Or, if not a cult, an infestation by an alien nation, cone heads in disguise, perhaps, or subterraneans that plan to take over our food supply first and then dine on our corpses. Trader Joe’s is hidden within a larger cult, which by the way is not above suspicion, the cult of the gainfully employed, which, though larger than any of its sub-distinctions (such as IBM, Sony or Geico), is still but a smallish piece of the current human pie.
Why do I suspect this? To begin with, although, I encounter people in businesses, whom I presume to be gainfully employed (like the cops who ride around in black and white automobiles, dodging behind dark glasses, or the counter people at Vons or Walmart, who are among the first to claim they are if anything, just barely employed), I have not one solitary friend who receives salary or wages. Of course, there are the illiterate crop pickers who live next door, an extended family of several dozen souls, who work in the fields for cash but these people are not even counted in census data, let alone numbered among the employed vs. unemployed in statistics the government hands out daily. Yes, there is my son-in-law, who, although he wears the uniform of the Southwest Airlines cult, I have harbored certain suspicions about since the day we met.
You may be thinking, why Trader Joe’s as the subject of this diatribe? Why not Channel 10 or the Disney Channel or Disney World, for that matter? Why not Wells Fargo Bank, for instance, as predatory an institution as ever clothed itself in button-down oxford shirts and predictably pompous logos? Yes, why? For no good reason except for the innocuous appearing sameness of the help at Trader Joe’s, not only because they dress as much alike in their own way as do the employees of the bank, but also, they wear the same kind of haircut, speak English with similar accents and they are seamlessly middle-class, preponderantly American Caucasians. They all give the same answers to the same questions, and are likely to say to you, without reason or provocation, “are you finding everything OK?” After hearing this question repeated more than as many times as I’ve been in the store, which I visit at least once each week, I have begun to wonder what they mean by it. Is it a question about my state of mind, a philosophical inquiry or perhaps they view customers like distracted cattle in a herd, who have forgotten that their primary purpose in being in the field is to graze? What are they thinking? Perhaps, they are not thinking. Are they as much robotic as they appear to be and act?
With the state of the economy and all, isn’t there a possibility that, surreptitiously, human beings are being replaced by life-like robots that are much less expensive to maintain and far more dependable than any human beings and that this is the reason why there are no jobs? It seems far-fetched but it isn’t out of fear of imminent danger that this question arises. What possible difference could it make to me if human beings are reduced to a robotic existence to stock shelves of organic produce at Trader Joe’s or if they are robots? Food prices could be lower in the latter case, an improvement since I live primarily on social security. Do I care if a robot helps me find my seat on an airplane, given that the plane is operated by a computer? This could also be happier for me than with my son-in-law’s help. But a cult is another matter. You can never say what might happen with a cult. Look at Yale and the Bush buddies and Wall Street, for instance—total mayhem.