The store of “no”
I visited the Dekalb County World Farmer’s Market this morning in suburban Atlanta. It is an amazing place, and I will laud it in another post. But it is also the strangest place I’ve ever shopped. It’s indoors and the temperature averages about 60 degrees, which is nice when it’s hot outside but nobody tells you to bring a sweatshirt to shop inside. Among the acres and acres of fish, meat, produce, cheese and everything else you can think of are strategically placed signs.
So here’s the first one. O.K., I get it. No opening packages before you buy them. One assumes there was a problem with this and, therefore, someone felt the need to create signs warning shoppers that they must keep all packages sealed until they had gone through the check-out line. So far I’m good.
Then I encounter this sign. Obviously, the market is addressing some sort of behavior. Are their customers so ravenously hungry that they cannot make it out of the store without eating the contents of their buggies? Really? I feel slightly chastised as if they are watching me to see if I peel back the plastic wrap on the wedge of cheese in my cart and take a nibble right then and there. I admit I am feeling a little peckish. But I refrain.
I line up at the check-out counter and note the refund policy.” Actually, there is no refund policy because there are “no refunds.” That is an amazing non-policy. In this vast market with hundreds of thousands of items, there is not one bad clam? Not one moldy piece of cheese? Not one package of anything that has passed the expiration date? I glance in my cart to make sure everything I have is in tip top shape. The lady who is checking me out says I cannot take photos of the signs. Too late, sister. I have the evidence.
So before I leave, I decide to visit the ladies room. And I am mesmerized by the sign on the inside back of the stall door. I understand employees washing their hands before returning to work. And I understand no smoking. But no standing on the toilets? I cannot imagine the scenario that would require a sign prohibiting standing on toilets. I briefly consider violating the rule. But I am afraid I cannot balance on the toilet seat and abandon the exercise. I am slightly disappointed in myself.