Monday, November 18, 2013

254th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
The Lady Had No Interest

Around the third Saturday at Sprouts I began to notice the regulars. One lady in particular came in the east entrance with her walker, slowly passed my table with no expression on her face and gently lowered herself into an electric cart near the west entrance. This happened week after week with little eye contact and a nod now and again.

A week ago she stopped in front of the display table, smiled and announced she had forgotten to buy a can to donate. “That’s okay,” I said a bit surprised at the new found friendliness, “Next week I will have a sign on your cart to help remind you.”

This Saturday she came up behind me as I was attaching signs to the three electric carts. And of course, as the laws of happenstance dictate on this planet, she wanted the one I was working on. The two carts I had just finished—admittedly not as stylish—would not do.

“Finish what you are doing,” she said calmly, “I can wait.”

About a minute later I had the sign attached and stress tested, tugging firmly at each fastener before turning it over to her.

There’s kind of a general rule about shopping at supermarkets. For most folks it takes about 25 minutes to get in and out. At Sprouts, with all of the enticing food displays and the hands on picking and scooping, I have noticed that the in and out time is somewhere around 45 minutes. So I had forgotten about the lady in the electric cart when she drove up and handed me a can. “I remembered,” she said smiling.

The truth is I never thought she would be a One Can A Week participant. But Richard Rodriquez, the store manager is right. A pleasant display, respectful signage and a little time does it every time. Maybe that elderly couple who wear matching tee shirts will be next.  

A Shopper's Eye View

Any time you invent something it takes a lot of testing to determine if your product will survive normal usage. I often I think about automobiles and what engineers have to do to compensate for that inevitable human question and surprised response, “What’s this do? Ooooops.”

The label backing had to be strong so I selected a flexible plastic. The label itself would have to be plastic also but my test sample used paper. As you can see in the photo, the plastic stood up well as did the connectors—wire and tiny doll clothing buttons—but the paper got attacked by splashing water and all kinds of food products going in an out of the cart.

The all plastic and laminated label will experience the same grocery onslaught but it’s better prepared to do its job of clutching tightly to the bars while gathering donations for hungry kids and their parents.

Magic Flip Flops
Al Shoemaker, my friend and neighbor three doors down has been recuperating from serious back surgery. In the past couple of week he grew weaker and we did not know why. A clue popped up on a recent visit to the doctor because he complained more about his shoes then ever before. They just seemed to be too slippery for him to stand easily.

The next day I purchased a handsome pair of flip flops at Walmart that had nubs on the soles for better traction. (Al calls them nipples, for some reason.) Well, that did the trick. He can now push on the bed with one hand to stand up instead of making multiple two handed attempts.

Al and his house are not ready to receive company just yet but if you want to show your support, a gift cards from In and Out Burger, Wienerschnitzel or Boston Chicken will do nicely. I know he’ll appreciate your concern and it will most definitely lift his spirits to eat something other than his own cooking. Also, I don’t mind chasing takeout for him because he’s pretty happy when I return.  

We collected a total of 142 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $34.00, a $25.00 check and $9.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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