Grocery shoppers in New York City are not very chatty. At least, they aren’t talkative when it comes to other customers. They talk on their cellphones, and yell loud enough to corral their kids from across the store, but they avoid eye contact with other shoppers at all possible costs. At least, most of them do.
A rare exception to the rule approached me the other day as I was weighing cantaloupes with my hands, sniffing each in turn, while also side-stepping other customers going through the outdoor fruit bins. It is, as you know, the very beginning of cantaloupe season. It’s a time of year when you either arrive home with a perfect cantaloupe or one that’s so far from ripe, it would be best to return it to the fields so that the field mice eat it and end their crop-eating career early. So, I was not surprised when my fellow shopper asked how the cantaloupe were.
“I’m not sure,” I told him. “I don’t think this one -” holding my the one in my left hand “- is quite ripe yet, but I’m pretty sure that this one -” nodding toward the one in my right hand “-could be by tomorrow.”
“They’re not ripe,” he told me. “Don’t get them. You should go inside; there are more there.”
This shopper had shot past the normal behavior of grocery store regulars. He went beyond acknowledging my presence to critiquing my fruit-selection savvy. I was so surprised, all I could do was nod.
But I could not agree. The cantaloupe inside did not appear any further along in their development, though they were higher up in the price scale. So I gambled on my fruit-picking expertise and went with the outside melon. And I won big.
New York shoppers, you’re welcome to interrupt my shopping anytime. Fee free to ask for my advice. But don’t try to disturb my fruit picking process. I’ve got Zaidy’s system in place and there’s no proof it can be beat.