Over the course of her long and well-developed lifetime, Mother Goose has done some serious grocery shopping. I have pushed my cart up and down the aisles of most grocery stores in the Chicagoland area and beyond. I frequent the cheap stores, the healthy stores, the average stores and the neighborhood corner stores. And yes, truly, I am a professional Mystery Shopper for a large chain of grocery stores!
And yet nothing could have prepared Mother Goose for the experience last weekend at the Standard Market in Westmont, IL. The entrance looked nice enough. Pretty standard.
We went inside.
Immediately, Mother Goose was struck by the bright colors and the lighting and the wide open spaces. There was beauty all around me. I began snapping pictures left and right. Husband Goose soon distanced himself from me and shopped unobtrusively as can be. On the other hand, Mother Goose was gasping for breath and running from one department to another, flapping and honking and making quite a scene. As you admire my photos, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement.
Other shoppers seemed so blase about the grocery experience! Couldn’t they look around them at the wonders abounding? Didn’t they see the gorgeous displays with the innocence of a childlike goose? Were they not struck with the expansive magnificence and fresh appeal of this grocery store? Were they immune to the unique and wordless vistas surrounding them? Was Mother Goose the only one in the place who knew a pretty thing when she saw one?
Needless to say, it was anything but standard…
So there I was, blissfully capturing these images of the displays and departments with my smallish and nearly inconspicuous phone camera. The apples direct from the Garden of Eden, the artisanal cheeses from humble ruminants of the world, the charcuterie and various sausages, the seafood which had just swum in from wide blue oceans, the Sushi man with his kind and understanding smile, the sweet and savory curiosities of the bakery, the cases full of fresh flesh and mighty meats.
The Standard Market was a sight for sore eyes.
The comestible balloon of Mother Goose was harshly popped by the dour-faced woman behind the counter of the sausage display.
Husband Goose was quietly asking for a couple of polish weinerwurst and some sweet Italian salsiccia — Mother Goose was standing several yards away from him to spare him much embarrassment at my “unshopperlike” behavior. Somehow this elder lady of sour visage coupled us a a pair and proceeded to loudly admonish dear Husband Goose for the photographic actions of his wife.
“She’s not allowed to take pictures in this store!”
Suddenly the Standard Market became as silent as the grave. Benign suburban shoppers moved away from us, covering the eyes of their children. We stood alone, condemned by a sausage woman.
Mother Goose quickly slipped her phone into her large coat pocket and looked up towards the faraway ceiling as though she might spot a hot air balloon on the horizon if she only looked hard enough.
With our tails between our legs (if that is possible for a goose), we moved in the direction of the ultra modern checkout area, and quietly paid the price for shopping in this paradise (more than $75.00 for only seven items). Eyes downcast, we headed out the door clutching our small package of edibles and foodstuffs. Embarrassment followed us out to the car, other customers pointed fingers and whispered.
We vowed never to return to this place of our shame.
As with most of the stories that Mother Goose tells, there is a lesson to be learned.
When you shop at the Standard Market, leave your camera at home, but DO bring your BIG purse…