The following is an account (and the subsequent letter sent to customer service) of a recent trip to my local grocer, Sprouts.
Yesterday, as I often do on the way home from the office, I dropped by my favorite grocer to grab some produce items for dinner—quinoa salad with tomato, cucumber, red and orange bell peppers topped with a light chipotle cheddar dressing. As a result of being a single male with a halfway health conscious appetite and a mostly barren refrigerator, I’m sure you can imagine I embark on this adventure regularly, almost daily. I imagine in a perfect world I’d have a garden—that someone else mends—to provide all the freshest, vine ripened produce I could ever want. Until it gets that cold in Arizona and elsewhere I guess I’ll just have to count on Sprouts. Or, I wanted to just count on Sprouts.
Apologies, I got lost somewhere between Vanilla Sky and What Dreams May Come, back on point. I saunter in (might have swaggered actually) and jump into my usual routine; hand basket, produce aisle, squeezing melons, and finally grabbing some peppers and cucumbers—the English seedless variety, I’m down with GMO when the benefit is so obvious. Oh I almost forgot, beer too. You see, in addition to the fine produce and $3 lunch sandwiches, Sprouts’ fine selection of delicious hops and grains is the second (oh let’s not kid ourselves, it’s the first) reason I choose to come here. Ok, sometimes I feel like I’m going to get mugged or herpes if I go to the other grocer that sounds like what you order with your burger across the street but that’s third on the list. Anyway, I hope you can feel the love and admiration here.
There I am watching the sweet girl ring up my peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and beer—I went with a nice porter—and as I’m swiping my debit card I notice something seemingly out of place. Glance to the deli counter, back at the bagger—paper of course as it provides me some false sense of environmental consciously aware do good fuzzy butterfly feelings—and then back at the miniature bear of a dog with its owner at the deli counter.
Now, if I were a dog I would surely love to continue to make my almost daily stops into Sprouts. What dog wouldn’t? Maybe if that ever becomes the case you could start carrying some pickled cat paws on the meat counter? I know it’s silly to think I’ll ever truly be a dog, at least in the most literal interpretation of the word, which is why I find it silly to even spot this creature inside your store. I assure you I had not started drinking (that much) yet so I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a vision. Besides, who has visions of dogs? If it were a vision I’d absolutely hope it was a bit more majestic than a labradoodle or cockapoo or whatever boutique mixed bred mutt du jour it was.
Back to the sweet girl checking me out while I’m running my card—I run it before checkout is complete so as to speed up the process, I’m that cognizant of others’ time—and my inquiry, “are dogs even allowed in stores?”. I probably should have started with confirmation first, “am I seeing a dog or is that just a vision of a not so majestic creature over there” and then moved into my original question after affirmation of said creature of non-majestic stature and being. She kindly informed me that dogs were not allowed in the store and it was, in fact, against store policy.
But then everyone just stood there, staring. Did they want me to inform this person of Sprouts’ policy towards animals? As an aside, this was not a service dog, I know this because it had neither cape nor white collar, neither robe nor vest and it certainly wasn’t carrying anyone’s cane or luggage. There we are, all staring at dog and owner. I get it; the deli counter employee would inform them of the policy. That only makes sense because the dog is sitting there with his paws on the counter. Staring, watching, anticipating, waiting; they write down her order and I can only assume the dog’s order as well. If I were a dog ordering at the deli counter I’d probably go turkey and bacon with extra mayo, extra bacon, hold the sprouts and onions, and Gouda on whole wheat. But I’m not a dog standing at the deli counter nor should I ever be.
Nobody said or did anything! I’m perplexed and dumbfounded. You see at my place of business it’s against policy for people to work in their underwear. Once someone showed up in their underwear and we had to, sadly, inform them that they had to leave and go put clothes on. Nobody wanted to do it but you see that’s the thing with policies (and you know, those pesky health codes), if they aren’t enforced then just do away with them. Maybe I just missed something and “Dogs Welcomed” is the new store policy and you forgot to put a sign up and inform the staff? If that’s the simple explanation here then you have my most sincere apologies for the misunderstanding.
I’ll see you tomorrow on my way home, in my underwear, with my dog.