Tarheeltalker

What do you think of Food Lion?

Food Lion is the primary place for grocery shopping in our community. Almost every time I go there, I  maintain that I am not going back. To backtrack a bit, we have three Food Lion stores locally and one is not too bad, one is terrible and one is sort of in the middle. Of course, the most convenient one is the worst of the three. Admittedly, in a town our size, none of the three is that far nor are my other options, Wal-Mart (aka the evil place) and Farm Fresh.

So, my wife wonders, why do I continue to torture myself by returning to my worst option? Believe me, I wish that I knew. Other than  force of habit and proximity, there is no discernible reason.

I suppose I should at the least attempt to justify my somewhat negative feelings toward Food Lion before I mail back my MVP card, ironically one of my smaller peeves. I have come to believe that customer service is either a misnomer at Food Lion or that they just do not care. There are often too few checkout lines open and those that are  often do not have  someone available to bag one’s  groceries.  Cashiers routinely come very close to completely  ignoring the customer or they  carry on a running conversation with  someone nearby, often a non-customer.

I suppose that a case could be made that the things are irritating to me reflect the fact that my  first job was in a grocery store and if my memory serves me correctly we were held to a higher standard. But my wife is also irritated from time to time though not as regularly as I seem to be.

I have wondered if the behavior at Food Lion reflects the fact that they feel they are either the only available choice or the default choice, in a  sense, for most shoppers. Perhaps that is why that purchased the locations of a former grocery store here in town to prevent their being occupied by a competitor. Ironically, one of these sites has finally been sold and the other is on the market. This action came after along period of vacancy for these buildings.

And to help in my decision, one of other shopping options gives us old folks a small discount  at certain times. Seems that it is time to move on.

September 13, 2011 Posted by | economy, Shopping | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Am I insane?

I have heard it said that a sign of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting  a different result. Based solely on that criteria I may be crazier than I  sometimes seem to be. I shall attempt to illustrate my situation by virtue of three examples, two of which can be grouped together.

          Exhibit A

From time to time while delivering mail, I will stop at a fast food establishment for some refreshment. Today was one of those days. My mistake, alas,  was in the place I chose. Hardee’s  and  I have not had a very good relationship in recent years primarily due to the excruciatingly service that seems to be their trademark . And so it was today. Here I am,the only customer  in the building and I waited almost 5 minutes, finally departing with no beverage. Having had these experiences several times, it begs the question, why do I continue to subject myself to this?  See title.

Exhibits B & C

Our next two examples fall into the same category. In our little town of Elizabeth City one is frequently encouraged, nay admonished to shop at home. The  multiple benfits to the local economy are extolled, etc. However, although I agree with this sentiment to  a point, I have had two instances  withinh the last severral days that  are changing my opinion, On the verge of runbning out of  ink on our computer printer, we went to  our local Office Max only to discover that they had every kind of Dell ink cartridge imaginable save the one we needed. Wal-Mart, same result, Ordered it from Dell, got it in 2 days. The secpnd example concerned my faothful companion, The World Almanac and Book of Facts, which I have bought the last few years. Lo, and behold, no one locally seems to have it, Yet another, aarrgh!!!

So, do my behaviors indicate a  problem severe enough to require me to never shop again? Or, do I resort exclusively to the online world( except for food)? Yet another unfathomable dilemma.

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Business, Culture | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating Jobs- one at a time

Dr Margaret Mead

Unlike some folks I know, I have yet to have a job that I ” loved.” I have had jobs that I liked better than others and there is much that I like about my current occupation. As I begin to think about retirement in  a few years, I am considering the possibility of maybe  a little part-time work, just to have something to do. Having already eliminated greeter at Wal-Mart, I have been pondering other options and may have come up with something that I could ” love.”

As far as I know, this particular job does not exist so I am  sort of flying blind here on specifics but that will come  soon enough. But I do have a title and I have a couple of role models, the late Dr Margaret Mead and Dame Jane Goodall. Following in their footsteps, I propose the position of celebrity anthropologist. Dr Mead was known as  a cultural anthropologist so I believe that I am simply attempting to build on her work.

So, in this position I would endeavor to observe celebrities in their natural habitats as much as possible, without being obtrusive. No paparazzi stuff ! Of course, it would require some monitoring of their mating rituals, courtship and the like. Travel would be a big  job requirement as  their migratory patterns are very important. Social interaction between celebrities as well as interaction between them and those of other species would be necessary also. Of course, it would require study as to how they behave and why and how they adapt to change. Examples, when a movie flops or tv show is cancelled,etc. The best thing is that I would be creating a job, something the Obama Administration could celebrate. Perhaps  I would be eligible for stimulus money? Anything is possible.

