Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Grocery Store of the Rich

Last night on the way home, I stopped at the fancy schmancy grocery store for take out. The take out at this place is like fine dining. I have done this maybe twice in my now 5 years here. There are many things I don't like about this place. First, everything is inordinately expensive. Where most stores mark down the local chip brand, this one sells it at exactly the suggested retail price. The take out I got--a tasty thai chicken salad--was 8.99/pound. I was going to get some tortilla chips for the 4.99 spinach dip I was getting, but the only bag I could find was also 4.99 and it was tiny. I settled for 4.99 crostini instead. I could not shop like this forever.

Worse than the prices is the clientele. New Kid and people in her comments were lamenting the overly coiffed look of people in the South. The people in this store are seriously coiffed, but in a way that doesn't look like they're coiffed. They shop here all the time and think 4.99 for a small bag of chips is a bargain. They all look like they just returned from the Hamptons. The women have perfectly trimmed bobs. They're wearing shorts or mini skirts that probably cost more than my entire outfit. They have sweaters draped around their shoulders (a la the eighties preppy look). They smell good. The men are either a) in suits because they're on their way home from their really important job or b) in workout clothes that look nicer than the stuff I wear to work. They also smell good. Their attitudes come in two varieties: a) completely relaxed because they have a nanny, maid and cook at home who will make all this stuff or b) frazzled and angry because the nanny, maid and cook are waiting for them.

These are the people who live in the mansions I drive by. No one is ever home. You never see children playing in the yard or people sitting out on the patio. They are completely lifeless. I disdain these people. I was thinking about this disgust bordering on hate as I was driving home and trying to figure out why I react this way. Partly, I know, it's that I want to be them. I would like to have enough money that shopping in the expensive store is like shopping at Wal-Mart for most people. I envy their houses and clothes and cars. Partly, I'm mad that I didn't achieve this kind of wealth with the life that I chose. (Of course, transplant me to another part of the country and I'd be living almost as well as these people.) But it's easy for me to dismiss that envy pretty quickly and be thankful for what I do have. The other reason I don't like these people is their utter obliviousness to the plight of those around them. I've seen them abuse the people that serve them. I've seen them angry that people are in their way or won't give up their place in line for them. I'm certain they are not all that way, but I read that entitlement attitude into the looks I see on their faces.

I suppose I am prejudiced against them, the rich people. It's not a nice feeling really. I'd be happy to change my views. I'd like to find out that most rich people got their money honestly and donate heavily to worthy causes. I'd like to find out that most of them don't look down on people dressed in discount store clothing or driving late model cars. For now, though, that's not the image I get and so I don't frequent the stores of the rich.