Convenience and Calories

Posted on April 13, 2013 under Storytelling with 4 comments

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We live in a small community and up until ten years ago or so, all stores, except pharmacies and convenience (corner) stores, were closed for business on Sundays.   Many shift workers and tourism operators exerted pressure on the provincial government to join other jurisdictions and open everything on Sundays.   Although this disappointed church officials and bootleggers, who both plied their trades on this “day of rest”, many people were happy with the change.  However, the corner store operators were concerned because, until that time, they had been the only show in town on the Lord’s Day.

Convenience store proprietors are an industrious, hard-working and creative lot.  Undeterred by this new threat, many did what any business does in hard times… adapt or close the doors.  Realizing that the status quo would not win the battle with large grocery chains, they went to their strengths; location, client service … and innovative partnerships.

The good news is that we have a convenience store within walking distance of our house.  The bad news is that this convenience store houses a bakery.  When you really need some milk or cat food in a hurry, there is no advantage in revving up the engine and driving three kilometers to save a few pennies. Especially with the price of gas.  However, it is very unsettling for a self-confessed sugar addict to have to pass the bakery to get to the groceries or cat food.  This problem will only resolve itself when our cat’s nine lives come to an end.   Or when my wife stops using  18% coffee cream.

When our kids were little we lived across the street from the store and were there so often that we had a charge account!  The store owner and staff and the bakery staff always felt like family.  Many of them have been there since the days that I actually had hair. They are uncommonly friendly and there is a lot of good natured ribbing going on all the time.

Did I mention the lemon meringue pies?

I know the baking schedule better than the bakery staff does so I try to avoid lemon pie day.  I am the only one in our house who eats sweets.  My wife is gluten free so buying an entire pie is usually reserved for when we have company.  They do sell it by the slice but I can’t see the point of that. I would just have to make several trips to the bakery instead of one stop shopping.

Today is Saturday, a non-lemon pie day, and no one is coming for supper.  However, the gravitational pull of the earth draws me into the bakery today for some inexplicable reason.  Maybe I am suffering from a Lent hangover when I gave up sweets for 40 days and 40 nights.  I gingerly make my way to the bakery counter and am devastated to find out that at this very moment, the lemon filling is cooking on the stove.  Which means the pies will be ready in about an hour.  Reserving a trip to Cuba is almost as exciting as reserving a lemon pie.

My sister also owns a convenience store but it is 10 kilometers away.  She also traffics sweets.

Client service.  Convenience.  Calories.  A winning combination if I ever saw one.

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