Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Grocery Graphics

When I was first starting out with Trader Joe's I had a boss, called in TJ pseudo-nautical parlance a "first mate" who was a very funny guy. It took me a while to understand his humor, but once I did I learned an important lesson about people. Which is, occasionally what appears to be insults and mistreatment is actually an expression of friendship. Of course you have to be very careful to interpret this correctly. This is much more common among straight guys, or males in general, than among women. It's entirely possible that you are really being insulted or abused. The difference is often non-verbal, as in a non-threatening smile behind the insult. And if this happens between two people who have a very different style of personality, or ethnic culture, it can be trouble. I realized, after more than a year of working with him, that he was treating me like a male friend, because he didn't get the idea that the boyish insults wouldn't win over women co-workers. And he was even more clueless about working with people of other ethnicities or races. That last one finally got him fired, something which some people said "he had it coming." 

However I found him memorable in ways that other, more socially skilled bosses were not. One thing this guy used to say, when we were all upset or disturbed or overworked or angry at each other, was this: "It's only groceries." In other words, it isn't national defense or police work or medicine or something that is a matter of life and death. At least, it usually isn't that dire. Every so often there is a disturbance in the grocery world that makes it clear that we shouldn't take our abundant food supply for granted. A few years ago, it was tainted spinach that got the news. 

Meanwhile I'm advertising harmless (mostly harmless?) olive oil popcorn, using a vaguely retro graphic style, writing something that is perhaps a bit too serious for an art by-product, but there you go.

Olive Oil Popcorn sign is acrylic markers on black-painted Masonite hardboard, 6 feet by 2 feet, July 22, 2014.

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