is indicative of her care and concern and involvement in her daily work to be sure. Ask her to move to America!


    • Thank you for the comment.
      What are you doing awake? Isn’t it the middle of the night where you are?
      Amazingly most of the people who work in the supermarkets I go to seem to be reasonably happy. Again it might have something to to with my late night shopping habits. It has been my experience that people who work at night mostly do so because they choose it (I used to be one of these ‘work at night people’).
      There is a whole other world out there when it comes to night jobs. One of my son’s mates has been on night shift for ten years. I briefly had a dream job working on a Friday and Saturday night from 5pm till 2am. The money was reasonable but it was a slightly dangerous spot to work. There was heaps of security around while I was at work but I still had to get home!


      • Hi Terry! It was 2 am here and i fell asleep before you could even write this reply 🙂 I love the was Friday night!
        I like writing at night much like you like to work and shop at night. It is peaceful..


    • Yes it is……… sometimes I forget and it occures to me later…… that’s annoying. Helps if I have to go back at some time then I can give an extra big smile…….. which can be a bit frightening!


  2. The key is to be that person when you can. To give of yourself when people (sadly) do not expect it anymore. As a foreigner in Sweden, I am often doing these things, extending help and gratitude to the Swedes, who are constantly shocked…but only because this culture believes in privacy, not to interfere with others. Sigh.


    • Sigh indeed.
      Thats a tough one………. cultural differences. I’m a firm believer in being one’s self. Good people notice and they will always cut you some slack if you are new to their country. Good people are good like that.
      Thank you for the comment and keep on ‘being that person’.


  3. I agree. Most people would get a ‘barely passing grade’ if life were school. It is a real pleasure to meet those few who are striving for excellence.


    • I find it interesting that even if I am tired or distracted I always notice if someone is giving a little more. It’s a kind of radar. A bit of extra attention from them or me noticing, can make everybody’s day.


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