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I was at the produce store at the corner of Southport and Waveland picking out fruits and vegetables for dinner. A young man in a suit and tie was standing near me, growing increasingly impatient with the poor quality of the green peppers he was examining. He finally threw one back onto the pile and exclaimed angrily:

"These vegetables are terrible! There's not a fresh green pepper in here!"

"Why do you shop here, then, if it's so terrible?" I said.

"I don't--the lines were too long at Jewel and all I needed was a goddamned green pepper. I thought I could find a fresh green pepper in a goddamned produce store." He started to storm out, but then he stopped and looked at me.

"Why the hell do you shop here?" he said to me. "Do you see any good green peppers in there?"

"No," I said. "I don't shop here for the produce. I shop here to support small, community-based businesses like this one. Stores with personalities."

"Impersonality," he snorted, loud enough so the clerk could hear, "is efficiency, quality, and standards."

At that, he stomped out and headed back across the street to Jewel.


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