In preparation for a dinner party I am having tomorrow, I stopped at a specialty food store today. One of the dishes I am serving required a decent amount of pancetta, which I cannot find at my usual grocery store, and I wanted to get a few bottles of nice wine.
I chose a store I had driven by many times but never tried. As I went in, I could see they had a good selection of all sorts of specialty products, and a very nice meat/deli department. I turned the corner to find their wine section, with a decent sized selection of wines from all over. As I attempted to find some Italian wines (in keeping with the Italian theme of tomorrow's dinner) I was approached by the very friendly wine buyer for the store.
I explained to her that I was looking for a nice red and white in a lower price range. Rather than judging the low range I gave her, she went to work recommending excellent wines under $15. One in particular she thought I should try, so she grabbed a wine glass off the shelf and opened the bottle.
"Here, shopping is more fun with a buzz," she said, as she handed me a glass of wine. "Walk around with it while you shop so it has a chance to breathe."
(incidentally, the wine buyer refused to sell me the wine I tried, as she said it wasn't "opening up" after it had a chance to breathe. Instead, she grabbed a substantially more expensive wine and gave it to me for the same price as the cheap one. Woo-hoo!)
Awesome, I thought to myself. This is the way to shop. I sauntered over to the deli (one must saunter when shopping with a glass of wine in hand) to get some pancetta.
"What can I do for you?" said the young girl behind the counter.
"A pound of pancetta, very thinly sliced, please," I answered politely, smiling, as I was enjoying this shopping experience.
The girl began slicing. Suddenly, an older woman showed up behind her.
"Is it for lunch meat or for cooking?? Cooking, right?"
I looked at the woman oddly, and told her it was going to be cooked. She made a face and then told the girl to slice it thick.
I waited for the slicing girl to turn around, so I could see what was happening to my meat. It was now being sliced far thicker than I wanted it.
"Excuse me," I interrupted, still politely, but feeling a little annoyed, "I asked for it to be sliced thin. Like paper thin. That isn't so much, ya'know, thin."
The girl looked frightened, and looked back at the older woman who had obviously instructed her to slice it the way she had. The woman stepped in.
"You are using it for cooking. It should be thick. It just falls apart when it is thin."
She held up a perfectly paper thin slice for me to see, as if this was proving her point, when in reality it only made me more annoyed. I was less polite this time.
"I WANT it that way. That is why I ASKED for it to be sliced thin. I do BELIEVE I know how I need it."
The woman shook her head, "No, we won't slice it that thin. We can't."
I shook my head in disbelief. A woman who was waiting on her deli order turned to me and smiled, "Evidently you don't know what you want?"
At this point I, rather loudly, said, "Of course not. What do I know? I'm only cooking the dish. I wouldn't know how I need the meat to be sliced. I may be Italian and actually know how to pronounce the word PANCETTA, unlike the lady behind the counter, but hey, what do I know?"
The lady walked away, and left the poor slicing girl behind to deal with me. I took the meat and decided that rather than make this poor girl cry, I would just make a phone call when I got home.
Fast forward to an hour later. I am back at the store, after having a talk with the manager, to have my meat sliced properly. The crotchety deli woman was nowhere to be seen, but three other ladies, including the original slicing girl were there to assist me. The manager made sure to let me know that I would receive free deli products next time I came in to make up for the inconvenience.
Who knew getting groceries would be such a roller coaster of emotion?!
Listening to: Just a Ride by Jem
Current Mood: Still assertive. Yeah, that's right.