(A little history first, then a gripe.)
For anyone who doesn’t know, today is Super Bowl Sunday here in the US. That is, today is the day that the best two teams (or maybe just the two who got lucky, depending on your viewpoint and/or your favorite team) from the (American) football season battle to win the trophy and the title for the year.
It’s a big deal, not only for football fans but for American culture as a whole. Companies fight to land an advertising spot during the game, and they pay big bucks to do it. The Super Bowl commercials are well known for their uniqueness, their humor, their drama, and their attempt to shock and surprise. The point is to win the status of the one commercial that will be remembered for the year to come, not to mention reach the high numbers of viewers watching the football game to begin with.
Then, there’s the halftime show. Each year, a celebrity musician is chosen to perform during halftime (the period of time the teams get to rest and regroup for the second half of the game). In years past, the musician chosen was usually whoever was popular at the time. But that ended with the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” of 2004 created by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Now, the chosen musician(s) tends to be people and groups who were popular at some point, but not recently. This year it’s Madonna—a great performer and singer but someone who hasn’t produced anything new in recent years (though I hear a new album is on the way).
And of course, there are the parties and feasts. People often host or go to huge parties and scarf down unlimited amounts of beer, chips, dips, wings, pizza, sandwiches, you name it. It’s an all-day event, despite the fact that the game doesn’t start until around 6:30 pm (US Eastern time) on a Sunday. Most people have to go to work the next day, but that doesn’t seem to stop them. I have been to my share of parties, and they are great fun, especially when your favorite team is playing.
Which happens to be the case today. The New York Giants (my favorite team) are playing the New England Patriots. Some are calling tonight’s game a rematch of the 2008 upset game where the Giants beat the undefeated Patriots. It was an amazing game. I remember it well. It was the first Super Bowl after my father had died and I wanted the Giants to win for him. He would have been so happy that they had made it so far, and then that they won. It was a small private victory for my family.
I am looking forward to tonight’s game as well. Oddly enough, we don’t have any plans other than to stay at home and watch the game by ourselves, in our quiet house, with a fire blazing and nowhere to go. It’s a little disappointing since our team is playing, and around Long Island, it’s Giants mania. (Everyone in New York City and on Long Island seem to be unified in supporting their team—people are wearing Giants shirts and hats and are just generally excited.) But honestly, this year, we wouldn’t want it any other way. We had a busy holiday season and we have some personal things going on right now, and to stay home, just the two of us, is all we want. It’s going to be a relaxing evening.
But it was one annoying morning…
Because of the football hype, my local grocery store was all about the Super Bowl amenities. Now, normally my husband and I do all of our errands first thing on Saturday morning. We like to get them out of the way so that we can enjoy the rest of our weekend without having to worry about running here or there. Plus, the less crowded the stores are, the better for me (and ultimately my husband). I truly despise how rude people can be when they’re out shopping, leaving their carts in the middle of the isle, letting their screaming children run rampant and allowing them to run into me, pushing their way to get what they want without any regard for anyone else. Usually, I am so irritate by this behavior that it ruins my mood completely. I become full of complaints and gripes. But we had some other business to attend to yesterday, so errands were done this morning. My husband went to one store and I went to the grocery store. His one Super Bowl request was a delicious deli style pickle. Not a big deal, right? Wrong.
I braced myself for the crowd that was sure to be at the grocery store. I figured I would just deal with it seeing as I didn’t have a choice in the matter. At my store, I can do everything electronically—I don’t have to talk to one person. It’s great! I walk in, get my remote scanner, scan my items, put them in my reusable bags (organized the way I like them, thank you very much), scan the checkout barcode at the self-checkout register, pay, and away I go. I love this system. I can get in, get my items, get out, and be on my way. There is even a deli kiosk. I can pick and choose the items I want on the computer, the order gets submitted to the deli, and I pick it up when my number is called.
That’s what I did today. I chose my meat and cheese, submitted the order, and walked away. It was only then that I remembered the pickle. Being as there was a huge line at the deli counter, I went back to the kiosk and ordered one pickle. The deli was buzzing with people ordering, people chatting about tonight’s game, all under the Giants and football decorations. It was kind of exciting, to see strangers so excited about the same thing.
When my meat order was ready, I headed over to the deli. While I was scanning my lunch meat, they called my pickle number. Great, I thought. I don’t need to come back. But no pickle was showing up on the counter. So I patiently waited because sometimes an order it being worked on or it gets mistakenly left on the back counter. And they were super busy. Finally, one of the guys asked what number I was waiting for. “Number 33,” I said. “It’s just one pickle.” So the guy turns, looks behind him, and walks off. I figure he’s going to get it. Nope. He starts helping other people. Okay, I think. Maybe someone else is working on it. So I wait some more. By now it’s been about 20 minutes. So finally I get in the “real” line. (Usually they have a number system—take a slip with a number on it and they’ll call your number in succession. But today, even with all those people there, it was a free-for-all.) Finally someone else decides to help me. I tell him what I’m waiting for. “Number 33, just one pickle.” “We don’t have pickles here,” he says. “You don’t have deli pickles,” I ask. “No, they’re down there,” and he points to a refrigerated case down by the bakery.
Okay, what? You’re a deli. You don’t have pickles? Even though it’s listed on the damned kiosk? Okay, so maybe they’re out of them. But why didn’t the first guy tell me this? Instead, he ignores me and I end up waiting 20 minutes for a pickle that doesn’t exist. Whatever. I storm off (well not really, but I was perturbed) and buy a jar of pickles. I tell my husband that it will have to do. I just love what customer service has become these days. This ruined my mood for the rest of my time in the grocery store, and from there people just annoyed me at every turn for whatever reason. This is why I prefer to get up early on Saturday and do my errands. I can avoid a huge crowd of people and the confusion that comes with it. I can actually make my way through the store without getting annoyed or peeved.
At least we’ll have a quiet and relaxing evening, watching our game, eating our sandwiches, chips, and beer. I won’t let the lack of a real deli pickle ruin it for me. Hopefully the Giants will win again.