The Day Spiderman Joined the Grocery Store Wars

The Day Spiderman Joined the Grocery Store Wars

A Story by Paza


As is my habit on Sunday afternoons, I pulled into the parking lot of my local Kroger. I immediately noticed the large sign inviting me to “Come See Our New Look”. The parking lot was filled with enough little red, white and blue flags for five used car lots. Was their remodeling finally complete? I certainly hoped so. 


When the new Super Target opened down the street, both Kroger and the Super Wal-Mart decided they needed a facelift. The result had been three months of never knowing where the bread aisle will be from week to week in either store. My husband and I joked that as we wandered aimlessly around, we were casualties of the “Grocery Store Wars.”


I parked my car and walked up to the front door as a sultry voice over the speakers announced all the specials at the “new, convenient, in-store Starbucks!” I was asked to come on in and indulge myself in a luscious caramel macchiato…figures, they would have to advertise my favorite, but having just eaten lunch, I could remain strong enough to resist the siren’s song!


As I pushed the buggy across the front of the store, on my right sat a woman next to a strange looking chair with a sign proclaiming “Free Massage”. Obviously, she was not getting many takers. She gave me a bored smile as I walked past her empty chair. I guess there aren’t too many people who would be comfortable being seen getting their massage in the grocery store, free or not.


A few feet away I came up to the Halloween aisle. Tons of candy, costumes and huge electronic lawn ornaments were on display. Since when did Halloween become as big a holiday as Christmas?  I must have missed the memo.  As I was marveling at a seven foot ghost popping out of a pumpkin, I nearly ran into him…Spiderman. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud, but I knew it must have taken a lot of guts for that poor teenaged boy to don that leotard and hand out candy from a plastic jack-o-lantern to passing customers. If anyone at school ever found out who the face behind the mask was, I’m sure he would have been humiliated…another casualty of the “Grocery Store Wars”. I smiled kindly, declined the tootsie roll he offered me and moved on, keeping an eye out for the final location settled upon for the bread aisle. 


As I walked further, I came upon a rather long line. Long lines are nothing new for Kroger on Sunday afternoon, but usually they begin at the cash registers…this one originated with a caricature artist, and not a very fast one at that. These people were going to be there a while. I noticed several of the children in the line had balloon animals…warning me of the probable presence of a clown somewhere in the store…if I was watchful, I could avoid it! Next up was the chef’s stand…at least, I thought, this seemed to belong in a grocery store. There was a small crowd gathered around as he demonstrated how to prepare a delicious looking chicken dish, but my dinner plan for tonight was bar-b-que, so I passed without much of a second glance.


I finally found the newly relocated bread aisle and picked up two packages of delicious looking rolls. Drifting through the remainder of the store, I chose items from my list, eventually coming to dog food. As I lifted the twenty pound bag of dry food from the shelf, my ears were treated to a new sound coming over the speakers. Playing on top of the normal muzak noise of “Disco Inferno”, a more appealing tune lilted through the air…that of a jazz combo, playing “Blue Skies”. I shook my head as I lowered the sack onto the rack at the bottom of the cart and decided I had had enough…it was time to check out. 


Pushing the cart to the front of the store, I passed the three piece combo, complete with a stand-up bass, and picked a promising looking line.  While waiting, it occurred to me that Kroger might have a better chance of winning the war if instead of the caricatures, combos and clowns (oh, my!), they simply opened a few more check stands.  As I listened to the checkers gossiping with the sackers and the manager admonishing her employees to get back to work, “Blue Skies” gave way to “Blue Moon” and eventually, “Blue Suede Shoes”. Just as I began to sense a pattern, the combo took a decidedly more folksy turn with one of my old favorites “Puff the Magic Dragon”.   


Leaving the store, I took one last look back, only to see Spidey himself, dancing, plastic pumpkin full of candy in hand, along side the combo to a rousing “This Land Is Your Land”. Like one of those dreams with completely random elements, I’ve always heard that war is surreal.

© 2008 Paza

Author's Note

absolutely true story...not a single fabrication...of my trip to the grocery store last Sunday...

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Pathatic... I'm guessing that there were people there that traveled for miles to be there for the opening, like a vacation trip! Too bad.

I enjoyed reading this though. Reminds me of what i don't want to be!
Thanks for sharing.
Check back in ten years, Spidey will still be there!

Posted 8 Years Ago

I'm afraid I would have walked out long before I found the bread isle. You are truly brave! I absolutely detest shopping but this circus would have had me seeking a psychiatrist! Wonderfully written, funny, charming and a bit too real. Good job!

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on October 21, 2008



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