My Phone Is Smarter Than Your Phone

Well, let me just clarify: my phone is super intelligent.  It’s not because I have a super cool brand or the latest of the latest or some super secret prototype made by the Chinese government.  It’s because I feed it knowledge to assist me in my everyday needs.  And in turn my very well-educated phone became super intelligent, like me!  I can’t help it my phone is smarter than yours.  I really can’t, I’m sorry.  Maybe if you were a better owner and took it for walks or showed it some attention now and then it would learn something.

My phone loves me so much.  Just today it taught me some very insightful things about the food I eat.  Not just when I get it home but before I even buy it at the store.  Let me tell you a story:

So here I am slaving away at work, all of a sudden the big voice in the building calls for all cashiers to come to the front to assist with the huge line snaking around the store.  Of course I head up to help (as a good employee would).  I get “stuck” up front helping for over an hour.  Now I’m a fast cashier but these people kept coming and coming.  I swore they were just showing up because they all heard I was ringing today.

Anyway, I had this one customer that brought his daughter with him to shop.  She was being such a great help to him as his fat ass watched her unload the grocery cart.  It took forever!!!!!  She took at least a minute to place each item on the belt.  As she placed each item on the belt she would say a letter.  I was a bit confused but I was also preoccupied because I just wanted to not stand there in my most uncomfortable steel toed boots.  There goes another box and she says “B-“.  I was trying to think of a way to ask the dad what she was doing and not sound like I was peeved at her taking so long.

Finally after the millionth item I was done with them.  The girl came over to stand next to dad.  I looked down at her and asked “what was with all the alphabet stuff?”  She held up a smart phone and proceeded to tell me about this app she was using…..

Ohhhhh, an app!

“OK, now we are talkin.  What app were you using” I asked.

She mumbled something then just showed me her phone.

fooducated

unnamed

The app she was using is called Fooducate.  Now, just so you know I don’t get anything from anyone if I tout this awesome app. This is just me giving an opinion.  I don’t want to go on and on about what all this app can do.  You can see for yourself at their site HERE.

I spent most of the night after work grading my pantry by scanning all the stuff in there.  Then I attacked the refrigerator.  I had some interesting finds.  Some things were the total opposite that I thought.  But over all I believe my fridge and pantry averaged a “B+” to an “A-“.  I had a few items that dragged my grade down but who doesn’t?

So my bolgyblog friends, if you want to educate your phone as well as yourself, I suggest you check this cool app out and possibly add it to your healthy living toolbox.

Oh, almost forgot…..best part about this app…..IT’S FREE!!!!

Happy scanning my friends.

For Heaven’s Sake, Stop Squeezing the Avacados

And for that matter, stop throwing the apples around and dropping grapes on the floor, it’s making a terrible mess!

Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la la-la la la!

Yes, it’s me again.  Your friendly neighborhood sarcastic produce man.  I’m here today with your holiday produce tips.  Let me start off with a few that will be helpful to both you and I:

#1) Stay home!  It’s a mad house here!  There is no reason to be buying all this food for one day of gluttony.  You’re going to eat too much and explode.

#2) If you don’t heed my advice in tip #1, then be nice to the people around you while you’re out and about.  I had a hell of a time today trying to keep up with all you grabby grabs out there let alone getting to the holes on the line you left me.  If you see an empty spot on the produce line, that is not an invitation for you to park your keister there and block me from filling that spot back up.  And if I so happen to beat you to that spot to fill it back up, don’t be jamming your cart up my butt to try and make me move. I’m not going to.

I had this lady do exactly that today and after I took her third shot to the achilles she said she will try and be patient.  She actually said that out loud!  You’re damn right you’ll be patient.  I am much larger than you and I have access to your produce in the back room…..where you can’t see what I do…… 😉

Not 5 minutes later I had a really nice lady that just started talking with me.  She asked how my patience was doing today.  I said it was fine, how is yours?  She said it was at max capacity or she wouldn’t be out today.  If you don’t have any, you shouldn’t be out.  I told her if she showed me 1 other person with patience I would show her 50 without!  She laughed and wished me luck with the rest of my day.  I was joking but not really….

#3) If for some reason after tip #1 and #2 you still decide to come out and fill your basket up with tons of unnecessary amounts of food, follow this one please!!!!!!!  Don’t bring your damn kids with you!  But if you do, put them on a leash or tie them to something and keep them away from the apples and grapes!  Oh, and wash their freakin hands too, they’re filthy!  Last words of advice about your children……I push a large heavy cart around, while in the store I view children like squirrels and cats like when I’m driving a car, I don’t slow down for them!

