The Grocery Manager: A Novel – Page One

Fluorescent bulbs hum disco in the background of this room bathed in a god-forsaken, harsh white light. My eyes water as they sit above facemask in a steambath consisting of hot breath and coffee. I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes. My index taps reflexively on the chair as my manager searches for my Year Review paperwork. I’m growing impatient with the length of what I consider a...

It Was Worth the Energy

I’ve travelled on this planet for nearly thirty-six, mostly-stable trips around the sun. I fell in love for the first time when I was twenty and I don’t really think I have since. Ten years ago, I graduated college far from sober and only then did I begin what I consider education. It’s then that I started to devour books. I remember reading Kitchen Confidential in my early twenties and as...

On The Night of The Tragedy in Boulder

It was a busy day with a myriad of issues flowing in and out of my purview. Monday usually feels like a weekend day at my store. In between covering breaks, writing production and receiving the days shipment there isn’t much time for reflection -- I am usually on cruise control. Somewhere around the middle of my shift I had a moment to sit down at the desk and check my emails that I neglected...

Same Pandemic, Different Panic

A year ago, on this very weekend, everything and everyone was shuttered, crawling into quarantine with unknown repercussions on the other side. Uncertainty gripped most of the world. Conflicting reports of doomsday scenarios were announced from the rooftops and whispered between kin. To what degree this time in 2020 affected your psychological state varied, of course, but things changed for...

Do More with Less

Every night, at work, I feel rushed or squeezed or pinched in some way, like god is my older sister trying to test my resolve until I snap. Either someone calls out, a customer becomes irate over nonsense or a freezer goes down and we suddenly have to move all the product to another one downstairs. None of this changes the fact that I need to write the production list, employees are in my ear,...

An Easy Year on The Grocery Line

This weekend marks my one year anniversary of working on the grocery line. Of course, when I started, I didn’t know it would be a “grocery line” or anything interesting in the abstract. I assumed by March that I would move on into a different space in life. But instead, I was whipped into a brave new world ravaged by fear and uncertainty, just like everyone else. These things happen....

The Vegan Buffalo Chicken Wrap

The store was dead. We were winding down and trying to close up for the evening. I was in the middle of writing the fresh pack production list for tomorrow when one of our team members waved me down. She told me a man had a question for me. So, I walked over to see what was going on. I was met by a man partially wearing a bandana over his nose and mouth. It wasn't not actually covering his face....

My First Thanksgiving On The Grocery Line

Thanksgiving is here and the holiday season is in full swing. The pandemic is still around trying to ruin all the fun and we are on a second lockdown in my city. Uncertainty still looms large over the heads of people in America and abroad. But when your life is on the grocery line those things are crushed under the weight of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and the chaos...

Drinking From The Fire Hose

After my ten day quarantine, only a few weeks of actually doing my current supervisor role, we are full on into the Class 5 hurricane that is the holiday season on the grocery line. We are short staffed and hogtied on overtime. For the most part, I am left to my own devices to figure shit out.  But that’s what a supervisor does, so, I should lean in and enjoy the challenge. Or at least...

Ten Days of Quarantine

I travelled to meet my biological sister in Florida for the very first time last weekend. We had a blast. But it wasn’t a “real” vacation involving relaxation and forgetting about work while catching up on 30+ years gone by. I punished my immune system with travel and low sleep and beer. Her (now my) family recovered from COVID a month ago, so I wasn’t worried about them. And of course,...