Friday, August 20, 2010

Learnings from a run-of-the-mill shopping trip

I went to get some bike accessories and groceries today after work.  Sounds like a fairly typical Friday evening so far.  I'm not sure if I got particularly reflective today, but a few incidents made me think about a few life's little principles.

Best advice is useless if it does not fit the context
I went to MEC to get some bike accessories.  While I had the attention of the very helpful and knowledgeable staff, I asked him for some advice on bike locks.  He went into great length explaining and demonstrating the proper way to lock my bike, which involves taking off my quick release front wheel.  I told him it may not be always practical to take off and put on the wheel.  Somehow, the idea of not wanting to go to drinks with dirt on light colored clothing or go to dinner with dirt in my finger nails seems foreign to him.  After 5 minutes of circular discussion, this nice MEC staff still refused to tell me any other "not the best" options, or at least explain the pros & cons of the various options. 

Best option is usually just around the corner
While I was at the Chinese grocery store, I wanted to get some noodles.  I cruised up & down the noodles aisle, noodling over which noodle to get.  I wanted to get something I have not tried before and packaged in a compact way that won't get crushed in my bag while I biked.  After what felt like eternity, I finally gave up and decided to check out.  Just as I exit the aisle, a stack of boxes caught my eye.  There they are!  Medium wide egg noodles in a tight non-easily crushable bag!  And they were on sale!

Law of diminishing satisfaction
As I went through the checkout line, I heard this escalating noise of 2 people arguing.  It turns out an old man and a cashier was in a screaming match.  The dialogue was in mandarin and went pretty fast, so I could not catch much of the content.  It seemed to be about some kiwi fruit - either the old man got charged more than he should, or the cashier forgot to pack the kiwis in his bag.  Every time the old man looked like he was walking away, he would turn around and yelled more at the cashier, or the cashier would start to yell at him, both in escalating screams.  Walking out of the grocery store, I can't stop thinking how more screaming can provide more satisfaction either way.

And on my way I went to get some freshly made bahn bao ... no drama there - just drooling over the dessert counter while I lined up at the cash ...

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