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    POOKASLUAGH   117,392
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A Sad State of Affairs

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tonight, we went grocery shopping. In our basket, there was a small bag of Brussels sprouts. When that bag of Brussels sprouts reached the checker, she looked at it blankly. The price tag had fallen off of it, so she turned to us and asked, "Do you know how much this costs?"

I did not, so I replied, "No, but they're Brussels sprouts." Because, you know, each vegetable has a code, and the checkers can just type in the code to get the price. If they don't know the code off the top of their heads - a perfectly understandable situation considering how many different codes there must be - they have a handy little alphabetical list of all the different produce codes hanging behind their register.

This lady, however, didn't look at the produce code sheet. She just set the sprouts off to the side and checked in a few more food items until another employee came to help her out. They had a brief conversation about the sprouts, which involved her asking him to go get the price for her, because she didn't know what they were. His reply? "Oh, they're artichokes. I'll check for you."


For those who may not be familiar with the two vegetables - and I doubt anyone here on Spark would be unfamiliar with them - this is a Brussels sprout. It's about the size of a golf ball.

This, on the other hand, is an artichoke. It's closer to the size of a small melon.

So, okay, maybe the guy just said the wrong thing, right? That can happen. So before he ran off in pursuit of non-existent bags of golf-ball sized artichokes, though, I repeated, "They're Brussels sprouts."

The guy looked at me in surprise and said, "Oh! So these are Brussels sprouts? Cool. Never seen them before."

Really. Um. Yeah. And we wonder why we have obesity issues in America? Sigh.

Sad thing is - fifteen years ago, I wouldn't have known the difference either. I feel for my childhood self.

Note: My husband informs me that during the two checkers' conversation, the guy also referred to the sprouts as tomatillos (below). I didn't hear that part. *headdesk*


Member Comments About This Blog Post:

    My word! I had a similar situation. When she ask the price I knew exactly how much but she acted like I was trying to cheat big old WM. So she calls for help and is going to hold up the line, so I suggested she use the card I could see tucked by the register. She looked at me and very icily informed me that she knew how to do her job. I very nicely replied, " Apparently not since you didnt bother to just look at the chart.". She then picks up the phone/speaker, and calls for help AGAIN, rather than look at the chart. People behind me were getting audibly restless, so I ask her to just set them aside and proceed with the rest since I didnt have to purchase them. She ignored me, made me continue to wait, didnt lift a finger to ring any other items until the guy came to help her.
Now I just get the frozen ones. LOL

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CYNDERROSE 4/1/2013 1:37PM

    Two of my favorite Veggies!
I had a checker once who didn't know what celery was emoticon

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REENSKI 4/1/2013 12:27PM

    It seems like I have to explain every vegetable i buy to the cashiers, and mine aren't as exotic as brussel sprouts, lol.

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SUZLOOZ 4/1/2013 8:04AM

    I hear this all the time from the kids who cashier in the grocery store. One day I had fennel, leeks, and shallots, and that nearly blew the kid's mind. I see them looking blankly at the vegetables, and I prompt them, like you did. When I shop at Trader Joe's, I never have this problem. Maybe because everything is packaged and labeled? emoticon Or, maybe they have vegetable recognition seminars? Don't know.

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DISCIPLINE_DOES 3/31/2013 3:03PM

    At least the tomatillos look somewhat similar...closer in size at least. Geesh.

I had only ever heard horror stories about the awfulness of Brussels sprouts, but I made myself try them a few months ago. I LOVE them! And they're so stinking cute! :)

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KARENLEIGH32 3/30/2013 6:13PM

    I wonder what they charged you for...watermelons??!!

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NANNABLACK 3/30/2013 3:16PM

    I've had that happen before when I was buying kale. But growing up I wasn't familiar with a variety of vegetables, as all of our veggies came from my dad's garden He planted what he liked. Never bought any from stores.

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  Well, those cashiers learned something new from you. Next time, maybe they will remember what brussell sprouts look like!

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ADARKARA 3/30/2013 7:59AM

    I worked at a grocery store for 3+ years, and it was always amazing to me how ignorant some of the cashiers were to vegetables. Granted, most of them were high school kids, but I grew up cooking, so I knew a lot of the veggies beforehand.

I always have the problem at the grocery store with ginger. No one knows what freakin ginger is!

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 3/30/2013 7:52AM

    It's VERY sad! What's worse is that children don't know what "basic" veggies are... I saw a 20/20 or Dateline or something like that where they had things like eggplant and asparagus, and the kids had NO idea what they were. The worst part was they could tell the difference between unwrapped fast food burgers. WTH?!? This country is in S A D shape!

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CELIAMINER 3/30/2013 7:06AM


You're right. Here on SP, we KNOW our veggies. I hope the young people at the store used the great Brussels sprouts/artichokes/tomatillos debacle as a learning experience.

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PMRUNNER 3/30/2013 7:05AM

    A surprising number of checkers get confused between cucumbers and zucchinis! Also, I was checking out with an English cucumber and they had to ask me what it was and what you do with it! Um, you eat it. Like a cucumber!

(I also get the same thing when I send my DW shopping for me, she often has to ask the produce manager what different things in the list are!)

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    oh wow!! LOL

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FIREFLY4407 3/30/2013 1:39AM

    Yeah - Wow ! Definitely sad. Another good "stump the cashier" one is fresh horseradish. Incidentally, my husband found good artichokes this week and we had some for dinner tonight, and he also picked up a bag of fresh Brussels sprouts (one of my all time favorites) for over the weekend. Yum to both of these awesome veggies - shame more people don't appreciate them...

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MELITOD 3/30/2013 12:07AM

    way to go!! Stand up for the vegetables!!

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UNICORN212 3/29/2013 10:24PM

    Well, they are all green, aren't they? At least the poor checkers did not have to count out change - they don't know how to do that anymore.

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MISTY_MOUNTAINS 3/29/2013 10:14PM


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RUNNING-TURTLE 3/29/2013 10:08PM

    So sad, but so true. LOL good laugh for the day....but there are still some fruits and vegetables that I don't know what they are an have to read the name of them. And I worked in grocery/produce for 4-5 years.

Glad you love your veggies.


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    oh too funny..

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GREENGENES 3/29/2013 9:46PM

    Too funny!

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NURSE_DAN 3/29/2013 9:42PM

    I lived down South for years and fell in love with fresh okra, small pods unsliced and boiled for 2 minutes and dusted with salt and pepper and a touch of butter. I called a northern seed company one year and asked the customer service rep for the price on bulk okra seed. She answered, "Is that a type of lily?" *face palm.*

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JUNEAU2010 3/29/2013 9:35PM

    When I was about 5, my younger sister fussed at the dinner table when her dad told her to eat her brussels sprouts. She said, "I will if you take the leaves off!" That was decades ago and I still laugh. I have loved them all my life!

So sad about the staff!

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PJ2222 3/29/2013 9:32PM


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DLDMIL 3/29/2013 9:29PM

    ok, so I am confused. The two employee couldn't read the package? That is too funny and sad emoticon

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USMAWIFE 3/29/2013 9:26PM

    I have had that happen when I was checking out also and it is a pain sometimes. There are times now I actually go through self check out since I can look up the code myself and the machine weighs and prices it'

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MSJESSPDX 3/29/2013 9:25PM

    Arrgghhh! That breaks my heart, because those are two of my favorite veggies (along with asparagus)! That is pretty sad, by very eye-opening; thanks for sharing!

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CASTIRONLADY 3/29/2013 9:24PM

    Lusting after your veggies. Keep teaching them the difference. emoticon

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