Time And Time Again, The Line For The Grocery Store Deli Is A Hellacious Nightmare
There is a comradery amongst those of us brave enough to stand on line at that counter, battered and lifeless from a day spent working a job that is devoid of intellectual satisfaction or monetary compensation.
Those forty plus hours per week that we all log become all too apparent when we’re standing together, tickets in hand and staring longingly at the number counter on the wall behind the workers slicing up meat. We work a job we hate for this moment - this is why my fellow compatriots and I are paid the medium bucks.
We all want something that sits behind the glass of those deli cases, and the extra couple of dollars that these meats and cheeses cost is worth it to avoid the Oscar Meyer’s and Applegate pre-packaged brands of the world. I’ve found that the pre-packaged stuff gets slimy much quicker than freshly sliced deli meat, and it’s tough for me to even eat that stuff any more when it’s offered.
It might be a pound of Boars Head peppered turkey. Hell, maybe you’re a Dietz & Watson loyalist with a craving for some maple and honey ham. Whatever it is, you’re here now, standing around in front of that long expanse of moderately priced meats and cheeses and wondering just how long this whole process is going to take.
For the uninitiated, standing on line at the grocery store deli is nothing short of hell on Earth. The after work grocery store trip is a suicide mission of sorts. If you were too lazy or inebriated over the weekend to get yourself groceries for the week, the only option is going on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday night after you’ve finished your cube duties.
There will be throngs of people and even the most efficient deli counters in American grocery stores are going to keep you waiting for at least ten minutes. The pull tab system is not new. It’s efficient, it’s simple, and it works, but my God is it tough to stand on line when you’re eight, nine, or ten numbers away from getting called up.
The amateurs reading this are probably thinking that if you’re eight to ten numbers away from getting called, why not just go get a couple of your items while other people get served and cut down on the time you’ll have to spend at the store? To that all I can do is heartily laugh. Everyone else that is a couple of people away from getting called is thinking that exact same thought, and if they all leave, guess what happens? You get closer to the front. The key to waiting in line at a grocery store deli is patience.
Rage, frustration, hunger, and acceptance. These are just a few of the feelings you’ll have when you’re standing there, phone in hand, watching a frustrated forty-year-old woman (with two children in tow arguing over who gets dibs on the iPhone) try to decide how much deli meat she should buy for the week.
The key to a successful deli-counter trip is to know what you want before your number gets called. If you know you want turkey, spend the ample wait time you have perusing peppered, maple, and mesquite smoked flavors from Boars Head, making sure to shout your selection from on high as soon you begin deliberations with the person behind the counter. Waste no time looking at your phone while waiting in line. Have your order ready and never get discouraged by the number of people in front of you.
It’s perseverance and sheer will power that will get you to the front and nothing else. Push through the adversity, and never, under any circumstances mutter this phrase to yourself when you see that the line is outrageously long - “Well, I guess I could always just get some Oscar-Meyer turkey from the pre-packaged section down the way.”