Blue Check Special

Story by Guest Contributor Daniel Aegan (@Daniel_Aegan)

Grocery shopping isn’t something a lot of people look forward to doing. Most people want to go to the store, get their goods, and get out. They want to do it all at the best prices possible. Local Connecticut grocer, Haven Mart, has taken the initiative to save its business from dwindling sales amidst fierce competition.

“We’re surrounded by chain supermarkets,” Haven Mart owner Sal Weir told us. “These places got primetime commercials airing, deals on brand name food, and plenty of name recognition. I can’t keep up with them! We had to do something to keep our stores open.”

The original idea came from Leviathan ‘Levi’ Jones, a stockman at Haven Mart’s flagship store. “So I’m on Twitter, right, and I have an account that sends out porn gifs every hour. Anyways, my interactions went way down, and I can’t figure out what happened. It turned out that if I wanted to stay relevant, I had to pay that space car guy—I think his name’s Elroy Cucks—eight bucks a month to stay cool with the algorithm or some shit. Can you believe that?!”

Sal believed it. After walking into the break room to hear Levi go on a profanity-ridden rant about ‘Elroy Cucks’ and the eight-dollar-a-month fee for a verified account and the premium goodies that came with it, Sal had the mother of all innovative ideas.

“I called it ‘Haven Mart Premium’,” Weir told us with a grin. “Eight dollars a month makes you a Verified Shopper, giving you access to all kinds of perks and benefits not available to others. Of course, we can’t afford to give discounts on groceries or anything extravagant like that, but it has its advantages for sure.”

One of those advantages Haven Mart implemented was Premium Cash Registers. At all times, two lanes are open for monthly members of Weir’s service. These lanes are always staffed with the quickest and sexiest cashiers in the store.

“Our Premium cashiers are trained to always be extra friendly,” Weir added with a wink.

Sexy cashiers waiting at the end of the Premium lanes aren’t the only perk in store for Verified Shoppers. There is also a ‘First Dibs’ area for produce, where those who subscribe to the service can get fruit and vegetables the day they’re stocked instead of shopping from the regular area that holds whatever the Verified Shoppers didn’t buy the day before. There is also a second ticket machine by the deli, allowing those who pay Haven Mart eight bucks a month to bypass everyone else waiting for their cold cuts, regardless of how long they’ve been standing there.

“That deli ticket thing pissed off a lot of people,” Haven Mart’s head delicatessen clerk Cassandra Vega said. “Imagine waiting an hour on Sunday for cold cuts, only to have someone with a fancy card get in front of you because they paid for the privilege to be a jerk.”

“Needless to say,” Vega said needlessly, “I’m not a fan.”

“They’ll get over it,” Weir retorted regarding his staff’s complaints. “Everyone called Isaac Newton crazy when he invented the first gravitron machine, and no one mocks him now that we’re not floating into outer space every time we sneeze, right?”

A cranky delicatessen clerk wasn’t the only one unimpressed with Weir’s premium deals. Most of the store’s longtime customers were furious about the change of policy and the trouble it caused.

“This is bullshit!” Leo Summers, a once proud and loyal patron of Haven Mart told us. “I’ve been comin’ here for years, and now I have to pay eight bucks a month or get cut in line and have to go to the ugly cashier? Fuck this, I’m going to the Shop Rite!”

“Things are too expensive as they are!” June Bowers complained. “It’s hard enough to afford groceries with the cost of everything going up, and now they want to charge a fee for supermarket luxuries? Get out of my face with that!”

“Every register had a line a mile long last Sunday!” Martha Peterson, another longtime shopper said. “I thought I could use one of the two without a line, but they told me I couldn’t cross the velvet rope unless I paid them a monthly fee. Who do they think they are, the friggin’ Gestapo?!”

Regardless of the fabulous perks offered, monthly subscriptions for Haven Mart Premium were underwhelming, and the inconvenience to those who refused the service caused Weir to lose many regular customers. In an attempt to lure more customers into the store and sign them up for Haven Mart Premium, Weir initiated even more services for Verified Shoppers.

Haven Mart divided their parking lot, allowing only Verified Shoppers to use the closest spots, and the cart collectors were instructed to prioritize keeping that area clear at all times. The free sample station started serving premium subscribers exclusively. Motorized carts could now only be used by Verified Shoppers, whether they need them or not. Premium Only Hours were implemented, where only Verified Shoppers could enter the store.

“I love this service!” Carl Cooperson said through a mouthful of microwaved sausage from the sample station as the non-subscriber customers jealously passed by. “Eight dollars a month isn’t a bad deal for the sense of entitlement I’ve gained over all the peasants they got shopping here.”

“This is how things are now,” verified customer Tom Rutherford said. “If you want better service, you gotta pay for premium, bro. You can’t be up in the normie line simping on the cashier like some poor ass, know what I mean?”

“Shopping has never been better!” Allison Gertrude exclaimed, sauntering in from a parking spot closer than even the handicapped spaces. “I don’t know how I ever endured this arduous task before this service came along! If you’ll excuse me, I have some people in the deli line to shove. OUT OF MY WAY, BITCHES! PREMIUM SHOPPER COMING THROUGH!”

What does the future hold for Haven Mart? Will Sal Weir’s innovation of Haven Mart Premium pay off for the grocer, or will the entitled attitude of those who shelled out to be a Verified Shopper push out the majority of Sal’s customers? Only time will tell. One thing’s for sure, though: Sal Weir isn’t backing down.

“At the end of the day, you can choose to subscribe or not,” Weir said. “If you want the best shopping experience you can have, then you’ll want to be a Verified Shopper. If you don’t, you’re still welcome here and valued as a customer, just not as much.”

Daniel Aegan is a dark humorist specializing in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, villainpunk and more. His latest book, Bad News, is now available on multiple platforms. Click the image for more information or just search for his ass on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


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