Weekend this and that

Once a month or so, I leave New Albany on Saturday morning, turn on “Car Talk” on National Public Radio and head out to Tupelo.

It’s sort of a ritual: I try to arrive shortly after Sam’s Club opens, scurry around and get the four or five things we need, and get to one of the dozen or so check-out lanes before they get crowded. I do that because a couple of times when I didn’t get an early start, the place was packed and the check-out lines were long.
Saturday I picked up several HP printer cartridges (Jenny goes through them like water, printing stuff for her fourth-grade students) and a couple packages of frozen salmon and headed to the front.
To my dismay, only two check-out lanes were staffed, and the lines at both were long.
The rest of the check-outs were open, but they had been converted to something called “self check-out.” Translation: Do the work yourself.
A Sam’s Club employee was working the long lines, trying to coax shoppers to move to the self check-out. He wasn’t having much success.
The reality is most of us don’t want to fool around with trying to scan our own purchases.
As much trouble as an experienced check-out person has trying to get some items to scan, I can imagine how it would be for me.
No thanks.
Besides, why would I want to help some behemoth company put a bunch of employees out of work?
I waited my turn in line.
Whatever happened to customer service?
                       – – –
Sunday was a whole lot more pleasant an experience.
That’s because Jenny, our son Joe and I spent Sunday afternoon listening to the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra concert at the Magnolia Civic Center.
Yoonie Han, one of the world’s best young pianists, was in town for the symphony’s performance of “Rhapsody in Blue.” Han, a 28-year-old from South Korea, reminded me how much I like listening to the piano.
I’m not much of a high-brow, but there’s something about the piano that I’ve always found interesting.
It was on my bucket list of things I wanted to learn to do in life, but I couldn’t tell a B flat from an E sharp. Is there such a thing?
But Joe, who plays decently on our home piano, was awestruck by her performance. Just watching her play made his fingers tired, he said.
The only disappointment was that the theater had some empty seats. But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm – or the standing ovation – for Ms. Han.
The New Albany Union County Symphony League deserves kudos for bringing the Tupelo Symphony and a world-class pianist to New Albany.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at publisher@newalbanygazette.com.