Have you noticed how bright grocery stores can be? Other than hospitals and department stores, they’ve got a corner on the market, which makes them delightful to be in. I don’t even mind when they’re the white fluorescent lights, maybe because it makes the place feel like a giant extension of my refrigerator. And as a kid, I was mostly there for the bouncy balls that my mom refused to buy, the brightly colored fruits, the neatly arranged cans, and the shiny tiles that you could play hot lava on. I also remember doing chaine turns from ballet class down Costco aisles, when I was young enough to get away with it. When I was a little older, my mom would take my sister and I to Albertson’s after class, and we’d run, starving for a snack at 4pm, to the grape tomato samples that Albertson’s just left out all day. It was probably a public health problem, in retrospect. For the longest time I thought they stopped leaving out samples because my sister and I would get to them before any paying customers did.
The guy at the deli also handed out samples when my mom asked me to pick a ham or a cheese. I vaguely know that honey ham is delicious, and cheddar cheese not so much, but I never learned to tell the rest apart. I still choose at random, when I go shopping on my own.