Nov 13 2010

Marketing solo.

November 13th, 2010

I wanted a hamburger.   I didn’t want to walk next door to Bridgeport Brewery, pay a premium for a burger and sit alone.  As I recall it was a Friday.  Happy hour was underway.  I was more hungry than happy.   I made my way instead to Safeway.  In a brightly lit, refrigerated section of the store, I stood staring at a 2 1/2 # package of 85% lean ground beef.  I wanted a hamburger  – not 7 or 8  hamburgers.  I pushed my cart up to the meat counter.

Steve, the meat cutter, greeted me.  “How can I help you?”  he asked.  I explained that I was hoping to find single hamburger patties in the case.  There were none.

“I’ll make you one!” he said.

“You will?  Really?!”  I beamed.  A ready-to-cook patty without getting my hands cold and greasy!

Ever watch the movie Must Love Dogs? There is a scene involving a friendly butcher.  When asked by a customer for a chicken breast he opts to unrelentingly pitch the better value of buying a whole bird. His fate?  Sliced to ribbons.  Pushed to her limit, the shopper informs him,  “I am a divorced woman.   I live alone.  I eat most of my meals standing at the kitchen sink. Give me the chicken breast!”

I’ve done that – eaten standing in the kitchen, sometimes pacing.

Steve asked me, “How many ounces?  Tall or more flat?” (Sized to fit on an English Muffin, I decided, not wanting to buy 8 buns.)  “My wife likes her hamburger thick and juicy, so I make them tall.” I told Steve his wife was a lucky woman.

As I skipped off with my $.87 hamburger, I smiled.  Content with my purchase and amused by the line of singles forming at Steve’s counter.  Next time maybe I’ll buy the value pack and invite people over.

In Tulsa my son, Clay has had his own experiences shopping as a single chap.  I hope you’ll read his account at!/home.php?sk=group_156530951054013&view=doc&id=156802494360192 (11.15 update: Not on facebook or trouble with link?  Essay included below)

Happy shopping, Trix

By Clay Norvell – Marketing

Beep…beep…beep…“Please place the item in the bagging area.”

I let out a labored sigh. Every damn time I’m at the “self checkout,” I’m told what to do by an automated female voice. It makes me wonder why it’s called “self” checkout if I am constantly demanded to “Please wait for assistance,” – really meaning the assistance of another human. It would almost seem that I cannot be trusted to bag my own groceries.


While I assume most people wander the store aimlessly, thinking of mundane issues, I find myself thinking about my future. Will I be buying frozen dinners for one at age thirty? Will I ever have the occasion to use two place settings every night, or am I destined to single servings for the rest of my days?

Reflections, aisle two…Reflections, aisle two.”

The grocery store is a strange place to have the thoughts about prospects (or lack thereof) of matrimony; if one day you may sire offspring, or if your boss may be offended if you asked for the day off “because it’s Ted Bundy’s birthday.”

Oops! Don’t forget the White Castle burgers!

I push my industrial sized shopping cart along slowly; seeing as how I always get the one that has that one wayward wheel that buzzes like a ripped windsock every five seconds. Add more embarrassment to my cart.

Still I have to stop and laugh about some of the products I see…

“Hey, I never thought about buying a metric ton of Chunky Monkey! What a bargain!”


“Oh look, there’s a kiosk of cold sore medicine…must be close to Valentine’s Day. That reminds me a lot of that commercial where the people looked really happy learning how to kayak…”

Once I navigate my way to the checkout line, the reality of everything sinks in – I’m just embarrassed of my lack of culinary knowledge! I think everything in my basket screams out, “He’s been single since 2006! He’s getting lazier! He eats peanut butter two times a day!” I veer over to the self check-out to avoid this paranoia-based judgment by the cashiers. I can just imagine what they’re thinking.

Beep… ”Yeah, this guy lives alone.”

Beep… “There’s someone who definitely has commitment issues.”

Beep… “He wants to be an author? Yeah, and I read Playboy for the joke page.”

Beep… “He looks like Boris Karloff’s lovechild.”

Perhaps I’m just delusional.

They may be thinking of kayaking lessons after all.

©. N.