Dame Jane Goodall

June 13, 2010 Posted by | economy | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Forgotten Holiday

Wanted to get this out a little ahead of time. My far and away #1 candidate for the most forgotten holiday is Thanksgiving. Overwhelmed by the growth in Halloween preparation and paraphernalia on the one hand and the holiday shopping season on the other, the humble day of thanks has no chance. Perhaps it even should get a new name. Oh, how about Holiday Shopping Eve. Since the Friday afterwards is known as Black Friday and people must shop or else, it makes perfect sense. Rest up on Thursday, forget the big meal and hit the mall and Wal-Mart  ASAP.

In my family, I am sometimes indicted as one who “hates” holidays, modern-day Scrooge, if you will. But Thanksgiving, now that is one that I like. Can’t really eat as I once could, but that’s not  a problem. The food is just a backdrop, I think for the reconnecting with family that we wish were more commonplace.

I remember with great fondness songs like, “Come, Ye Thankful People Come and  “Over the river and through the wood”. If my memory does not totally fail me, we even sang some of those in elementary school. Not so sure that would happen today.

I know, I know all of the stories about the 1st Thanksgiving are not 100% accurate but there are elements from  that day that remain with us. The day itself has only been a federal holiday since 1941 and who knew what was going to happen in just a couple of weeks. obviously, there are stong religious  underpinnings but the day is much more secular now than religious. Wonder how long it has been since families actually started eating out  on Thanksgiving, have even done  that myself. Perhaps the pressure to create a culinary masterpiece has just become  too great. Here’s  a thought, it doesn’t have to be  a biiiggg deal meal to be a time for thanks. I will admit that Snoopy’s thanksgiving meal left  a bit to be desired though.

I understand that the First Family does not give Christmas gifts to their children and that’s ok. Hope they celebrate Thanksgiving though. And, if you need a little extra something for which to give  thanks, try this link, militaryfamiliespray. That could include those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ft Hood and… you get the picture.

November 17, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Holidays | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Vote?

Short question that could generate  a virtually  unlimited number of answers, I guess. Because we are supposed to, I don’t know, it’s the American way, use it or lose it, to get my candidate elected, to defeat the candidate I don’t like, etc. I know there are many more, some very meaningful and others not so much.

I read one yesterday that I don’t think I had seen before, but upon reflection, it may be all too common. But I hope that it isn’t.

There was  a meeting or forum, I guess here in our community a couple of days ago at Elizabeth City State University. The event was hosted by the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus and featured 9  state legislators addressing  and listening to  a packed auditorium of ECSU students. Brief historical reference here. I applaud the legislators for holding the event  and the students for attending in such good numbers. i am not so sure that a similar event held when I was  a college student would have done nearly as well.

So, the meeting was  agood idea and  a good opportunity for give and take between the legislators and the assembled students. One question and its answer intrigued me just a bit. One student asked what was one supposed  to do when the local community did not support his university? His question was apparently based on his statement that the local Wal-Mart stocked apparel and  merchandise from East Carolina University in Greenville (about 2 hours away) and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (about 3 hours away). Ok, a legitimate question for him. But the answer which I might have expected would deal with retail or economic issues, was  a surprise.

The answer came from Rep Alma Adams of Guilford County. This is what she said.”You can control everything that’s going on by making sure that you vote.” She added that “if you sit down, if you don’t vote, people will continue to do what they want to do.”

Perhaps, I mis-interpreted her answer but it seemed to me that she was saying the reason to vote is control. If you want to control what is going on you vote. If you choose not to vote, you relinquish that control.

Very interesting response, I thought.

November 1, 2009 Posted by | Culture, economy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pat Yourself on the Back

Yes indeed. If you are a resident of the great state of North Carolina or someone who shops within its boundaries, you owe yourself  a word of congratulations. You see, you are  helping to solve the budget crisis in which the state  has found itself. Kinda makes you a hero and I bet you didn’ t even realize it. But it’s true. How are you doing this? Just by acting  naturally as Buck Owens sang a number of  years ago.

On September 1, a number of new laws took effect. One of these was  a 1% increase in the sales tax. Just snuck that rascal in there with very little fanfare. Who will notice,right? But this magic bullet will, according to estimates raise some $800 million for  the  ole state treasury. And we are making it happen. Going  to the grocery store, to those “evil” fast food establishments, buying whatever it is one must buy at Wal-Mart.

