Recently, I read an unfortunate post from Gage about just plain not feeling the inspiration to write. I have say Gage,  I feel for you. As my numerous (and overwhelmingly popular) posts to your blog can prove, I haven’t had the inspiration to write much lately either.

So in an effort to give my favorite Phreelance Writers a few well-deserved days off (and keep myself from getting rusty) I present to you:

The Grocery Diaries:

Part I: “Signage”

It had been three months without a journalism job and I had given up. The bills were looming and the thought of moving in with my mom made me queasy. It was officially time to settle. So my master’s degree and I decided to accept the job at the local grocery store.

Thirty minutes into day one and I realized I was too smart for this job. My first big lesson? How to “condition.”  Now follow me here, this is where it gets confusing. Move two products from the back of the shelf to the very front edge. Still with me? Make sure the labels are facing towards the front. Repeat for every single product on the shelf. In case you didn’t understand, let me make it perfectly clear:

Bad "Conditioning"

Good "Conditioning"












Six hours later, as I “conditioned” the cereal aisle,  I was nearly tearing up at the epic failure I’d become. Ten years of journalism experience boiled down to whether or not the Frosted Flakes lined up right.

By the time my ten hour shift was over, I wanted to shoot myself.

I wondered how the hell I was going to make it through tomorrow’s ten hour shift when it came to me: smoke  weed.

The next morning, after smoking a bowl on the way to work, my manager posed a question: “Do you have good handwriting? I need you to make a sign.” Ecstatic at the prospect of not having to touch canned vegetables for a precious few minutes, I was immediately on board.

Now, when you ask most people to make a sign, it’s probably no big deal. You write a few words (i.e. “Springdale Milk”), maybe in block letters if you’re feeling real fancy. But for a stoned journalist with a former studio art minor, it’s just not that easy.

When I asked if my manager wanted the information left-justified or centered and I received a blank look in return, I realized I was on my own. My first grocery store sign was no masterpiece, just simple, centered information. I even got fancy and put a solid line around the edge just to give it a little “pop.” But when I started walking it back to the seafood department, I had to stop in my tracks. There hung a sign advertising free items with a specific purpose and in the corners, someone had written “WOW!” in big bold lettering.

I've just been raised a "Wow"

Oh hell no. It’s on.

I immediately headed back to the office, picking up a pack of multi-colored sharpies from the shelf along the way. Outdo me, will you? I have a G-D master’s. Before I knew it, I was surfing YouTube for “how to draw farm animals” and well, let’s just say my signs are now legendary.

check out those flawlessly executed 'grocery store nines'

It’s the small victories, right?