To Thine Own Shelf Be True…
The toilet paper was all gone. An entire aisle. Gone. No Charmin or Scott or Cottonelle. No double rolls or extra soft. Not even a box of Kleenex or paper napkins, either. Nothing but a sign. WE ARE LIMITING TOILET PAPER TO TWO PER CUSTOMER. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.
“As soon as we get it, they stock the shelves. But then it’s gone again,” the clerk shrugs. “I don’t know when it’s coming in again. Maybe tomorrow?”
The canned beans were all gone, too. So was most of the yellow, white and double chocolate cake mix, a lot of the ice cream, except for a few lone cartons of spumoni, and much of the chicken, ground beef and sausage links.
No one had gotten desperate enough to start clearing the shelves of the red boxes of plant based, ham-style roasts, though, with the sweet, tangy amber ale glaze and promise to impress: “Roast, slice and serve with your favorite stuffing and vegetables, or maybe even fancy mac and cheese. Invite your flexitarian friends and let the festive feasting begin!”
“Dear God, who eats this stuff?” the man says, bringing his cart to a stop as he passed in front of the display. The plant hams were nestled next to the plant-based hot dogs and cartons of tofu, extra firm or firm. “And what the hell is a flexitarian, anyway?”
“My sister loves veggie burgers,” his wife replies, checking a torn piece of notepad paper, still frayed at the top. On the paper were two columns, both written in neat, tight cursive writing; half of what was listed had been crossed off.
“Yeah, a burger is one thing, but veggie ham? I mean, who eats this stuff? Seriously.”
She shrugs, picking up a box. “I dunno… do you want to get one?”
“No, I don’t want to get one!” he exclaims, shaking his head. “Who would even want to eat that? Do you?”
“Well, I guess if I were hungry enough,” she says, turning the box to read the ingredient list. “It’s made from tofu, soybeans and wheat gluten. That’s interesting.”
“Not interesting enough,” he says, draping his arms on the cart. “What else is on the list?”
“Um… hold on a sec,” she says, turning the box over around. “Just a few more things. This also says it has natural smoke flavor.”
“What are you doing? Are you trying to talk me into buying a tofu ham? It’s not happening.”
“Well, I’m just saying. Look, it’s on sale. Two bucks off.”
“Yeah,” he laughs. “I wonder why.”
“Come on!” she says. “Do you seriously not want to try it?”
“Darlin’,” he says, gently removing the box from her hand and putting it back on the shelf. “I’d rather starve to death.”