They follow the beat of a different drummer.
Story: Joe Angione
There’s no right or wrong way to shop retail stores, but Villagers follow the beat of a different drummer.
As a former New Yorker, I’m used to shopping for groceries and other items as fast as possible. I want to get in and out quickly. But I’ve learned that shopping in The Villages can be frustrating. It’s done slowly, a rather drawn out, social experience that puts no premium on saving time, and can be challenging to people like me who want to pick, pay and run lickety- split.
Here are some things that a fast, in-and-out shopper must get used to in places like Walmart or Publix: Village couples like to shop together. It’s a way to pass time that Villagers have plenty of. But they’re likely to block a store aisle comparing prices on an item like a can of corn. It might go like this: “Hon, this corn sells at two for $1.39, but this brand is priced at three for $1.99, which should we buy?” Out comes the calculator to do the math. They might stand there, stopping traffic, just to save maybe five or 10 cents.
At the check-out things can really get bogged down. No one pays attention to express lines for “10 items or less.” Villagers unload 20, even 30 items…and store personnel are just too nice to object. And what’s the rush, anyway?
Next, the wife might strike up a conversation with the checker. “My, that’s a pretty blouse you’re wearing…where did you buy it? Oh, did they have it in red or green? Oh, was it expensive…or maybe on sale?” The dialogue goes on until someone like me yells: “Cut the gab, there’s a dozen people waiting behind you.”
Finally, when it’s time to pay the bill, Villagers rarely use cash, preferring a credit card. They like to go around cashless, worrying about being robbed. But thieves don’t want their “chump change,” when credit cards are the most lucrative snatch.
Often, Villagers seem unsure how to use their cards…even if they’ve used them before. The card readers always seem different. How do I swipe the card? What if it has a computer chip? Slide it or insert it? Who knows? Some Villagers are baffled until the checker comes around to help out.
If you’re impatient like me, shop very early or very late.