Changes inside supermarket cause confusion

Pat Van Dyke Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Pat Van Dyke
Columnist, The Friday Flyer

I don’t rearrange things. I find comfort in “predictable traffic patterns” on my carpet.

We lived in our home on Point Marina for 28 years. The day we moved in, the movers placed the living room sofa against the south wall and it stayed there for the entire time. On the day that we moved I found 28-year-old popcorn kernels between the cushions, along with three dimes and one quarter. I gave it all to the movers for a tip.

My kitchen pantry is arranged so that I can find things in the dark. I really don’t want everyone in the house to know when I get a midnight snack, so it is imperative that the cookies, chocolate candy bars, and marshmallows are in their designated places. Once I misplaced a chocolate laxative, and the results were not very pretty!

In the late 1970s, when the first supermarket was opened in Lake Elsinore, I was thrilled to discover that it had the same floor plan as the market in Corona, which had the same floor plan as the market in Colton. They were on the same “playing field” as I was: Bread in right field, fresh-cut meat in center field, produce in left field, with ice cream at shortstop.

I knew exactly where to find the toothpicks! They were on row six, to the right of the flour, below the birthday candles, next to the powdered sugar. I had memorized the market’s floor plan, and I knew where everything was just as well as I knew exactly where the old SOS pads were under my kitchen sink. (In the old coffee can, rusting with the stainless steel scouring pads and a dried-out sponge thrown in for good luck!)

But as all good things do come to an end, so did the perfect floor plan at my favorite market.

untitled-1The first to go were the VandeKamp Bakery items. They were located to the right of the right entrance door, to the right of the bread. I could pick up a box of cookies blindfolded and then claim that they were made by a Dutch woman who everyone would think was me. It always worked for a “Homemade Cookie Exchange Party”! I considered a protest and had a few people agree to join in. But when it came to the actual event, there was just one lonely person standing in the rain, wearing old wooden shoes and holding a sign that said “Bring back VandeKamp. My wife refuses to bake.”  Pastor Pete is such a good sport!

The next move made by my favorite chain of markets was a decision to have a different floor plan at each market. I can see it now…A dark, smoke-filled room with men puffing on cigars and holding poker cards in their other hand while sitting around a table. One looks at the group and says, “I’ll raise you one and include the perfect plan to wreak havoc in the minds of our predictable customers! We’ll arrange each store differently!” A man in a trench coat and dark glasses replies, “I fold, let’s do it!” To which the others would all raise their cigars and throw their cards into the center of the table.

I found myself walking into a store, veering to the left to find produce, and perilously falling into a display of toilet paper. Thank goodness it was Charmin, the softer toilet paper. Where is Mr. Wimple when you need him? And he was replaced by two bears? The next time that I’m going for a hike in the mountains, I’m going to take along a couple of rolls of toilet paper to defend myself in case I’m approached by a bear.

In the last few weeks, I was dealt the final blow! I had successfully memorized the floor plans of the three markets in the chain that are closest to my home; but to my dismay, I have noticed that they decided to confuse us already confused customers even more. They made more changes!

The greeting cards are now across from the crackers instead of at the end of the produce section. In another store, they moved the stationary section next to the tissues, which used to be across from the toothpaste.

My perfect market world hit a new low when they moved the cereal to where the liquor used to be and moved the liquor to where the shampoo used to be. I still haven’t found the shampoo. Two days ago, Pastor Pete found me wandering around the new liquor area, confused and looking for toothpaste, and I don’t drink! Although if they keep changing things around, I may start!

For those of you who also suffer from the rare condition of “A Need to Have a Place for Everything and Everything in the Same Place Supermarket-wise Syndrome,” there is help on its way. I stopped one of the market managers yesterday and told him that I plan to hide in the store until closing and then spend the night returning everything to its proper place!

If you want to join, you’ll find me behind the Popcornopolis Popcorn display. Love that Zebra Popcorn!