#4)  For those of you that come in all holly jolly and singing your fancy holiday songs……STOP IT!  I am stuck in a building that plays that ish 24 hours a day and I’m already sick of hearing it.  Just like the question of, “Where’s the cranberry sauce?” right after you passed 3 large displays of that crap along with the two 2 pallets of it that you ran your cart into.  It’s in isle 12, good luck finding it in the dog food isle you crap happy holiday caroler!

#5)  Ok, now on to the serious stuff.  My advice to you is to make stuff from scratch.  Yes it will take longer but that gives you an excuse to not make 20 dishes of crap that Uncle Joe can’t have cause it either has too much salt in it or the pepper in it will give him gas.  No one needs that!

Keep it simple this year:

  • A nice sliced yam casserole
  • fresh steamed green beans or roasted brussel sprouts, skip the canned soup and greasy fried onions
  • homemade dressing made from toasted french bread/rosemary/thyme/sage/parsley/yellow onion/celery/and chicken broth. I plan on adding cranberries and orange zest to mine this year as well.
  • Start your meal off with either a nice light salad or a cup of butternut squash soup. This should eliminate that turkey hibernation factor at the end of the meal.  Less turkey=less hibernation…..or something like that.
  • And who says you need a whole turkey?  Mix it up this year, try just turkey legs or a turkey breast.  Why waste hours standing watch over a whole bird?  You know no one is gonna help you cook….make it easy on yourself.  It also leaves more time to enjoy more vino!
  • For desert make a nice fresh fruit salad.  This time of year citrus is the MacDaddy.  It not only keeps the troops lively for conversation after the meal but they won’t fall into a turkey coma watching football from the food, it will be the poor play of the teams that will do that!  Plus you get some vitamin C to ward off that flu and cold bug/virus thingy.
  • If the fam is crying cause of my desert menu, give them what they crave but without the crust.  Make a sweet potato or pumpkin custard.  Control their serving size by doing it in  individual ramekans.  That will teach them!!!
  • Last thing here.  For those snack attacks before the family meal, do a veggie tray.  If you don’t want to cut up your own veggies let the store do it.  We make them fresh to order.  They are pretty darn good when I make them.  But everything I do is pretty awesome anyway….

Well that should hold ya till I get the typing bug again.  If I don’t get to typing by next Thursday, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your families.  Remember to give thanks for all the cool stuff you already possess and to make a shopping list of all the groovy things you want to be additionally thankful for next year.

Writing Disclaimer: I am not responsible for anything I type, ever!  The voices in my head made me do it…..But please feel free to share with all your friends and family cause some of what I type is funny as hell!  Well, at least worthy of a good giggle….

Tip Me…..Or Else!

Welcome to the next chapter in The Commissary Diaries.

I was just reminded of something I wanted to write about for some time now.  After my long day of stocking those darn bananas you all love I decided to exit by walking by the front end registers.  As I was leaving I walked past a hoard of baggers.  Everyone said hi.  I was so loved by them.  And why not, I made them a lot of money during my time up there. For those of you that are not military affiliated and don’t know about the bagger system I must explain about this interesting group.

The baggers at the commissary are not paid employees.  They only work off of tips given to them by the customers.  They have this strange system that seems to work.  Think of the bagger system as a mafia.  They have a leader that gets paid by taking a cut of each of the baggers take-in.  The leader does nothing more than assign the baggers to registers and keeps everyone rotated.  In order to stay a bagger one must work a minimum of three days a week.  Now to throw a kink in your understanding, there are specific morning shift baggers and specific evening baggers.  And you are not allowed to be both unless you are called in to do so.  The morning baggers are the retired military and spouses there of.  The night baggers are the students and current military wanting a little extra cash in their pockets.  Here’s the kicker…..its all tax-free $$$$.  They don’t report a dime!

OK, so now you are a little in the know of the system, back to my story.

As I was leaving this one bagger stops me to talk a little.  It’s my mailman.  Yup, you read that right, my mailman.  I didn’t know this until a few months ago when I saw him deliver while I was out cutting my lawn.  Anyway, he just wanted to tell me I got a package today.  (It was my new workout gear from UA!)  His telling me about this package made me remember a discussion he and I had during my last week as a cashier.  Here’s the story…..

A neighbor of mine came through my line ( a retired mil guy).  We talk and he recognizes my bagger as our mailman.  He says hi and blah blah blah..  My neighbor leaves and the mail-bagger and I get to talking.  He tells me my neighbor is a great guy.  “He always tips me well here and gives me a nice money filled envelope for the holidays on my mail route.”  I said huh?  “Oh yes, he gets a lot of packages that I deliver and he always gives me a lot of cash at the end of the year because of it.”  Wow, that’s nice.  I figured that was your job.?!.  “It is but it is common practice to tip your mailman if he ever delivers packages.”  Oh OK, I didn’t know that.  “It seems a lot of people don’t know this. A lot of your neighbors don’t tip especially So n’ So.  I think you have had a few come your way too.”

I wasn’t sure if he was joking with me or throwing me a hint.  But seeing how he comes back from some of his carry-outs and complains that he only got a few bucks I see that he is totally a money driven person.  So, it was probably a hint!  At the time though I couldn’t tell so I joked with him….

Oh, well I figured that my tax dollars that pay for your federal government job made me square with ya.

Needless to say, I didn’t receive a response.

For me personally, I am a little put off by people like this.  If I didn’t know his career (which he is also retired military) and his thoughts on the whole tipping thing, I would get along with him fine.  I guess I’m one of those people who believes in you get paid for what you do and if you want more $$$ you do something different.  You can’t expect others to hand you money if they think what you did is part of your job.  My other thing with this guy is that he has two jobs that he expects to receive tips for.

OK so now you have some info.  I want your take on this.  Don’t worry, you won’t make me mad with what you say.  I respect your opinion no matter what.

Bananas!

Welcome to the next instalment of The Commissary Diaries. 

There are so many things I have been learing since becoming the Produce Man.  Not only have I learned some interesting things about produce but I have learned a lot about “you” the customer.  Let’s attack both topics at the same time.

If I didn’t get the same nerve killing questions about some of the produce that I thought was common knowledge, I wouldn’t have done some research.   My research consisted of me doing hands on taste testing of some items and then some actual knowledge search on the interwebz.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and had a list of ingredients for a recipe you have never tried before and realize once you skower the entire store they don’t have that specific item your recipe calls for?  Yeah, me neither…..

The other day I happened to be the only one on the floor stocking product and had this sweet young lady come up to me.  “May I ask you a question about apples?”  Sure, what is it?  “What is a Braeburn and do you have any?”  Well unfortunately; or fortunately, depending on your opinion on Braeburn apples, we didn’t have any.  I don’t like them and that is my opinion.  They are dirty looking and there usually isn’t a lot of sweetness to the ones I have tried.  I’m hooked on the Jazz apple.  Sweet and has a great “bite” to them.  Plus they are not so huge that they could be considered a meal in themselves.  The lady was hesitant in trying the Jazz in her recipe but I had tried what she was making (pork chops/sauerkraut/apples).  In that meal any apple would work. But I don’t think she even knew she was looking for apples.  She was like, oh it’s an apple with pork?!?

OK so I broke out into a story there instead of telling you about my research.  Do you know how many different kinds of apples there are?  I don’t either!  There are so many.  How about what is the difference between chives and the green ends to green onions?  Can you substitute one for the other?  Whats the difference between table grapes and wine grapes?  How do you pick a good melon, avocado, grapefruit, or tomatillo?  I did the research, now it’s your turn!  Or you could ask your local produce man, me.

So many questions to prep for and so little time.  It’s a good thing I cook and eat most of this stuff. 

So I have a question for you all…..What in the world do you guys do with all those bananas you buy?  Seriously!  I put out 10 cases of bananas the other day, each case consisting of  16 bunches with an average of 6 bananas per bunch and I go in the back to crush the boxes and I need more bananas 10 minutes later!  And that was on top of the other 16 cases that were already out there.  Seriously, stop buying bananas!  I’m just kiding….go ahead and get your bananas on. 

Did you know that bananas are at one of the top-selling items at grocery stores and they happen to be the #1 seller at Wal-Mart?  I know, I know!  I just blew your mind.  It’s one of the few things Wal-Mart sells that doesn’t come from China.  Oh and here is another mind blower….most of our garlic…comes from China.  I know!  Ka-Pow goes your mind! 

OK, one more thing here.  If you ever get a chance to try Japanese yams….do it!  They are awesome.  I have a great recipe for ya if you ever get some.  Here is a pic of one beside a regular yam….

