Feeling a bit rushed I go into the store, which is gorgeous and everything is arranged so that I can pluck really good related items of food off the shelf and go home, which is what I want to do because it's late.
Over at the hot bar I don't see a sign saying how much the food costs, but I figure it can't be all that bad if I just take a few containers. I take some staples for the week that save me from cooking, plain spaghetti and olive oil, mac & cheese and rice pilaf.
They look fantastic.
The cashier starts ringing it up and these five little containers quickly add up to $45.50.
I think to myself, Quick, have them put the food back! I could have made a box of spaghetti for a dollar!
And then I think, There is no way they are going to take this stuff back. Once you touch it, you've touched it.
I decide to be bold and tell the kid ringing up the stuff, "Wait a minute wait a minute."
"What is it?" he asks.
Pointing at the food I say, "That's $45 worth of plain spaghetti and mac and cheese and rice pilaf. I could have made it for a dollar."
He looks at me blankly. I am sure that I am in for it now.
"Put it back," I say. "That's ridiculous."
The kid does not blink an eye. He calls over his supervisor and tells him what I want.
Without even thinking, the supervisor says, "Throw it out. Ring it off and throw it out."
What? I am thinking. Oh my G-d. That is unbelievable. They took it back!
The kid says to another kid, who is helping him to bag stuff, "Throw it out."
"What?" she says.
He says to her, "She touched it. We have to throw it out."
She gives him an incredulous look. Like, she cannot believe we are throwing out five containers of food for absolutely no reason.
"I didn't touch it," I say.
I have one finger crossed behind my back because in fact I did tuck in a stray strand of spaghetti as I packed the container.
Weakly I plead my case, thinking about how I must look to these kids. "Forty-five dollars," I say. "I mean, come on."
They ignore me and the first kid finishes ringing me out.
I take my brown paper bags, which by the way do not break like the ones at Trader Joe's, and resolve to come to Balducci's every.single.week.
Because they are just that good. They are.
* All opinions my own. Photo by me.