Coffee heat rising

Where Ya Gunna Go?

So I’m visiting the Albertson’s down at the corner of Conduit of Blight and Main Drag South. Normally I won’t go in there because I don’t enjoy being panhandled in the parking lot (once I had a bum actually chase me, at a dead run, across the parking lot). Yesterday, though, I wanted a roll of masking tape and, the Albertson’s being a huge general store as well as a grocery store, figured I could find it there.

Plus the store (or maybe the mall owner) has hired an armed guard, who’s posted outside the market’s front door. So I feel fairly confident that if I park close to the front door and walk directly in — and do not carry a purse slung over my shoulder! — I’m probably going to get in and out with a minimum of pestering.

My father would’ve liked that Albertson’s. Because it’s fairly huge, it carries a vast array of products, from pharmaceuticals and personal care products, to house and auto care products, to…of all things…food. But I can tell you for sure he wouldn’t have shopped there, because of the number of black folks who habituate the place. He was, as he liked to crow, “a bigot and proud of it.” The vast blocks of working-class apartments across the street are very similar to the ones where we lived in Southern California…well, except for the black folks. My mother would’ve been outta there like a rocket the instant the first dusky face surfaced. Whereas my father openly bragged about his expertise as a hater, my mother generally kept her mouth shut about her bigotries. But like him, she also lived by them. She wouldn’t have moved into our lily-white neighborhood because of the number of African-Americans dwelling right across the huge main drag that separates the ‘Hood  from the apartment blocks up here.

So as suggested, my father would’ve loved that store…it would have appealed to his workin’class genes. But my mother?… She probably would have thought of it as I do: fine in a pinch, but lacking in some aspects that one would like to have for shopping on a regular basis. Nevertheless, neither of them would have shopped there (or lived here, we might add…) because of the number of black folks among the customers.

My problem with that store, though, is that even though it’s huge and even though it carries most things you’d like to have, its offerings are kinda boring. Prepared foods are by and large additive-laced schlock. AJ’s, it is not. And…if there’s something you want right now and you went there because you were pressed for time and didn’t want to drive halfway to Timbuktu to get it at a Walmart or the Safeway, you can be sure they won’t have it.

On this particular trip, what I wanted was a roll of masking tape.

How hard is this? Masking tape.

Searched from pillar to post.

No masking tape. Picked up a couple of incidental items, though — a chunk of cheese, some fresh produce. But having found no masking tape I was flying down an aisle toward the checkout where…hallelujah! There on a bottom-most shelf next to the floor was one, count it (1) roll of masking tape. Not the blue type that I favor. But was I going to drive across the city to score a role of BLUE masking tape?


Out the door, much relieved not to have to schlep to the paint store.

Albertson’s armed guard lurks outside the door, where he oversees the customers’ and the bums’ comings and goings. This is a considerable improvement — in fact, it is THE reason I will go into that store these days. Once a panhandler actually chased me across the parking lot there, at a dead run. With a hired cop-like creature out front, that kind of thing is a lot less likely to happen.

Though…well…yeah. The last time I was there they had a shooting in that parking lot, in front of the block of buildings that houses the T-Mobile store.

Guess you can’t have everything, hm?

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