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“Alright, bag boys and girls. Summer is upon us. It’s getting warmer out. People don’t want to cook any more. We’ve already lost eight percent of our customers prematurely to Applebee’s.”

“Well with such a great two-for-twenty menu, who could blame them?”

“Shut up, Heather. Look, we need ideas on how to get people in the doors or else I’m cutting the seasonal bagger program. Schwartz, your nametag proclaims three years of service to this great grocery store. That’s longer than anyone here combined. Surely you must have some suggestions.”

“We could… uh… crank the AC?”

“Okay. Good start. Now how do we get customers to buy food that requires assembly instead of slinking off to a themed restaurant every night?”

“Well… we could promote the meat department and deli. Let’s focus on grilling like we did last year.”

“Grilling? Have you seen propane and charcoal prices lately? Besides, barbeque utensils have been outlawed since Congress banned tongs after Bobby Flay killed that guy. I’m sorry, team. But we just can’t count on the barby crowds this year.”

“I have an idea, sir.”

“I’m all ears, Conklin.”

“What if— and stay with me on this one— what if we, as the community’s most trusted grocery store slash pharmacy, were to pre-cook entire meals for our customers… and then freeze them?”

“An interested thought, Conklin. So you’re suggesting that, in place of a piping hot meatloaf dinner with all the sides, people would gravitate toward a frozen counterpart during the sweltering dog days of summer?”

“Indeed I am, sir.”

“Incredible. People wouldn’t even have to turn on their microwaves. At last, Americans can enjoy a homecooked meal that actually cools you off. Do you think serving it in popsicle form would cut down on packaging costs?”

“Actually sir, I was thinking along the lines that people would have to heat up or at least thaw the frozen meals before they were enjoyed. We could even throw in a little brownie or someth—”

“Conklin, you idiot. You’re thinking of TV dinners, a product invented sixty years ago which currently occupies two entire freezer aisles.”

“Oh, darn. Yeah, I guess we already have those. Sorry, boss.”

“Looks like it’s back to the drawing board, team. Heather, go put on that suffocatingly hot bear costume and dance in the parking lot while the rest of us entertain my idea for three-course meal wine coolers. And no sneaking off to Applebee’s again!”

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