As always in the world of government, things are not quit what they seem. Gov. Perdue and  the legislature could not get tax reform done so this temporary tax increase was their answer. Yep, it will expire in 2011. But what about that temporary tax increase from 2001 that is still there. Don’ t worry. it must be in your mind. Oh and for  smokers and drinkers, the so called sin tax went up a swell. It will cost more to light up an drink up. Cigarettes increased 45 cents/pack  with other tobacco products going up about 13%. Alcoholic beverages  have varying increases  based on the type of beverage.

The governor stated that the increase would help keep teachers and other workers on the job. That is a good thing, right? What is  a few pennies here and there? Answer, about $150-$200 annually. Pay up and enjoy doing your part to keep those Raleigh wheels turning.

Remember, it’s just a temporary tax. If you believe that, I believe I have some attractively priced swamp land to sell you. Going fast!

September 3, 2009 Posted by | economy, Shopping | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Evil Plastic Bag

You’ve seen them, you’ve used them. They are somewhat ubiquitous in our country. The plastic bag. The grocery store, Wal-Mart, restaurant take out and on and on. Some people even use them as low cost garbage bags at home. Good or bad? Oh, they are somewhere else as well. Look on the roadside, any roadside, vacant lot, etc. They must have the power to travel on their own; how else could they get so many places?

Most people would concur that there are too many of them. I usually get many more than needed every time I go the grocery store. So, the grocery thoughtfully provides a  container for us to recycle said bags. Are these use, oh yeah. Many bags seem to be recycled. So what is the problem? There are evidently, still way too many flying free.

What to do? Answer, tax them, of course. Add a stick to  the carrot of imploring people to use reusable bags . That’s what state Senator Marc Basnight, D, Dare County, NC is proposing. He is advocating a tax of 10-20 cents per bag in at least 3 ( Dare, Currituck, Hyde) of our state’s counties. The money would go towards education( of course, who could ever disagree with that) . He said that he would rather the tax raised no money which would mean that  no plastic bags were being  used.

So, it sounds good , does it not? Behavior  change by taxation , if we are lucky, maybe it will bring about some  good behavior . Just a few questions though.

  • Why not do it statewide
  • Spend the money on the environment, the schools have the lottery, right?
  • 2,500,000 used annually in Dare with 5% recycled, where are the rest(souvenirs, perhaps)
  • Who will benefit from the tax
  • Who will be harmed
  • Where are the old brown paper bags

Certainly the honorables in Raleigh will make wise choices. Oh well, off to the grocery store, don’t worry, I will use the minimum number of plastic bags. You do the same!

Check out  these two slightly different sources.

Vancouver Sun

Plastic Bag Association

May 7, 2009 Posted by | economy, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

So You Survived, Now What

I shall make the risky assumption that since you are reading this you actually survived the Christmas crunch safe and sound . So, now for the time being no Wal-Martitis, no wall-to-mall crowds and no online shopping frenzy.

On the off chance that you did not get what you asked Santa C for, I shall endeavor to perform a community service and make some suggestions.

  • The Limbaugh Letter for all the political commentary that one could ask for along with some of the coolest stupid quotes, downside is that it only comes out once a month .
  • Virtually anything Carolina blue, but be careful to be tasteful and not gaudy
  • Joel Rosenberg books, start with The Last Jihad and proceed forward.He writes in an entertaining style and things about which he writes have this uncanny way of coming true.
  • NCIS videos, buy them anywhere you choose, best to begin with season 1 but first five seasons are on dvd
  • Donate to a charity or cause of your choosing in honor or memory of someone else, cant go wrong with that one .

Happy post Christmas !

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Culture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Lessons are Hard to Learn

My upfront apologies to those of you who are Wal-Mart fans and that seems to be most of the world, civilized and otherwise . I made the mistake of going to  what my daughter-in-law allows me to call ” the evil place ” which is supposed to prevent  me from always proclaiming a litany of reasons why I dont like to go there or why I’m sorry to actually be there .

Well, today for the sake of saving a fistful of dollars ( bonus points for remembering who starred in the movie ) I made the long arduous trek . Should have sensed the bad vibes when on the way I heard a mom profanely berating  her child for her attitude ( imagine that ) and threatening to return all her presents . I know , I know should  have made a  hasty retreat  but no .

Finally , I made my purhases and proceeded to spend an interminable time in line with actually  only 2-3 people ahead of me .  Here’s the most interesting part of the evening . On the way out I kept seeing more and more law enforcement personnel of assorted kinds for no obviously discernible reason . When driving away , I observed probably 15 of their vehicles parked in the euphemistically named no parking zone .

Conclusion, major crime ongoing or a really  big sale on doughnuts and coffee. Just kidding . Ha ha . Probably just Christmas shopping together .

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Holidays | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment