Last night, I stopped at the grocery store to pick a few things up and get a prescription filled. I wasn't in a particular hurry so I wandered around aimlessly after I got my stuff. I ended up in the liquor aisle where I idly looked through the wines. I was caught up in the Chardonnay section searching for an "unoaked" Chardonnay which is a lot like playing "Where's Waldo' especially if there's an extensive amount of wines to sift through. I was marveling to myself at the ridiculous amount of Chardonnay on hand (15 feet and three shelves of it) when I get distracted by the chatter between three young people milling around just down the aisle in front of the hard liquor. Two slightly plump, blowsy girls and a skinny boy. There was no way they were old enough to buy booze. The boy was dressed like he couldn't decide whether he wanted to be a hip-hop b-boy, or a punker skaterboi. He had the ubiquitous pristine backwards facing ball cap with the tags still attached and giant Van's hightop sneakers. He was skipping around in the aisle with nervous energy and randomly tapping on bottles while muttering to himself. He kept up a running commentary which both girls ignored. One of the girls was wearing pajama bottoms and flip flops and the other was wearing sweats with the word "pink" emblazoned up one leg in rhinestones. She had a Zebra patterned beach bag; it's so big it looks like she's carrying around an air mattress with handles.
The kid nearest me (pajama girl) is talking on her phone. Her conversation clipped and in some sort of verbal semaphore and as she talked she pointed here and there at the shelves and the other girl would pick out bottles to look at while the boy would bounce over, peer at the bottle and then veer off.
"I don't think it's here...yeah...I know...I know what it looks like...I don't...no...down there...that one...yeah Crystal has it...no...it's brown...it's wrong...look...those shelves are empty...what's the sign say...yeah...we're getting it, alright?...Jesus...Robert's no help...help her Robert!...Jesus...he's a moron...I think they have it.... but you have to....you have to ask....yeah..okayokay...I know...I'll do it...I gotta stop talkin'...I gotta go...we'll be there in a few...I don't know...ten minutes....yeahbye...."
I steal a long look as I pull a bottle of Firestone Chardonnay off the top shelf ($35, WTF!). The kids are all staring intently at a spot on the shelves then they abruptly scatter and go separate ways. I go back to my search. I find what I was looking for but as much as I balk at paying $35 for a Chardonnay, I balk equally at buying one for $4.99. I move on down the aisle and look at the shelves the kids were looking at. I see there is an empty spot where the high end Tequila is kept. Evidently the stuff that sells for $50 or more you have to ask for assistance to get. Oddly, there is Bourbon and Scotch on the shelves in that price range or even more. I sense a little retail racial profiling going on here. I head out musing about the incredible amount of booze this market has for sale in relation to its size. I'm ambling towards checkout when the group of kids walk briskly by. Pajama girl is last in line and she has the beach bag now. She's talking on the phone again. She brushes by me and as she does I hear the unmistakable sound of full bottles clinking softly together in rhythm with her marching strides. Her voice wobbles with her movement as she follows her friends out the doors into the parking lot.
"...I always have to...to do it...they just stand there....yeah...duh....yeah...he's a puss....shit...yeah...are they there?...not yet....yeah...on our way....."