Thursday, December 29, 2005

Stupor Stop & Shop, 1 of 2

South Bay, Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts is not a Fort Point Channel or even a Beacon Hill in terms of trendiness. Yet, locals have enough to confuse them now and suddenly.

In case you stay in whites only areas of Boston, you may never have been to this blue-collar pass-through parking lot. It has the middle and lower-middle class pleasers – Target, Marshalls, Home Depot, Toys R Us, Old Navy and like that, as Kojak used to say. It has a slightly elevated profile very recently too because it is home of the largest of the Super 88 oriental supermarkets, the ones that dare to defy the Blue Laws and open on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Now it is also in that most vicious of merchandising games. No, it’s not bait-and-switch specials, nor even promoting a holiday three months in advance.

The shocking truth is that the anchor grocery, Stop & Shop, is offering too many choices and befuddling the cart rollers.

S&S had a perfectly fine, quite large enough, Super S&S. It just replaced that with an even more super Super S&S 100 yards across the parking lot.

To visit is to see how little evolving humans have accomplished and to know that multitasking is a self-delusion for nearly all of us. It is not just the grandfatherly and anile who are stunned and overloaded by options. They are the most obvious because of their slowness, but teens and older share their dysfunction.

Over a decade ago, the elderly began asking me or anyone who looked their way how to find the predictable among the cornucopia. “Can you just show me where the corn flakes are?” is a typical plea.

These are the same folk who clutch their carts with cliff-hanging grips. God forbid they leave their gathered goods even five feet away. Their cart, their very own cart, must stay within reach. Otherwise, who knows what might happen. The evil polo-shirted employees might return their boxes to shelves. Another customer might make off with their treasures.

Continued tomorrow in part 2.

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