Market report

Posted on May 11, 2010


Big news at the market.  Russ and Donna have sprung for scanners for heaven’s sake.  Word has it that the hifalutin’ technology will be installed this week.  The character of the market will be changed forever. 

The way it is now, customers from Away will heft a bag of dogfood onto the counter, barcode face up, confident that we can infer a price from that.  They are always astonished that we do not have barcode readers.  They conclude that we are hopelessly backwoods or endearingly quaint, depending on their own attitudes or moods.

Customers from Around Here know that we do not have barcode readers and tend to hunt for items that have price tags stuck to them.  Regulars patiently recite the prices they’ve memorized for their own favorite brand of cereal or jerky, or grin wickedly as they pile unpriced goods on the counter.  It’s a little game we play.  Can we remember the price?  Can we find it on the list?  Will we have to page a Stock Person?  Or, if it’s late in the evening and really slow, will we trudge back to the shelves and figure out what to charge for the #%& can of soup?  It’s amazing what we can find entertaining up here in mid-winter.

This summer the scanners.  Can card readers at the gas pumps be far behind?

Yes, for those of you from Away, it is true.  When motorists purchase fuel at the Eastport Market, they pump it into their vehicles and then come inside to pay up.  Every now and then someone forgets and drives off, but pretty soon they’re back again, looking abashed.  Once in awhile we call Sheriff Bean about a drive-off, but that is extremely rare.  Someday this amusement, too, will be gone, and we will be like every other gas station in the world.  Pay first, people, then pump.

Some things, however, will never change.  The evening denizens of the market will always be good for a story, and Message Shirts are a popular wardrobe choice.  

Dennis Schneider says he really did render bombs harmless back in the day, although he was never a bomb technician.  When he was in the service he’d be sent out to clear mines.  You must, I said, have been very skillful.  No, he said—expendable.  Well.  He is expendable no more, as it’s hard to know what we’d do without him around here. 

Now I’m off to find out what Mama Nature’s Very Bad Mood has done to the orchards hereabouts.