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OP-ED: I Went to Trader Joe’s and Did Not Get Killed by an Angry Mom Looking for the Ripest Tomatoes


Photo from PxHere / CC0

The day had finally come: I was sick of eating lint out of my pockets, and I had been standing in the self-checkout line at Frogro for three days. I had to walk, twenty agonizing minutes, to Trader Joe’s. I put this off for several reasons: I would have to decide between multiple types of fruit that are not covered in mold and make small talk with cashiers who seems content in their life after I entered the literal vortex of suburban hell.

There are women with yoga mats hoisted over their shoulders, young children eager to eat organic fruit chews, and grandparents that don’t look sad about being alive. This is usually combined with adults forming a mosh pit around bags of miniature avocados and employees running down the aisles to clean up a blood spill next to the spices and salsas. I have seen dark things in this windowless place. I saw a child abandoned in the freezer — her mother forgot about her while lunging for the last bag of frozen orange chicken. I witnessed an entire family camping out in line, anxiously awaiting their encounter with the cashier, their fate hanging on the line.

But this time, I made it out unscathed. A mother did not nearly slit my throat with her manicured fingers over a cluster of perfectly ripe tomatoes. The cashier looked moody and didn’t ask about where I’m from. I didn’t have to kick any children out of the way to look at the ice cream flavors.

It was a blessed day. I was in and out in twenty minutes. Then, I got sideswiped by a bus walking home because I was so overcome with joy I forgot to look both ways. In that moment, as the mother’s leaving TJ’s screamed at their kids, unable to watch their offspring because they are so overloaded by brown grocery bags, I didn’t regret a thing. God works in mysterious ways, and I found my faith at a Trader Joe’s in Philadelphia. Blessed be the fruit.