Upon leaving yet more sweet friends in Memphis, Sean and I embarked on our last long journey on this road trip. To South Carolina we headed! Along 78 east to Birmingham is an interesting town of Jasper, AL. It was 4ish. I was getting hungry and consequently, cranky. Thus our stop at Jasper’s Save-A-Lot to grab some healthier road-trip grub!
Now I know and love the South and all her glorious people, having been one of them myself for some of my life. I’ve enjoyed much of her hospitality, slow drawls, and warm fall nights. Even when I lived in the northeast, there has always been some love coming from my heart to dear, Miss South. But sometimes, she catches me off guard.
Carrots were on my mind today, not Georgia, so I headed straight for the produce aisle. And, of course, with carrots, comes hummus. Not familiar with the Save-A-Lot’s set-up and aware of my waiting husband, I kindly asked the attendant stocking the produce section, “Excuse me, do ya’ll have hummus?” (I even threw in a ya’ll to make me not so threatening!)
“Haum-mos? How do yer spell that?” she replied.
Starting to realize this is a bit ridiculous, I spell it anyways, “H-u-m-m-u-s. Hummus.” I paused. “If you don’t know what it is, you probably don’t have it.” I said trying to make the confused, contorted look on her face fade. Added a ‘thanks anyway’ as she mumbled, “Haum-mos?”
Not deterred, I grabbed some pretzels, jalapeno dip instead of hummus, a few yogurts, waved to Sean and got in line. He dropped a few things on the conveyor belt, then dashed back out of the cue. I greeted the friendly cashier. She smiled at me, and I smiled back.
“And I don’t need any bags,” I added. In my feeble efforts to reduce the amount of plastic in landfills, I usually bring my own reusable grocery bags. It seems everyone is a part of this movement. Whole Foods subtracts $.10 for every reusable bag you use. Jersey’s Pathmarks give you $.02. Sometimes when I forget my bags, like today, I just carry my few items out of the store. Cashiers are super-helpful, smile knowingly, and plop the flourescent orange PAID sticker on my items, so no one thinks I’m shop-lifting. It’s a seamless and comfortable exchange . . . usually.
“You. . . you, you don’t want a bag?” Every word was a question. She tested each word, as if checking for meaning.
“Correct. I don’t need a bag, but thanks!” I chirped.
“But, how . . . will. . . you carry . . . your stuff?” the confusion gathered above her brow.
“It’s okay. I can get it. And he’s coming back.” My foot started tapping as I shook off her discomfort.
“You don’t want a bag?! Not even one?” the items started piling beyond the conveyor belt. Then Sean approached and smiled at her. She no longer smiled back, but looked a bit more like she was being held hostage and didn’t want to anger her captors.
Nodding at me, she said, “She doesn’t want a bag.” Now she seemed frustrated. Even as she said that, she placed the pretzels in a bag. “Oops. I forgot, you don’t want a bag.” And the pretzels escaped.
“Oh yeah, no problem, we’ll just carry them. We don’t like to use bags.” And he started scooping the items off the counter. “Thank you.”
As I swiped my debit card, she tried one more time, so committed to her cashier duties, “You sure you don’t want a bag?”
“No ma’am. No thank you. You have a nice day now.” We saved our chuckling until we were clear of the front doors.
Guess there are still places untouched by the Re-usable Bag Movement. Who knew? Thank you Jasper, AL.