 

On the left is the Japanese Yam

 

I leave you here with this Last thing, a produce tip: always pick from the back of the pile! That’s where the fresh items are or should be. Another clue to whether or not it is fresh, is if it feels colder compared to the other items, that means it just came from the back.  The refrigeration in the back warehouse is cooler than the produce line units.

Until next time…..Don’t squeeze the avocados!

The Commissary Diaries

Well hello there fellow blogomites.  As many of you know blogging is an adventurous way in sharing what interests us.  Some share our trials and tribulations, our excursions, or our achievements.  I want to start a little something that none of you will ever get to experience personally, my work environment as seen through my eyes.  I have a feeling that there are going to be many wonderful, funny and probably some irritating stories to share with you from my time at work.  I have already shared a story or two with you but I want to do a specific category for these now.

So to celebrate the new category, hows about a story???  Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and call the family in the room.  It’s time for your first episode of The Commissary Diaries.

Today began as a normal everyday Monday.  I walked into work with seconds to spare before I got the stink eye from the boss.  And by boss I mean my supervisor.  She has no real power.  She carries a key and makes our schedule.  And it’s not even a magical key.  So she is nothing special outside of her title.  Anywho, I worked my way toward the end of my shift with my feet screaming for me to cut them off.  I was breaking in my new pair of steel toes.  The job buys new employees steel toes (or as they call them, safety shoes) for the times that we work in the grocery section.  You never know when a frozen 30 pound turkey will fly out of nowhere and land on your feet.

So there I am; standing in front of my register lane awaiting to wave down potential victims to intoxicate with my false enthusiastic verbal spew, and then I peer down a few registers from mine.   There was this older couple unloading their basket of goodies.  The couple had to be at least in their 80’s if not older.  The wife was kind of just looking off into the distance.  She was positioned in a manner that made standing look like an unbearable struggle.  The husband had a tall large stature.  You could tell by his determination to unload their consumables as fast as his aged body would allow that he has lived a full life.  His arms were littered with wrinkled one colored tattoos.  I could just imagine the stories this old veteran could tell. If he wrote a book about them I would be the first in line to get it.

A second man appeared out from behind the magazine display by the register.  He appears to be their son.  He stood by the basket assisting the elderly man by retrieving the items that were deep within the basket.  This man also seemed to be a bit old himself.  His movements were a bit slow and deliberate.  He also only retrieved one item at a time.  I thought nothing of it as I figured that is all the older gentleman could probably handle at one time.  The younger man stopped unloading to attend to the woman.  She had to be this man’s mother.  He reached over with his left hand and hugged the woman then gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.  As he moved away he gave her a pat on the shoulder as if to say everything is alright.    I could tell he was saying something but I’m no lip reader.  The man did this act three times within a five-minute span as I watched.

The store was really empty today.  There were only a few customers roaming around.  I figured since I wasn’t waiting on anyone at the time that I should go down and help this family out.  If anything I could speed up their unloading process.  On my little stroll down I noticed the younger man had a Disney Land hat on.  I noticed the hat before but couldn’t make out the decal on the front.  It was a bit beat up but still had a firm flat looking bill.  It laid a little awkward on his head as if he bumped it leaning a little too far into the basket.  But I don’t see how since they haven’t really reached the bottom yet.

As I got a little closer the younger man reached over to hug the woman again and patted her on the shoulder.  I greeted the family and offered my assistance.  At this point the younger man had his back to me setting an item on the register belt.  The older man said he appreciated my offer but their son really enjoys unloading the basket.  I said that is fine and if they changed their minds I would be a few steps away.  The younger man turned around and said, “Thank you but I can do it.”  His voice was a bit mumbly and hard to hear.  I then got a really good look at this man.  He definitely was at least in his 50’s.  He had the pear shaped body type going for him.  He also had on some really thick eye glasses and had some grey and white stubble on his face.  The most memorable thing was his constant smile.  It was almost literally ear to ear.  As I walked away the man did his hug, kiss and pat routine.  I then heard what I had seen him mouth from afar, “I love you Mama!”

If you couldn’t tell by my description of the younger man, he was developmentally disabled.

I got all emotional and almost teared up.  I could feel the love this man had for his parents.  I really could.  I am not sure why this affected me as much as it did.  I was having a rough day but nothing unusual from the typical commissary day.  But for the small amount of time that I saw this man’s gesture toward his parents just brightened my day.

Thank you kind sir, thank you!