First, happy Valentines Day to everybody who reads this.
Yesterday the highlight of my day was a little grocery shopping at Food Lion in Valdese. I've written about Food Lion before, and the alternate universe qualities of the experience, but just because I've written about something before has never stopped me from writing about it again.
Food Lion is a mid-sized supermarket (meaning it's not small by any means, but I've seen larger), in a small town. It is the ONLY supermarket in town, for a couple of years now. And though it's not that far to Morganton or Cajah's Mountain or even Hickory, most of the time Food Lion is where people in town end up going for their groceries.
If the people of Valdese were water, Food Lion would be the water purification plant.
If the people of Valdese the dark matter of space, then Food Lion would be a quantum anomaly where the universe contracts and expands simultaneously.
And so on.
Eventually everybody in town is going to go in there, buy something and leave. Because of that Food Lion of Valdese is a very big fish in a small pond. It exerts enormous influence.
The influence starts when you enter the store. Although there are no signs, no requirements and no physical barriers, the physical layout strongly encourages you to go to the produce section immediately after entering. You'd have to make a conscious effort to go any other way. Then once in the produce section, the physical layout strongly encourages you to go down the aisle at the end of the store. No physical barrier keeps you from going any other way, but you would have to make an effort. So you head down that aisle, and before you know it you are in the far corner of the store - right where they want you. The more you walk around, the more you buy.
Everybody in Valdese is subject to this subtle behavior control. Food Lion - the great leveler.
And it is a great leveler. It is possible for 2 people to go into Food Lion, fill up two carts, and not have bought a single thing in common. But over time, in a large enough population, people are going to buy the same things, and Food Lion will cater to the items that people buy. The good people of Valdese have a very similar Food Lion diet.
So any rate, I did a little light shopping at Food Lion yesterday. I got some milk and some cereal (nowhere near each other, btw), some chicken (parts is parts), ground turkey, a case of water, something for Pickles the Dog to gnaw on and some other stuff. Though one item I was going to get I didn't, because there were some people who apparently decided to camp out at the section right where the item I wanted was. They were elderly, and they weren't going to budge for awhile. So I did a quick cost/benefit analysis and decided it wasn't worth it and went paid for everything and left. I can only handle so much.