First Saturday on the job. Beer.Beer.
Beer beer beer beer beer beer.
Beer beer beer beer beer, beer beer beer beer beer beer, beer, beer beer beer.
Beer beer beer.
The grocery store where I now (thankfully) work has a very nice wine aisle -- the only aisle in the store with faux wooden flooring, which makes me feel special -- and it has a fifteen-door beer cooler. Directly behind you as you stand facing the cooler is a wall of beer about 15 or 20 feet long, boxes of 6 packs and boxes of 12 packs and boxes of 18 and 24 packs, stacked higher than your head. Next to the wall of beer is a smaller tower of beer about the size of a sequoia in circumference, mostly 12 packs of specialty brews, and next to that is another tower of beer, perhaps 12 feet high, facing the deli. In close proximity is another tower of beer, of the same proportions, facing the bread aisle.
So I positively dreaded what had to come sooner or later, my first day spent restocking the beer cooler. I know nothing about beer, except how it's made, a little, because one of the first article titles I claimed for Demand Studios this past spring had to do with "using dry yeast to replace Hefeweizen yeast." And so I researched a bit into beer making then. (Originally I had hoped that title would lead me to learning and writing something about bread, of which I am not totally ignorant. No such luck.)
Anyway. Ten a.m. Saturday morning. Third day on the job. Make a list of what we're low on and restock the beer cooler from supplies in the beer walls and from the back room. Make sure to especially keep up with the "9 to 5" stuff, the Bud, the Miller, the Busch, that sells like hotca -- well, like beer.
Okay. I ended up with a list of forty or fifty items to restock, and then had the challenge of finding it all.
As the bloggers all say: Oh. My. God.
Who knew? I know that to make beer you start with malted grain and you mix it with water and add hops and you "pitch" yeast into the wort, and if you use top-fermenting yeasts you'll make an ale and if you use bottom-fermenting yeasts you'll have a lager, an invention of the 19th century and its concomitant technological marvel, refrigeration.
But the marketing? The packaging? Who knew? Oh my God.
Miller, Miller Lite, Miller Lite 6 packs, 12 pack bottles, 6 pack long neck bottles, 12 pack, 18 pack cans, 24 pack cans, Bud, Bud Light, Miller High Life, Miller High Life Light 24 ounce cans, Miller Draft, Miller Draft Light, Old Style, Michelob, Lite, Light, Draft, Draught, cans, bottles, 12 pack 6 pack 18 pack 12 ounce bottles 24 pack cans, Corona Extra, Corona Light, Coronita 5 ounce bottles 6 pack, Sam Adams Seasonal Ale Summer Ale Draft Light Lager Summer Beer Classic 12 pack, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Mike's Hard Berry, Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade, Mike's Hard Lime, Mike's Seasonal pink-ribbon-for-breast-cancer 6 pack. No kidding. It goes on and on.
I do believe I walked five miles yesterday in that store, just going back and forth between the cooler and the back room, learning beer. In short order, my list of What We're Low On became an exercise in nullity. There was always some detail re: beer that I had failed to write down on my list, necessitating my going back again to confirm matters. No no -- that's Miller Genuine Draft Light 12 ounce bottle 6 pack, plastic bottles. I even tried filling a shopping cart of random things from the back room and pushing that out to "the Floor," reasoning that some of it surely would be needed. No such luck. I had cleverly put my hands on everything we were not Low On. A young co-worker passing me in the back room looked down on me from his approximately eight-foot height, smiled and said, "Just walkin' back and forth all day, huh?" And I burst out, "Oh my God. I'm learning beer. I know nothing about beer. I'm doing this one 6 pack at a time ...."
Which I was. But, by golly, after about four hours of this -- plus keeping my eye on the wine aisle, helping customers, and setting up a wine tasting -- I began to understand beer. And when my boss returned to the store, by golly I had that cooler stocked to the doors with the "9 to 5" stuff. Then he finished stocking the more obscure products with me. Who knew that Beck's non alcoholic beer is called Haake on the shelf price ticket, but Beck's on the packaging? Why would any marketing department do that?
Oh my God. But at least the day is under my belt. Beer, beer beer beer beer, beer beer beer beer beer, beer beer.