Growing up, my family frequented a local fruit market. The owners, wrinkly and sweet like the raisins heaped in cardboard cartons lining the windowsills, spoke broken English and handed out pretzel rods to all us kids. Their grown children bustled about ringing up totals on brown paper bags, throwing in a handful of jellybeans if they deemed us worthy.
My brother and I were always worthy.
Although off-limits, I usually tried to wander into the back room and pet the gorgeous Doberman Pinscher who kept watch over the empty crates and baskets. My mom would catch me, scold me with her eyes, and I would fall back into step behind her.
Luscious red tomatoes, CHECK!
Delicious green apples, CHECK!
Celery I would later refuse to eat, CHECK!
This place had everything my younger self loved: fresh everything, jelly beans, a doggy, and, best of all, family values. When they closed at the end of each season, it was unclear as to what we regulars were mourning more: the end of summer, or the long months ahead that we would have to endure without “our” Fruit Market.
Years marched on, but the Fruit Market remains a constant in our community.
Recently, a woman set up a new shop mere miles down the road from our beloved Fruit Market. She, too, touted her red tomatoes and delicious apples. Her market, being housed indoors, was open for business all year-round. Despite feeling like a traitor, my kids and I stopped in to check her out.
Sure, the produce wasn’t bad. Less expensive than the grocery store. And oooh! Fresh, still warm bread. Okay, not too shabby new lady in town.
But then she started speaking.
She couldn’t complete a sentence without throwing something derogatory in about the Fruit Market while comparing her place to theirs. Prices, selection, quality. And then she started in on the people. I wasted minutes of my life that I will never regain listening to her tell me how she treats her customers better (via special pricing and sales, obviously) and went so far as to discuss the health problems of one of the Fruit Market owner’s.
Ring up my order, shut your piehole, and gimme my change.
I went home and bit into one of the evil queen’s apples. It was either sour or it was just my attitude after being accosted with negativity all the while trying to pay for my purchases and not lose a kid in the process.
Never will I understand the kind of person who has to put others down in order to boost herself up. I see it every day in regular interactions, in the comments of online articles, among “friends.”
What happened to common courtesy? Kindness? Respect? Until the Fruit Market opens up in a few months, I will gladly shell out a few extra dollars at the chain grocery store. Especially because I was less than impressed with the new lady’s quality.