There’s this grocery store I love. I go there practically every day, some days more than once. I love the wide aisles, the civilized atmosphere, the deli section that caters so comprehensively to people who are no good in the kitchen.
But lately I think the store is trying to drive me crazy. Into every shopping trip, it’s injecting little asides. Aphorisms. Injunctions. I’m beginning to think I’m hearing voices.
Hey … over here!
This is part of some kind of marketing strategy. On the placards that advertise on-sale items – and I love the on-sale items – slogans have begun to appear.
C’mon, grab one more.
The messages are unobtrusive, almost subliminal. They are printed in a font that imitates a human hand, and their punctuation is informal at best. Sometimes they appear all in lower case, as if grabbed from the middle of a sentence.
check this out
They are not talking to me. I understand they are not talking to me. But sometimes, just every once in a while, they seem to contain a hidden meaning that only I will catch. Like the Satanic Bobblehead on that episode of “The Twilight Zone,” the sale signs seem to know my fears and anxieties.
To name one: At this stage in my life I don’t need to be developing a taste for half & half. I’ve drunk my coffee black and tough for decades. There’s no reason to start adding cream to my cart now. But last evening I went to get some. I felt like celebrating. And lo, the half & half was on sale:
The sign was mocking me, just as the Satan Bobblehead mocked William Shatner.
Shake it off, I thought. Just get some dinner and head for home. Near the checkout, salsa was on sale. I moved closer to read the message on the sign.
The icing on the cake!
What could that possibly mean? How could salsa be icing on a cake?
I bought my groceries and headed home. But like the Satan Bobblehead, the signs are luring me back. I want to go see if the cake icing is on sale.
And if so, whether it has a message for me.
I’m fighting it.