I was in a southside grocery store the other morning when a bell started ringing much like those heard on a large ship. An automated message immediately came over the intercom asking for a perishable manager to come to the dairy section. I happened to be in that department getting a gallon of milk at the time. Having worked as a stocker and cashier at Proctor’s Grocery in Eagle River, Alaska, years ago for a short while, I don’t recall anyone having the title of perishable manager.
Perhaps they should have because I remember a freezer going down overnight when no one was around, and the next morning a bunch of us quickly shuttling goods to an outside frozen food locker. It was a little too late because most of this stuff was already partly thawed.
Not wanting to be one of those vultures following ambulances or firetrucks to accident scenes, nonetheless, I hung around the dairy section of this store waiting to see what transpired. Most likely, those clanging bells I heard were meant as a warning to hustle, much the same as when Code 99 comes across a hospital loud speaker signifying cardiac arrest. I was in a hospital once when that happened, with nurses and doctors seemingly coming out of the woodwork all on a dead run to a certain patient’s room.
Several minutes passed in this supermarket as I stood around like a vagrant watching for things to happen. Not seeing anyone rushing to the scene I decided to leave. At this point, a plainly dressed employee with no badge calmy walked up with a laser thermometer and pointed it inside the dairy case. Maybe it was just me, but it appeared this worker didn’t see things here as a real emergency. I don’t know what the temperature reading was in that case because I wasn’t tall enough to see over his shoulder, although I tried. It must’ve been okay because the young man walked away laid back and unconcerned like when he first arrived.
I suppose had that bell sounded and the robocaller asked for a perishable manager to come to frozen foods it might’ve been a different story. When Banquet frozen dinners start melting along with Minute Maid frozen orange juice you’ve got a real crisis on your hands. During midsummer, when it gets really hot outside and I’m having to shop, sometimes I venture to this section and leisurely stroll through. I’ll even open a door or two just because I like the feel of twenty degree air hitting my face and body. I’ve seen other seniors do this as well, although none have admitted like me that the reason is to cool off. That short burst of cold air sometimes allows my underarms to chill which is a really good feeling.
Should one of these frozen food freezers ever go down when a slew of us seniors are gathered around it, hopefully, the perishable manager sees fit to call a repairman right away. It might be nice if this employee also knows CPR. Jus’ sayin’. And one more thing. Why not change the title of the position to “cold enforcement” with perhaps a badge to wear dictating such. People like me would then know to give these folks the same respect due cops and firemen.