Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bicycle Conversations at the Grocery Store

The cart corral at my local grocery is convenient to the parking lot, but out-of-the-way if you park a bicycle beside the store. Wearing my helmet, sunglasses with rear-view mirrors, and carrying my pannier (bike bags) I spied a cart near the door, and walked briskly towards it.
An employee came out the door and started pushing it toward the corral.
“May I have that cart?”
“Sure. If you’ll tell me where you got those glasses with mirrors.”
I took off my glasses, and showed him how the mirrors were friction fit to the earpieces. You can put them on any glasses. The company only makes the left side mirror, but you can put one on the right if you put it on upside down and sideways.


I got through the store without many more questions. But when I tried to buy lake perch in the fish department, I learned that the store only gets them for about 6 weeks a year – in the spring. So why did I want them? Lake perch is a comfort food for me. My grandfather used to take me out in his boat on what we called Lake Grampie in Chetek Wisconsin. He’d catch a fish, come right home, clean and cook it. Sometimes my grandmother cooked it. Either way, fresh lake perch means time with my grandparents, morning glories on the laundry line, when the sun comes up, watching the neighborhood porcupine, boating on a freshwater lake, all is right with the world. I couldn’t even get a frozen perch. So, I bought some tuna, that the man behind the counter assured me was fresh caught.
At checkout, the saleswoman asked if my pannier were waterproof.
“That’s why I bought them. That and the fact that they have no zippers to break.” She’d been doing research on the web and come to the same conclusion I had that waterproof pannier are worth the extra cost. We discussed the merits of different sized bags. She wanted one that her laptop could fit inside. She concluded that the one I bought would do the job she needed. I told her if she needs something bigger, to check the Jandd brand. They’re available with waterproof covers, or completely waterproof models. They hold a grocery bag full of stuff, but they cost about twice the price of the one I bought.
I got the Axiom Monsoon model.

Then she asked if I wanted to donate my bag refund.
“No,” I said. “I just bought these pannier. I want them to pay for themselves. They’ll last me about 20 years, and a nickel each time I use them will just about break even.”

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