Monday, June 02, 2008


On Saturday I went with my roommate to the grocery store. I'm always a little kerfluffled when I move, because I have to answer this question again: how do you pick one of the 117 different types of bread that they have on the bakery aisle? I mean, seriously—how am I supposed to decide what to buy when there are more types of bread than states in the U.S.? My usual strategy is when I'm settled in is "buy whatever I bought last time", but that doesn't work when "what I bought last time" is 800 miles away. I tried the pick-a-random-loaf method a couple of weeks ago, but it molded quickly, so I was in the market for a new variety on Saturday.

Luckily, George, who stocks bread at our local Safeway, was on the job when we got to his row—and who better to ask about bread than the man who puts it on the shelf? George was a friendly looking, middle aged man with a bit of an accent who looked like he might be able to help. Here's my best approximation of our conversation.

"So, how am I supposed to pick what kind of bread to buy? There are so many to choose from!"

"Do you want the cheap bread or the expensive bread?"

"I'm not really sure."

"Well, there are some kinds of bread that never go on sale. This one here, for example [gesturing animatedly at a small, almost-$5 loaf of Oroweat Honey Wheat Berry bread]—it never goes on sale, and yet people buy it. You buy it once, you will buy it again. The texture, the flavor, they are excellent!"

"Maybe I shouldn't buy that one, then. I don't know if I could afford that every week."

"Well, this one [pointing at another kind of wheat bread], it goes on sale—two for $5, two for $4. Some people buy all the loaves when it goes on sale.

"And then there is the cheap bread. It is cheap, but what do you get? What is in this bag?"

At this point, he grabbed a loaf of 2-for-$3 white bread and handed it to Hyrum. "What is in there?"


"Yes! Air! This loaf is cheap, but you are just buying air. There is nothing in it! Much better to buy something else."

At this point, George told us to ask him if we had any questions, and then he went back to stocking the shelves.

George impressed me. He just works at a neighborhood grocery store, and all he does is stock shelves, which is a pretty menial job. At least, that's what you'd think if you hadn't met him. However, George reminded me that you can be excellent at what you do, no matter what you do. He delivered with gusto and zeal a three minute exposition on bread, of all things. Not only did he help me pick a loaf, but he brightened my day with his enthusiasm for what could easily be a pretty plain topic.

I bought the $5 loaf.

1 comment:

jacob said...

Your poor intern dollars used up buying $5/loaf bread. You must live in California.

If they ever ask you to bring bread for the sacrament, choose the cheap stuff.