“Tales of a Scorched Coffee Pot” — C1

Jason McGathey
10 min readMay 15
Healthy Hippie bulk foods section — candy and dingy corner included.

Southside opened almost exactly three years ago, and is without question the current prize jewel of this operation. The previous occupant was apparently a Harris Teeter where, reputable sources insist, a store manager was shot to death in his office. Bellwether Snacks/Healthy Hippie Market were subsequently able to lease it for a song, though not so much because of this shooting, rather that at this time, this was somewhat of a downtrodden, forgotten district.

Credit goes to Duane Hatley and an assist to owner Walter Locke for being visionaries, and recognizing that this would soon enough become a revitalized, trendy zone. Now, with HHM a crucial if not the original modern tenant pumping fresh blood into this region, the rebound has already begun. Understandably enough, nobody was exactly clamoring to fill that office where the shooting transpired, which is one reason it became an employee restroom, in a hallway behind the conference room. But at least there aren’t any reports of a haunting (Palmyra claims all sorts of paranormal activity, however, odd as it seems), which is amazing for a building with this kind of history.

Then again, this store, if not the entire company, represents a study in contradictions. Incongruities abound. For example, though without question beautiful, and despite a front wall consisting mostly of window, and what is theoretically ample lighting, the sales floor in this store always seems a smidge too dingy. Edgar is forever wishing they’d gone for just a pinch more illumination. At first he thinks it’s just the darker color schemes forming this impression, but pictures taken within the various locations will bear this out. Then again, squinting endlessly at price tags and UPCs down here surely contributes to this nagging sensation.

Also, this establishment must be one of the most trigger-happy companies he’s ever worked for, even if they tend to fire people for what seem like weird reasons. One day he’s up in Palmyra when some guy in the meat department — his name might have been Jerry — is walking around and approaching customers with two different cuts of steak in his hands, asking them which of the two looks better. It seems some new program has been introduced to bring in prepackaged cuts, which this dude is bitching mightily about. His point in this exercise is to demonstrate…