The SuperDuper Supermarket
by Natalie Burns
Somewhere, sometime, and somehow, someone came up with the idea that a SuperDuper Supermarket would out sell an enclosed shopping mall. Irregardless of the various stores offering disperse merchandise, those demoniac minds that churn only to convince us that if we spend more money then we are actually spending less, that going into debt equates saving, decided that one huge store, with a theme so compelling, a store that totally encompassed the shopping experience and raised shopping to the level of spiritual transendency, this indeed could outsell the mundane air-conditioned multifaceted malls.
And so it was conceived, and funds were raised by rabid investors frothing at the mouth, unable to conceal their merriment of indeed beating the stock markets when the SuperDuper Supermarket trounced the local malls. Theme engineers were hired and fortunes were made in selling the services of contractors and advisors all to build the edifice that was to indeed be the total purchasing experience.
Years of dedicated hard work by scores of hundreds of laboring men and women, dedicated to the establishment of the most unique shopping encounter replete with sensual and comprehensive selling engagements of the mind and soul over matter. Psychologists and psychiatrists worked together with sales decorators to enhance the experiential lift of entering into a new realm of acquisition.
After mounds of inhumanous effort the giant complex neared completion. Only one thing was lacking now: The grand opening.
Those great and dedicated minds that gave us the concept of theme shopping with experiential purchasing in an environment that lifted the shopper out of the doldrums of mediocrity and propelled him into the lofty high of the new era of business were not satisfied with just any grand opening. Something special had to be arranged. What could it be?
Of course the normal Hollywood stars, those suave and handsome men with their young female elbow holder dressed in tight sequenced dresses with enough bosom flopping out would obviously be needed, but, of course, that was too passe to pass for a grand opening of the colossal SuperDuper Supermarket.
A flurry of lights in the sky brought about by a light and sound show, capped by fireworks and a squadron of jet fighters flying overhead in tandem loops to awe the expected crowd was also incorporated.
What else could the consortium of investors and Mad Ave men utilize to woo the consumer to come to visit the greatest event that would soon take place in the annals of selling? A think tank secluded themselves for a week tossing about various other methods to publicize the SuperDuper Supermarket to the public. After all, not just local towns folk were potential customers, but also others living with in a 6 to 8 hour drive were to be lured to this historic occasion.
Finally, it was agreed upon by those lofty and great minds: A lottery was to be made and the winner would get an hour to go into the SuperDuper Supermarket to take out anything that he desired, and it would be his to keep. The idea was that the media would build up the event to arouse interest in the public mind. When the lucky and fortunate lottery winner would enter he would be followed via the closed circuit television camera, which would show all of those viewers exactly what the SuperDuper Supermarket contains and the attractiveness and desirability of actually entering such a palace of merchandise to which there is no comparison.
Of course millions were spend on advertising. The campaign was a success beyond imagination and a lucky name was pulled out of an electronic hat. Jim, the slow moving clerk at some non-descript office, sporting a sagging pouch and flat feet, was the winner.
Imagine the joy of Jim's wife when she learned that her very own Jim, a latent couch potato, was soon to be the recipient of any merchandise that he could take out of the doors of the mega-complex, the SuperDuper Supermarket.
Well needless to say, Donna, Jim's wife was adamant that Jim take time off from work to train in the local gym. She was not looking for Jim to run out of steam when there was so much more loot and booting to remove from the store all for their personal profit. Obviously, she explained to Jim boy, that it really didn't matter what he took out, the most important thing was to get as much out as possible. What they did not need, they could sell.
Here was an opportunity for old Jim and Donna to up their class of living. A once in a life time chance for quick bucks in the space of one short hour. Who could possibly describe the dedication of Donna in bringing Jim into shape. She spent hours at the gym insisting that Jim be given the best training instructors so that he should be strong and capable to endure one full hour of the most intensive shopping spree here-to-fore known to mankind.
On that eventful day, Donna brought Jim boy down to the appointed parking lot in front of the SuperDuper Supermarket. There, Jim in his Adidas racing outfit and Nike shoes looked like a sportsman ready for the match.
The financial consortium had arranged that the media should be entertained by national television and film stars. The most popular quiz show host was there to introduce Jim to the public and give a running commentary on his progress (and of course use every opportunity to plug this new shopping experience). Music played, wine flowed and the television camera panned the crowds who were packed into bleachers built in the gigantic parking lots. The assembled masses were waiting for the hour at which Jim would be set loose in the supermarket and all of its glory and pageant would be revealed for all to regale and enjoy.
Is it really possible to describe in print, in mere words, the strong emotions felt by Jim?. Standing as he was in front of throngs of curious onlookers, flanked by Hollywood's young and beautiful celebrities, and being televised coast to coast on prime time television ( and on three different networks!). Donna was beside herself, wrapped in emotions she pulled at a kerchief that she used to wipe the perspiration from her freshly painted face.
