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Sometimes being Blind is too Funny

So, I went to Stop&Shop today to get food for a few meals. I asked them if I could get help shopping; stores will generally try and help out blind customers if they have the staff. They assigned a friendly bagger named Rita.

"Hi. I have a number of isles we're going to visit: [list]. Let's start at produce."

"As in milk and butter?"

"No, as in fruits and vegetables. I'd like to start getting some plums." [confusion; someone points us at plums] I start sorting through them. "Those are small apples," she says. "Uh, no, they are plums."

I quickly began to scale back my shopping. The quest for salad greens seemed to be on track until we got to the item she was looking for and she said, "Oops, that's green cabbage." Stop&Shop has a wide variety of green cabbage located around the produce section; we were cabbaged at least twice.

We went on many interesting quests. She learned that there are at least four places to buy cheese in their store. Then we ran all around looking for balsamic vinegar. "It's like a salad dressing; it may be near them." "O! [runs] [pause] No, all I see are lemons and nuts." Then we had to fight past the balsamic Vinaigrette but eventually we succeeded.

I did at least get food for tonight and tomorrow and a reasonable supply of fruit. There was nothing wrong with her; she was friendly, but just doesn't do a lot of shopping in that type of store. I got a lot of practice trying to describe things (and failing) because while I don't know where things are in that store, I know roughly what's present there.

And of course on the way home, the taxi driver didn't have change for a $20.


That's awesome! Thanks for educating the employee! Hopefully, you opened her eyes to some new food options too!
So you've provided free education for her :).

I had a somewhat similar experience with a cashier at one Stop and Shop, who first criticized me for buying meat (well, she said it was “disgusting,” which I didn't appreciate much), and then proceeded to be completely confused about the produce I was buying, not recognizing small pears or plums and telling me that she has no idea what a pomegranate is or how one eats it.

I did wonder after that what she actually eats, if she doesn't eat meats, but also can't tell an apricot from a plum or kale from lettuce.
Stop and Shop seems to hire a lot of disabled staff, and provides a number of sheltered/coached jobs (or are they employing people who come with job coaches?). I suspect that makes it a little harder for them to free up someone to help you. (I know that the autism community is generally very pleased with the employment practices there.)

If you're near the Arlington Stop and Shop, you're also near the Arlington Foodmaster, which has a gritty feel and some eccentric choices, but is in many ways a very nice store, and most of the staff have worked there 30 years and can tell you every detail from memory.

September 2019

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