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?I was on my way home from a work-out when I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple things for dinner. My goal was to do a quick in-and-out before my sweat-soaked clothes rendered my body temperature below freezing. Holding a basket of items, I stopped to look at a selection of Naked juices (those foo foo hippy fruit and vegetable blend juices that contain boosts, protein and ground up narwhal horn). From behind me I heard a voice:

“Need help finding anything?”

I turned around and noticed a store employee standing 2 feet away from me, grinning. I smiled and politely declined, saying “No thanks, just looking.” I then turned around and resumed browsing through juice flavors. Then:

“Want to know what MY favorite flavor is?”

I whipped my head around again and saw the same employee, now inches away from me, with a big dumb grin on his face. He leaned forward expectantly, his follow-up response aching to burst out of him.

I sighed and offered up a half-hearted, “What,” to which he replied joyously, “Rainforest acai! I tell you, it’s so good that I drink one just about every day. I also like this flavor too [he points at another bottle] – I tell you what, they’re so good for you, and so delicious!”

At this point I’m wondering if he’s some sort of covert spokesperson hired by the Naked juice manufacturers to loiter near their display fridges and hype up how good their products are, much how in Arrested Development Tobias Funke wandered around the movie studio trying to drum up buzz for himself. (“That Funke is some kind of something. Boy, this Funke is all anybody’s ever talking about. So sick and tired of hearing about how brilliant that Funke is!”)

I’m tired, sweaty and hungry. All I want is to get my groceries so I can go home, take a shower and eat. After tersely smiling and nodding for a few minutes, the employee finally lets me off the hook so I can finish my shopping. I pick out a few bottles, none of which are the flavors he recommended (not to spite him, just because I thought these sounded better), grab a few more items and head to the checkout.

As the cashier is ringing up my items and sending them down the belt, I hear “So what flavors did you end up going with?” I look up and–fuck my life–the same employee is now bagging my groceries, grinning like a moron while shoving my items into a sack. He inspects the juice bottles that have piled up in front of him, and his smile fades. “Aw, you didn’t get rainforest acai!”

I mustered up a lame “Oh, I’ll try it next time” and felt like I was living the Car Ramrod scene from Super Troopers. This man was the Farva to my unenthused Ramathorne. He looked at me as if I betrayed him while I watched him man-handle my groceries and think it was a good thing I wasn’t buying eggs today.

But soon enough, all was well again and his smile returned as he resumed cracking jokes and being vaguely creepy. The cashier shot me a “You see what I have to deal with glance” and I gave a brief nod before swiping my card. I then awkwardly stood around for about 30 seconds after my transaction ended while the overly-enthusiastic bagger held my items hostage so he could wrap up his monologue.

Finally, I grabbed my bags, mumbled a, “Have a good night,” and escaped into the night. Thankfully, he stayed behind to offer up more unsolicited food advice to unsuspecting shoppers.

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