From Inside The Grocery Cathedral

The Grocery Cathedral

I am two weeks into a different phase of my life on the grocery line. I moved into an inventory and receiving position for our prepared foods department. It’s a nice change of pace and I have more time to work on my book among other things. And now that I’ve had a chance to work behind the scenes, I am beginning to see the store in a more revealing and complete light. And I know now that it was never a simple place. There is nothing straightforward when it comes to people and food. And when you take into account over 230 employees, thousands of customers per day, food being shipped and received and prepared in seven different departments and the emotions and experiences of strangers, colleagues and myself all squeezed together with a pandemic, you have a dynamic shared space with safety and health in mind. It’s a cathedral, of sorts, built on food.

Checkout Cathedral

The grocery cathedral is a living, breathing focal point of a community where one can find nourishment for their body and maybe their soul. When you run to the store to pick up your child’s birthday cake, what you see is only the surface of a complex and vibrant organism. It takes a village, so they say. Most people only interact with a shiny veneer intentionally constructed for our pleasure. Underneath it all, one can find revelation through the complexities of organized human life. Thinking of an otherwise mundane place in such a light allows you to assess my small contributions to something bigger than myself, and it enables me to take a step back and see unrevealed truths.

Grocery Cathedral Dock

Things are different now that I’m away from the sometimes chaotic and stressful front end of the grocery cathedral. Gone are the days where I interact with a small army of strangers. In fact, I rarely see anyone that isn’t another employee. I’m no longer unwittingly trapped in a grocery store confessional with Linda and Dave as they share their dark secrets. COVID is still a thing and I’m still and essential employee but I don’t bear the brunt of its effects on people in my day to day work. I wander the hidden grocery market hallways left with my meandering thoughts while lifting, moving and preparing the food that feeds those in the surrounding area. I’m sure that sounds lovely to some and lonely to others, and it’s a mixture of both for me.

Produce Cathedral

Watching and examining humanity from the back of the house, classroom, church, or wherever I found myself in life has always been a joy for me. Unpacking existence with the hope of understanding isn’t easy, but I enjoy the complexity and diversity of the human experience. Nothing worth doing is ever “easy”. There is triumph to be found in all manner of suffering.

And I don’t want to participate in vain. I am here to learn and find clarity. I want to see the savage and tragic and hilarious human theater that is life on the grocery line in all of its glory. There are stories and observations worth being told from the walls of the grocery cathedral and I intend to explore them.

2 thoughts on “From Inside The Grocery Cathedral

  1. I think that was excellent writing that should be published in booklets and passed our in grocery stores all over the USA/

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