Jim tread in place keeping his blood pressure constant as he prepared for the go. The smooth and suave announcer had just given the rules of the game to the public. Jim fixed his mental countenance upon being surefooted, moving in his $250 springing shoes recently purchased especially to insure a positive supportive movement as he psyched himself for the move. He had practiced running, the turning, at the expense of losing time from work, and missing his weekly snooker game, Jim had spent hours practicing this single run. Now he was ready.
The gun flashed, the crowd roared, Donna screamed, Jim moved. Swiftly like an expert, Jim advanced from the parking lot through the front doors. Once inside the closed circuit cameras were trained on him. The crowds outside glimpsed at the man who held their dreams and envy that night via large screens set up outside. Jim quickly and effortlessly grabbed a shopping cart and began to run down the first aisle.
Advancing on the soon to be advertised specials, Cola in six-pack containers! Jim scooped them up quickly and in a graceful turn came back through the second aisle. Here Jim began to fill up what was left empty in the shopping cart with crackers and cookies. Quickly advancing on the exit door, Jim pushed the cart out, quickly reversed his direction and headed back into the store.
Repeating his first attempt, he grabbed a second cart and this time took form the opposite side of the aisle. Here he scooped up the six packs of beer and turning towards the exit he loaded it up with pretzels and assorted salty snack foods. Shooting the cart out of the store, Jim turned around and repeated his actions in front of the cameras, he scooted down the frozen food aisle and lifted up the minute steaks, the turkey necks, the gizzards and Mexican enchiladas. Turning the aisle he came down the paper goods section and loaded up with paper diapers (it mattered not that they had no child, since goods are equal to money), charcoal briquettes, and then filled the space in the cart with plastic forks and knifes.
After whizzing out the cart once more, Jim returned to grab another cart and loaded that one up with miscellaneous sundry. And again and again, he ran back and forth narrowly slipping and falling until finally the fog horn sounded which ended this one man's heroic mission to take out as much as possible from the SuperDuper Supermarket.
Jim was exhausted. Although he had prepared for this run, still, the actual run was more intense that he had imagined. As he walked out, he began making a mental calculation as to the worth of what he had acquired. So many cartons of beer times so much money plus so many frozen split peas times so much money, and on and on. He walked back to the announcer amidst the cheering crowd, too tired to notice Donna overcome by emotion at the thought of all they had profited. Sweat pour down his forehead, his limbs tingled, and his flat feet ached as he walked across the parking lot to the cheering crowd and anxiously awaiting announcer.
Now the announcer had to begin to tell the world about the SuperDuper Supermarket as Jim advanced to him. "Well Jim, m'boy, you've done really fine. All of us were really cheering for you!" Exhausted Jim feigned a smile in appreciation, like a weary sportsman who has just set a new record.
"You have seemed to really enjoy emptying out the grocery section of the SuperDuper Supermarket, but Jim, why did you not go beyond the groceries. In the next theme center, you would have seen the electronics section where you could have picked up a nice high fi, stereo, television, computer, or camera."
"Huh?" Jim puffed not really aware of what was being said.
"And in the next floor, in the ladies section, besides the lovely dresses and outfits from Paris and Rome, we have furs and real diamonds. Lovely necklaces and fine watches. I bet your wife would have appreciated those!" The announcer continued, "Not to mention the lovely gift section replete with silver and gold imported from Italy, France, and Taiwan."
"What?" Jim was getting his breath, "They got all that too?"
"Jim boy, everything available in the world in under that roof, You could have gotten yourself a fine new car, like Rolls-Royce? a motorcycle, Harley, Honda, BMW, boats, not to mention house hold appliances like stove, refrigerators. Not to mention the men's department, with imported worsted wool suits, and French silk shirts"
"What you got all of this there too?" Jim asked in amazement. Suddenly his felt sick to his stomach. He had taken out several hundred dollars worth of foodstuff, maybe a thousand dollars. But a chance to take out a car, a boat? He did not realize that that also was there too.
The crowd began to laugh. Jim had grabbed onto the first things that he saw. He took the specials, the quick and easy things to take out. He did not take the time to look around the store to see what else it possessed.
But it was too late - the mistake was made. So he got a lot of beer and pretzels. He could have gotten a new car, a new boat, diamond rings, but he did not look for it. He only took the first thing that he saw. Sadly Jim and Donna collected their booty as the television crews packed. It was all over and they took home what they won.
Life is sort of like that. Some people jump into it and never look around to see what is available. The first thing they see they grab and continue.
A wise person takes sometime off to see what is available and what it is worth. After 120 years we finish down here and we go to the next world. What are you going to take with you?
Judaism is not just that which you have become accustomed to. Judaism contains everything - but you just must raise your eyes and look.
from the July 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine