By: Jen Kirkman
It's that time of year again. I will buy my Tofurkey at Trader Joe's. I'm a vegetarian. I don't want to get into it. Please, don't make fun of me. I've heard it all before. “You know plants are technically alive…” You might think it's sad that I lug a log of fake turkey to the host's house but I try to do it quietly and without attention being drawn to me. It usually works out.
The problems began for me last year when I rolled up to the register at Trader Joe's. The cashier rang up my items and it was uneventful at first. And then he spotted my box of Tofurkey. He grabbed it and said, “I'm not ringing this up. You can't eat turkey just one day of the year?”
I then had the world's most boring conversation about being a vegetarian for 20 years and if I did cheat one day – why would I risk having digestion problems on Thanksgiving? I'm already going to have a hangover the next day. That's enough excitment for one long weekend.
He opened my box of Tofurkey and said “Heads up!” to the cashier next to him and tossed my loaf like a football. The other cashier fumbled and my Tofurkey was on the floor. We stood over the dead tofu and he said, “I used to be a vegetarian. I had a girlfriend who was one and she convinced me to be one. Then we broke up. And I got a new girlfriend. A meat-eater.”
On the word meat eater – he flexed his bicep. He said, “She was good in bed. So I started eating meat again. I had forgotten what I was missing.”
Then he mimed sex with his arms and hips. You know the move.
The manager came over and said, “Can I get you another one?” I wanted to tell on this cashier who told me about his meat-eating sex life but before I could – the manager said, “You tell her you used to be a vegetarian?” The cashier laughed, “Yeah. I told her the story.”
What manager sees that their cashier dismantled a Thanksgiving dinner, talked about his sex life and acts like the only abnormal thing is the vegetarian who is just trying to get the hell out of there?
Everytime I go to Trader Joe's something like this, but not as bad happens. The cashiers are too friendly and nosey. ‘I'm met with question after question. One time I was interrogated about why I don't have ‘an outdoor BBQ grill. Another time I was told by an older cashier that I looked too young to be buying wine. Then he proceeded to tell me that I must have good genes to be 34 but appear to be in my 20's. He told me his ex-wife had good genes but her mother had better ones and he still wants to take his ex-mother-in-law on a date because she is beautiful for her age, but she won't return his phone calls.
I'm not saying people should ring up my order in silence but do we have to talk about meat or sex? I'm glad the employees only have to wear Hawaiian print nametags as opposed to shirts but let's keep progressing, and maybe we'll get to the point where cashiers can just go back to talking about the weather, or else I'm taking my complaint to Trader Joe himself. He'll probably rape me.