The paper aisle and the pumice effect
OK I have tried to NOT write about the shoppers at DG, but it’s just built up to the point that I have to do it. Our store has been emptied of anything that might be considered a necessity. I mean, they even took the dust! So when our trucks came in today, we had miles of empty shelf space to fill. Anyone that has busted stock at DG knows that you put out paper as soon as it comes in. Toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue, paper napkins, cups, bowls…this makes up the paper aisle. So there I was, working in the paper aisle, when I noticed that the older the customer, the more they window shop. I swear to you, every woman over the age of 40 that walked down that aisle had to stop at each individual 4 foot section and look at each and every type of paper there. They didn’t actually buy any of it, mind you. They just looked.
OK I can understand things like paper plates, and maybe even facial tissue, as you flip through your mental rolodex and decide if you need it, want it, and can get it cheaper somewhere else. Where I got caught off guard was the toilet paper. Most people are brand-loyal when it comes to the old butt floss. I am a Charmin kind of a girl, myself. Soft but sturdy. No danger of it falling apart, causing a rash, or getting scratched from the occasional wood chip embedded in the cheaper papers, ya know? John Wayne I ain’t. Today I watched person after person walk through and study each and every kind of toilet paper we had with fierce intent, only to stroll away without making a selection. What the hell? It made me wonder just exactly what they were looking for. Inspiration, for Christ sake? That’s what they make laxatives for, and they are one the right hand center aisle, 12 feet down, 2nd shelf from the bottom, just above the Preparation H. Usually what inspires me to buy toilet paper is the knowledge that not a single day goes by that I don’t need it, and I get a little worried when I get down to the last 4 rolls, because it’s one of those items you just don’t want to run out of.
The other thing about toilet paper shoppers that just boggles my mind is how many of them pick up a pack of toilet paper, only to discard it somewhere else in the store. Do you think you won’t need it at some point?? Especially considering where you might find the discarded paper. Stuck on the shelf next to the dried prunes. Yep, you are going to regret that decision. Same for the pack left shoved behind the 3 pound bag of dried pinto beans. I think some people are just too dumb to get out their own door without a map and a guide. This leads me to the pumice effect.
Working in a retail store like DG will make you think things you never wanted to. I once found a double pack of douche stuck in the sugar. Would you like to tell me the thought process on that one? You’re initial thought was that you needed that douche, and I would go with that thought. I can only imagine the woman that decided she needed sugar for her tea, and HEY! Maybe I can just brew up my own cooter cleanser, and sugar will give it that nice pumice effect. Sort of like lava soap, only with a better flavor. This was followed by a mental image of the trip to the gynecologist’s office to get treated for fruit fly infestation. Or the conversation with her husband, “Look, honey, you want something this sweet, you just gonna have to put up with a few gnats!” Trust me ladies, go with the initial impulse. Buy the douche. Really.
Then there was the little old lady that walked up to my register a few months ago with three things in her little yellow shopping basket. She had a large jar of Vaseline, a tube of Preparation H, and one of those clip strip sample packs of His n hers KY jelly. My mind just screamed “LET ME PAINT YOU A PICTURE!” Her husband finally creeps up behind her, leaning heavily on his walker, breathing hard around the nasal cannula forcing oxygen into his lungs. I lost the ability to think for days after. I just don’t want to go there.