The best time to do the weekly grocery shopping, in my experience, is on Saturday night: our local Sobeys is all-but-deserted, but still well-stocked, there’s The Eric MacEwen Show to listen to on the radio on the drive home, and an interesting collection of Charlottetown luminaries have also figured out the Saturday-night-shop-secret, and so there are always people to keep me entertained (Fred Hyndman shops: who knew!).
Because Sobeys is deserted, I usually don’t have a problem finding a free cashier, and while there are some experienced and hyper-efficient staff working Saturday nights, it seems to attract the silent rather than the voluble, so our conversations at the cash are seldom any more than “Do you have an Air Miles card?”
Last night, though, a young man named Jonathan was at the cash. When he asked me “so, what are you up to tonight?”, I gave him a dismissive small-talk answer, assuming that was what he expected.
Except he didn’t: somehow we ended up chatting about Netflix while he was ringing me in, and what we were watching on Netflix. I told him I’d just finished Black Mirror (which he misheard as Black Mayor, and claimed no knowledge of), and he told me about the new documentary series Abstract.
And so this morning over waffles that’s what I watched.
And it’s a great series: an imaginative look at the imagination and the art of design and creation. I’m so glad he recommended it to me.
Jonathan, I think, is what’s standing between us and robotic-overlord cashiers: a genuinely social and curious person who humanizes a job that so often seems anything but.
Watch for him on Saturday nights when you’re doing your shop. And say hi to Fred for me.