America – Land of the Free Candy, Home of the Brave

Shalom kiddies! Friday, Friday, getting down on Friday. Oh man, remember 2011? I just rewatched Rebecca Black’s video and I have to say, it’s not a good song, but like, I can’t remember why it was *such* a big deal and all over the news for some reason? Or why people send death-threats to children they find annoying. Like, why is death-threats something the internet is now becoming known for? We have this amazing machine that can be used to learn literally anything in the whole world, learn Farsi or how to give your cat a bath or how to make a friendship bracelet  –  or you can spend your time screaming death-threats at anyone who is even vaguely different than you I guess, that’s fun too.

Aaaaaaanyways. Yesterday was my first day in my part-time gig I have to subsidize my little projects and it. was. interesting.

I got to the Kosher supermarket in Brooklyn at about 12:30, met the dude who supposed to tell me what was going on. He took me to a little table at the front of the store, covered in candy jars and containers of the same candy for sale. He asked me what I did as a day job, and I panicked. I didn’t want to be like “Uh…this…?” but I also didn’t want to explain how I was exploring different avenues of creative writing at the moment. So I just said I worked at Fox and he seemed sufficiently satisfied with that answer.

Basically my job was to offer people samples of the candy, advertise the product, persuade them to buy. Not too hard. I was there until 6 pm. I got to be on my feet (work those calf muscles), talk to people, and not be yelled at or called a “retard” so it was already a step up from F-O-X.

My very favorite part were parents who came in with little children whose eyes grew wide when I offered them a free sample. “For free? Can I have one?” they said and looked at their moms/dads. “Oh candy! Look Sarah, aren’t you happy you came food shopping with me?,” they all said back – and gave them a candy because I’m sure taking your baby grocery shopping is not that easy so they were glad they could get the bribe out of the way early (and for free at the same time).

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this guys, but giving out free candy is a great way to get people to like you – you should give it a whirl sometime.

Also, this is the first supermarket I have ever been in that wasn’t playing music. Not even Jewish music. No Miami Boys Choir or nothing. It was very unsettling.

Early into the shift an old man (maybe like 70 or so) came up to me. I offered him a sample and he said, “How bout I leave the sample and take you home with me?” I laughed because I didn’t feel like explaining to this man about how that’s kind of a creepy thing to say to a woman you don’t know. I said I wasn’t for sale and he shrugged and said something I couldn’t hear. “What?” I asked. “Haha…nothing nothing, I’ll try to behave myself.” Awesome, I’m sure it was very appropriate as well.

Then he said his grandchildren would probably like the candy and I asked him how old his grandchildren were.

“They range from about your age until 2 years old”

“Wow, that’s really great.”

“How old are you?”

“Me? I’m 24”

“Ohhh…no, no. The oldest is 20, I thought you were young. Much much younger.”


He left reluctantly when I turned to help other customers.

I would say the most interesting thing about yesterday were the reasons people gave to not take a sample. Like, you don’t owe me any excuse as to why you’re not taking candy, that’s not my business. But so many people would say something like, “Oh no thanks – I just went to the dentist.” or “No, sorry, I’m gluten free.”

So so so many women looked sadly at the candy and said “No thank you, I’m on a diet.” One man joked, “Nah I’m watching my girlish figure.” One woman was on the phone when I asked and she gestured to her curvy body and mouthed “Do I LOOK like I need candy?” I’m not sure what I was supposed to say to that, I wasn’t comfortable making judgements about who should be getting candy or not. I didn’t want to be some sort of stingy candy gate-keeper, I was an equal opportunity sample-giver.

A few people looked at me angrily and said something like “I am diabetic” or “I am allergic to corn syrup.” Well, OK then, I’m not your doctor I don’t know your medical history.  One cute older gentleman said with a Polish accent “No no it iz for zeh children! it is for for behbiez.” Like sorry bro you’re in AMERICA now, land of the free candy, home of the brave – get on board.

Two dudes wearing Hatzalah jackets came in and I offered them a sample, or a container for $2.49 for their families. Dude said “I don’t let me kids have candy…or my wife.” I didn’t know if he was joking or not. Oh, those Jews and their dry senses of humor (or Oh, those Jews and their weird micro-managed home lives.)

By 6:00 pm I was wiped, I sold about 50 containers. My tongue was blue from candy and my feet were sore from my poor choice of footwear for the day. However, I was in Flatbush and I wasn’t letting an opportunity to go to to Pizza Time on Avenue J go to waste. I went to high school on Avenue J and am hardly ever in that area. It’s entirely too weird walking around down there – I feel like i’m back in 11th grade, getting food before a debate team tournament (full disclosure, I was too shy to debate, I was always a time-keeper and would give less time to those obnoxious MTA boys – I think it’s safe to finally admit that now).

I got pizza and the guy behind the counter was being all flirty/friendly like “Oh, it’s to-go? You don’t want to eat near me?” and “Of course I have a bag for you Kapara! Do you speak Hebrew?” I wanted to be like “Ugh can I just have my pizza so I can go home and take off these dumb fry boots?” but I smiled weakly instead. I’m working 4 out of 5 days next week and I need to keep my smiling game up.


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