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The First Item on the Shelf
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Don't take the first item on the shelf. Or the top item from a layer of produce.

Time and again, I have learned that lesson the hard way. The first (or top) item is often bruised, pinched, or has been shoplifted out of the box.

Yesterday I went to buy a lipstick (one every two years, whether I need it or not) and when I got home, I discovered that the plastic case had been opened and the lipstick removed. Drat. Another unnecessary trip back to the store? No, for such a small item, not worth it.

This is not the first time, nor is it the only store. When I buy produce, I often discover that the top one or two items have had someone's gouge (from a fingernail, checking ripeness? or vandalism?) or a bruise. I find sealed ready-made lunch salads opened. Blister packs missing one or two tablets.

I was behind a young man and his mother the other day and saw them open a bag of cookies and eat a couple, right there in the store, mom shielding him while he ate, then re-folding the bag and putting it back on the shelf.

I stepped up and offered to buy the cookies for him if they couldn't afford them, and they were irate that I was inferring that they were poor. He had scarfed down all the samples from the sample table earlier, so I thought he might truly be hungry.

And so on. I don't know if this is just a local phenomenon, or whether it is widespread, but it is quite annoying. No wonder prices are high.

I try to remember to reach behind or underneath the top items and to check that it hasn't been tampered with, but sometimes I'm in a rush and I forget.


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