Grocery Store Blues

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“The bread aisle sure is looking empty,” I told the grocery store cashier.

“We won’t be getting anymore,” she responded with a frown.

“Not until Monday? ” I asked.

“Not ever,” she stated. “The store is closing.”

No! I thought. Not my favorite grocery store! This is the store closest to my house! This is the store I can practically navigate with my eyes shut!

“Oh, no!” I cried. “Where will I shop now?” As an afterthought, I added “Where will you go? Do they have a place for you somewhere else?”

The cashier told me that she had decided not to stay with the company but she hoped others would be offered positions in another store location.

Shaking our heads, we talked about the suddenness of the decision to close the store. There are other grocery stores nearby, “But,” I said, “it won’t be the same.”

I was attached to the people, even though I didn’t even know them all by name. I could count on a friendly greeting and easy small talk as I went through the checkout lines on my weekly (or more) shopping outings. I was attached to the store layout too. With only limited time, I could fly through the store, filling my cart with groceries for the week and hurry back home.

Now, I would have to select a new home store and learn the layout. I would have to get to know the people I would start seeing on a regular basis. I would be forced to calculate the travel time so I could squeeze the chore into my busy day. I had some planning to do.

The only bright side was the big store discounts that would be starting the next week and continue until the goods were gone.

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Posted on October 5, 2014, in Daily life, Writing 101 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Tildy, I thought that was very good and I think I could feel your voice in it. But I am going to give you some definitions from some actual English teachers that are in our class.

    First, in your sentence that has – layout, too. That shouldn’t have a comma.

    Now, @vakunzmann explains, “writer’s styles may change, depending on connotation, or emotion they are trying to convey. However, their voice should remain consistent… she further states that the way we actually talk should be reflected in our writing…

    @whisper2scream explains, We shouldn’t write exactly how we talk unless we are writing dialogue. Writer’s voice should reflect their personality. It comes through our word choices, the rhythm of our sentences and non-sentences and even our use of punctuation.

    I hope this helps.

    I enjoyed reading your post. I understand why you would feel the way you felt.

    Like

  2. Thanks, I will take the comma out. I’m not always sure if I am using too many or not enough commas. I am trying to sort through the concept of voice. I definitely code switch all the time in real life, speaking one way in casual conversation with friends and another way when it is called for in professional interactions. I even have a “telephone voice.” I’m not sure if blogging calls for a more friendly or formal writing style! Thanks for the input!

    Like

  3. whisper2scream

    I think a writer’s voice is her most important tool – and yet, it’s the most difficult to identify and use. Do you have a favorite author? If so, imagine someone giving you a selection of 3 pieces and asked you to identify which one your favorite author wrote. Chances are, the writer’s voice would be the give away. It’s not just about matching the way you talk – in fact, that’s not really it at all (I don’t think so, anyway…that’s a debatable point) – it’s about matching your personality. The way you think. The way you make sense of the world. As I type this, it all seems very fuzzy and I’m afraid this may not help at all. Let me give you some specific feedback – not necessarily about voice.

    I suggest removing this paragraph…

    Not everyone would feel my dismay at the thought of a store closing. Especially when the store is a grocery store. But, I am a creature of habit and loyal to a fault.

    You essentially go on to show all of this in the following paragraph. Good writers show rather than tell. This little paragraph tells and then you go on to show. You don’t need the tell.

    Also – and this is my Seinfeld moment – I think you might consider backing off on the exclamation point. It’s fine in the dialogue if it accurately captures the emotion of the moment, but the narrative doesn’t need it. The right word choice and imagery can much better convey your emotions than punctuation.

    Here’s your assignment – if you choose to accept it – rewrite this paragraph and let the disappointment that you are experiencing explode from the words you use (even the discounts shouldn’t ease the pain). Make the reader ache with you.

    Now, I would have to select a new home store and learn the layout. I would need to get to know the people I would start seeing on a regular basis! The only bright side was the big store discounts that would be starting the next week and continue until the goods were gone.

    Like

  4. Excellent points @whisper2scream. You know I wanted to put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence. I do have a fondness for them. Points taken. I will think about an edit. I would still like to end on a positive note since I want my blog to be upbeat and I want to find the bright side in (even tougher) situations. Would I then expand on that idea at the end?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. whisper2scream

    If you want an upbeat ending, then go for it. Please don’t let my feedback change the tone of your piece. My challenge is to isolate that one paragraph and do a little surgery on it for practice. It might help with developing your voice since voice is so closely connected with word choice, phrasing, intended emotions and even – and you’ll love this part – punctuation!!!

    Thanks for being open to feedback. I hope I didn’t seem too critical.

    Like

  6. Ha, funny–I was going to mention the exclamation point, but then I saw the comment by @whisper2scream so you’re covered. 🙂 Overall, I felt your voice came through, and as a creature of habit in a small town myself, I completely understand your dismay over the loss. No fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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