Friday, November 20, 2009

Everyday Life: Social Smackdown at the Supermarket

The weekend after Veterans' Day, I went shopping at my local Giant to purchase some raspberries and yogurt that were on sale. The one tucked away in a currently bucolic area of Alexandria, formerly and aptly known as the Hamlets, which the City and its partners are now turning into a construction zone and is soon to become a concrete cookie cutter copy of everywhere else. As I checked out, there was suddenly a commotion in the adjoining aisle. Apparently perturbed at waiting too long behind a woman whose payment was government subsidized, a middle aged man "lost it." Her lengthy tinkering with the contents of her cart to come within a certain dollar amount pushed him over the edge and he loudly let loose on how his tax dollars were partially paying her tab anyway, so "here's the difference, let's move the line."
And with that this sleepy little community store erupted into a microcosm of what's troubling America today. Too many handouts - to the rich and to the poor, squeezing those stuck in the middle to, well, class warfare and a social smackdown at the supermarket. Rapacious residential landlords, in subprime hock themselves, seeing only visions of dollar signs in their tenants eyes, exacting a hidden human toll. Well ahead of schedule, Mark Center is losing its neighborly neighborhood feel. Which is why I, and many others, are leaving. Bah, humbug and Ho, Ho, Ho.

Karen Ann DeLuca