The other day I was picking up a few items at the grocery store when I was reminded of my first “oh my gosh, I’m not in Washington anymore” moment that occurred just hours into our move to Fargo. Blake and I had just unpacked the U-Haul and we realized we needed to run to the store. We would just grab the essentials to make it through our first night in Fargo (a frozen pizza, Gatorade, toothpaste and toilet paper) and get out of there.
As we rang up our purchases we were asked by the cashier “and how would you like these brought out?” Our response… silence. We looked at each other, asked the poor girl to repeat herself, and still had no idea what she meant. Thinking she might rephrase the question to help alleviate our confusion, she repeated herself once more, “How would you like to bring these out to your car?” Again, we responded with puzzled stares. Finally, the lightbulb went off in my head. Oh, she must mean do we want paper or plastic, as in what will you carry your groceries out in. Cheerfully I answered, “Oh! Plastic, please!” As the cashier starred back at us, I could almost hear crickets chirping in the background. I commend that young lady for being able to maintain composure and not laughing or getting visibly frustrated by our confusion. She finally replied, “No. I mean, do you want to walk your groceries out to your car yourself or would you like to drive up to our curb-side pick-up and we can load them in your car for you.”
As we exited the store I began to panic. “Are they just super friendly and want to help you with your groceries or are the winters so terrible that it is impossible to wheel a cart out to the parking lot?” It didn’t make me long to realize both reasons were true.
Not only did the grocery store introduce me to drive-up loading for groceries, but some of my favorite conversations with strangers have occurred at the grocery store. There was the time I was trying to decide on a type of sauce to use for stir-fry when a lady walked up next to me and pointed out that while one was a little more expensive, it was definitely worth it. Or the time I was behind someone purchasing a few pomegranates and she felt the need to not only explain what a great deal they were during a certain sale but also tips on easy ways to retrieve the delicious seeds without much hassle. Or even the multiple times I have gone to just pick up a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread and the person ahead of me in line offers to let me cut since they have entire carts full of groceries and I only have one or two items.
The grocery store gave me my first real taste of the Midwest, and while I love the conversations with the deli lady and browsing the local delicacies found only in this region, to this day I have never used the drive-up loading.