I’ve been thinking about grocery store dividers. You know those sticks you put on the conveyer belts at the check-out, so that, as Jimmy Fallon says, “your grocery store total doesn’t reach infinity”? Who really gives the plastic posts much thought? Maybe the clerks, maybe you when you’re at checkout with a pack of gum and the lady in front of you is preparing her family of 38 for a famine. But, think about it, someone’s got to make the things, and you know some where, a girl is introducing her boyfriend to her parents and he’s saying “Well uh, I’m in the product-customer differentiating business..”. Someone somewhere’s life revolves around grocery store dividers. I guess that could be said for anything really- paperclips, Stouffer’s Lasagna, electric outlet covers. But I guess what gets me is that these dividers are something as simple as a plastic rod with maybe a brand stamped onto them if Safeway’s feeling extra classy. And someone thought of them, somebody is sitting at a desk laughing to himself because he thought of the damn things first. We didn’t do chalk lines, or seperate conveyer belts, we did sticks. And these sticks divide what he wants from what she wants from what they can afford and what they need but can’t afford. There’s something oddly familiar about these rods and it lies in their universal relevance to life. Our lives are filled with grocery store dividers; they prevent us from reaching for that cereal box that is a job promotion or that eggplant that is the woman you want to make your wife. We are divided and seperated, from the things we want. So, what do we do?
September 22, 2011