Being neighborly

Source: Allrecipes

I read something this week about spontaneous conversations that happen in check-out lines. Mine happen in grocery stores. Sometimes shoe stores.

Sometimes I can’t stop myself from commenting when I see something interesting.

The cart in front of me always looks so much more appetizing than mine. Even if we both have a box of strawberries from the same area, the other ones look redder and sweeter.

Some people group their purchases artistically on the conveyor belt. Makes it look like a party. Strawberries and grapes paired with a nice cheese and some dip…yum! I can’t help but comment. Usually to ask if I can come for dinner. It always gets a smile (and a look to the cashier to hurry because there is a crazy lady here).

Yesterday I had a different experience. Our upscale grocery has wonderful homemade soups. I especially love their pumpkin bisque. They don’t carry it every day. I was picking up things so I checked for it.

It was my lucky day. As I got a container to fill I noticed an older guy. (Definitely older than me!) He already had eight 16 ounce containers full of soup (other varieties) and was still ladling.

I asked if he was stocking up for an apocalypse. At first I thought he didn’t hear me. Then he looked up and said “Sort of. I love this stuff and I’m stocking up for the week.” I relayed my love of the pumpkin bisque but he shook his head in disagreement.

“Not one I like but they started carrying a new soup and it’s wonderful.” I asked what it was. He said, “Baked potato soup.”

I’ve had that in bistros (that what they call the neighborhood bars these days) and I like it. I hadn’t seen it offered before. He said it was the best around.

Next time I look for soup, I’ll try that one. I love to get good tips on good eating! The guy left with 12 containers of several different kinds. I’d say he loves soup.



67 thoughts on “Being neighborly

  1. Pumpkin soup, YUMMY! I think my favorite for fall/winter is squash soup. I almost didn’t try it because I didn’t think I’d like a soup with cinnamon and nutmeg in it, but it’s great-just wish I had a recipe, so I didn’t have to be like the guy you encountered!

    BTW, what theme do you use? I have been trying to find on that doesn’t have a static header, and it’s not been easy, LOL! Thanks for your help. I enjoy your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love to make soup, and have a wonderful pumpkin soup I’ll be making soon. It’s still too hot to tempt me to soup just yet, but we’ll get there eventually. But as much as I make soup, I occasionally enjoy some of the fresh soups at Whole Foods. I love their split pea! I am fine speaking “when spoken to,” but I’m not often the initiator, although I might not have been able to resist speaking to someone purchasing that much soup! 🙂

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    • The soup purchase was weird as he packaged them in 16 oz. containers. They have quart containers you can use. I don’t know if it’s any cheaper though. These are cardboard containers so you can’t freeze it as is. So many questions I didn’t ask.


  3. Spontaneous conversations with people are such fun. I’ve asked about the origin of names that I’ve seen name tags, tattoos, nails, food selections, almost anything that’s different. For the most part people are friendly. Funny… We were in Wegman’s today and my wife got that same pumpkin soup..:) but only one.

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  4. I’m like you, Kate. Although I’m rather shy, I will strike up conversations with random people while shopping. I think there’s more of a communal experience in grocery shopping that seems to make it … well, ok. I’m even more inclined to do it in the nearby Asian store. So often I encounter something unusual and I end up asking about it with someone nearby.

    It does occasionally backfire on me though … like when they don’t speak English 😏

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      • I think you’re right. Maybe grocery stores just level the playing field for everyone – we’re all trying to accomplish the same thing.

        A few years ago, one of the local grocery stores was going through a reorganization of the inventory and not doing a very good job of it.
        They were moving content on the shelves overnight, but not changing the overhead aisle signs. No one could find anything – except by accident.
        We were all roaming around the store aimlessly asking each other ‘have you seen x?’ It was the best stranger-talking-to-stranger experience I’ve ever had. As frustrated as we all were, everyone was trying to help each other find things 🙂

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  5. I embarrass my wife regularly in the supermarket checkout line with similar comments as yours. When I see someone who has a cart full of “fun” items (i.e. chips, cookies, beer, etc.), I’ll say “I wish I was going to your house.” I’m apparently slowly turning into my father. – Marty

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  6. I find myself looking at what other people are buying as I check out and try to look for clues as to what their lifestyle is. Weird, I guess, as I get older. Then sometimes I find myself commenting to perfect strangers while I shop…weird old lady? Then sometimes the sacker (young person) will comment on my purchases. Keeps us entertaining as we wait. Better than reading tabloid headlines!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve often had people comment on cat purchases. Comments like “my cat didn’t like that one. Did you try xxx?” Or before I started getting the food shipped, my cart would have a lot of cat food and I was asked if I’m running shelter.


  7. As you know from my recent post . . . I love soup! I’ve never made pumpkin soup, but I have made butternut squash soup. I’ve never made baked potato soup, but I have made cream of broccoli and potato soup with CHEESE!

    And I love chatting with folks in the grocery store. Unless they act grumpy in response. 😀

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  8. Haha. Stocking up for the apocalypse. You don’t know how many times I wanted to ask that when I’ve seen people with a cart filled with just one or two of the same item. I love talking to people when I’m out and about. When I lived in Florida, they looked at me like I just stepped off my spaceship. I was used to doing chatting with strangers in Illinois where I grew up. In fact, my grandma used to talk to people and include them in whatever we were doing. Since I moved back, there are still Chicagoans who do that, but there are less of them.

    Would love to bump into you somewhere. We could stop at your favorite coffee spot. 😉

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  9. My husband talks to anyone and everyone about everything. Me not so much. I have started to make chit chat with the customers at Michaels (“Oh that looks interesting, what are you making? etc.) if the line is not too long or while they are getting their coupons on their phones. I don’t want people to think I’m all up in their business.

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  10. People have always spontaneously asked me questions in stores, on buses, in schools…anywhere. I figure I must look approachable. People in the Midwest are friendly and chatty, but I’ve been with other people who have commented on how often strangers strike up conversations with me–even when they are with me. I have ended up having very personal one-on-one conversations with strangers. One of my bosses (pet shop) used to chide me about how total strangers would tell me their life stories…like I was a walking confessional. Maybe they knew I wouldn’t repeat their secrets? [I even destroy the letters of my pen pals–nobody else’s business if I croak, you know? But I could care less who reads mine–one of those shockingly open people–LOL!]

    Of course, I have also been known to begin a chat, myself. 😉 😉

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  11. OH yes, love those spontaneous conversations, I have left the grocery story and other stores many times with a smile because of them. Or left the store shaking my head about the crazy conversation that I just had. LOL!
    Pumpkin soup is delish! I make what we call Cinderella Soup a lot! Top it off with a dollup of sour cream and YUM!
    Yes, I would definitely say that he likes soup! 🙂

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  12. I love random conversations at the grocery store… so much better than silent singular shopping. I also love soup. We have a terrific Pho restaurant close by that is usually my answer when my husband asks “where should we go for lunch?” When it finally gets cold here (it’s still in the high 70s / low 80s), I’m planning on having a neighborhood soup night. Everyone brings their favorite with enough extra so we can all go home with leftovers to freeze for later.

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    • It depends. As long as I have easy to scan items (all items have a code) and there aren’t too many, I do it myself (foolish me thinks I’m faster). However, I have learned that full carts with stuff that isn’t tagged goes much fast with a check out person and also provides some entertainment.


  13. I do the same thing. I randomly talk to people in a variety of settings. You are not crazy. I also blatantly ogle people’s food as it is served in restaurants, just to notice what looks yummy! Food stalker, perhaps! ~ Lynn

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  14. Kate, you have taken me back to good FOOD memories today. When we lived in St. Louis (St. Louis is home for us) we walked at a gorgeous park and on the way home from the park was Straub’s. Straub’s is a famous to St. Lou grocers since 1901. They make the best soups and I used to stop in there after walking and pick up containers of the soups for the day. My favorite was vegetable beef. We loved them all though. I don’t remember a baked potato soup… 🙂 I think it is time we moved back to civilization! I could live on the soup from Straub’s! We don’t chit-chat much in lines in the city but rural MO does some chatty conversations.

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    • I lived in a rural area for 2 years and it didn’t work for me. Everything was a 25 mile round trip — grocery store, pizza place, restaurants. Friends never dropped in or drove by. While I love my privacy, I like to be convenient to things I love. At this point I wouldn’t consider a place that wasn’t within driving range of a Starbucks! 🙂


    • After the fact I wish I would have asked more questions but it was all in passing (or ladling). From the looks of how much he took and his “for a week” comment, I suspect he’s either married and it’s for two or soup is all he eats. I’d guess he was in his 80s but in good shape.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Grocery and shoe stores are the two places I will burst out in spontaneous conversation. “Where did you get those boots! I love them!” or “Where did you find those blueberries?” “That sure looks like a wonderful party you’re having.” People are usually friendly but I go during the day and not after work when everyone is in a hurry.

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  15. this man will have good s(o)uppers this week ;O) guess what? you are totally right. I often see that the other peeps have the better strawberries, their grapes look fresher and their bananas have no brown spots… also their bread looks tastier than mine… either there is another store behind the mirror where they bought their stuff or I’m a super bad fruit picker …

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