I want a half pound of Black Pepper Ham.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store to get some sandwich fixin’s.  This grocery, a chain, had a large Deli Meat/Cheese section and a bakery section nearby.  I have shopped here for years.

A few years ago, I ran through a short period where I ordered Black Pepper Ham, but when I got home, I had something else.  I don’t know why I didn’t check after the first time, but now I normally check, and that problem has not re-occurred lately.

So I come to the counter and shortly one of the attendants, a young black man asks if he can help me.  I say, “I would like a half pound of Black Pepper Ham.”  He nodded, and started to reach for the ham.  I started to walk down the display and I think I tried the sample cheese that was on toothpicks.  I look behind the counter and he is telling me that he needs to go back to the walk in refrigerator to get the ham.  I say, “Okay,” and I turn to go to the bakery to get sandwich bread.

There is a bakery person behind the counter, but I walk to the back where the “day old” bread is located.  I look for the Whole Wheat loaf is that actually has the whole grain in the bread.  There is an Organic Wheat Loaf that doesn’t have the grain.  I get the loaf I want, but stop to ask the attendant what the difference is between the two.

I come back to the meat counter and the young man is beginning to slice my Pepper Ham order.  He appears to be moving slowly, but I just step back and let other customers walk past, in front of me.

The young man takes the slices of meat and places them on the scale.  He then appears to go back to slice some more meat.  I have to squint at the weight showing on the digital scale, but I see that it is showing .68.  I know that .68 is well above the .5 that I have requested.  I step up and ask a woman attendant how much the scale is showing and she affirms that it is showing .68.  I tell her that I only asked for a half pound.  She fiddles, and apparently can reset the amount that is actually charged for, from the actual amount on the scale.  She printed a label and handed it over to the young man who is still at the slicer.

In a little while the young man comes back over to the scale and puts the meat on it and generates a label.  He sticks it on the package of meat and hands it over to me.  I take a look at the label.  The price is over $10 and when I make out the weight, it is about .98 of a pound.  I immediately hand it back to the young man and tell him that I asked for a half pound of Black Pepper Ham and this is almost a pound.  *The woman says something to him.  Apparently, that she had handed him a label previously and they sort of look back to see where he might have put it by the slicer.  A new label is generated and affixed to the meat and I look at the price and it is under $5.  *I also get a third of a pound of the cheese special, which I think was called Baby Swiss.

When I got home, and was putting the sliced meat into my refrigerator, I realized that they must have put all the sliced meat (even the overage) into my package.

Still, I’m not trying to “get over” on them.  I asked for a half pound of meat.  Even if he had stopped at .68 of a pound I would have paid for that without a problem, but that it appeared that he had no clue as to what a half pound of meat was.  Or even though he had repeated back to me, “a half pound,” he had in his mind he was going to give me a pound.

**Why do I stress a half pound of meat, and normally a third of a pound of cheese?  It is because I have found over several years that if I order more than a half pound of meat, it turns green & slick (spoils) before I can use it all.