I am too early for my appointment. Out of curiosity, I decide to visit the toko, an Indonesian grocery store, next door. From the outside, it doesn’t look terribly attractive. That means nothing. A good store can be hidden behind a colorless facade. It does not necessarily have to look good to be good. Upon entering, I am kindly welcomed by the man behind the cash register. He is short in stature, has short black hair, and wears a wrinkle-free shirt in bright colors. His smile gives me a look at his bright white teeth. With his arm, he gestures that I am welcome.
The store seems too big for the small number of shelves. The fluorescent lighting and the somber decor do not make it any more attractive. However, it smells delicious. All stores like these smell the same. As if the scents of all Eastern and African ingredients come together in a dish only served in tokos. I walk along the shelves and the countless spices. The different types of sambals from Koningsvogel and a peanut butter that I don’t know yet make me happy. On the label, it says “SPICY.” I am curious how it will taste and I decide to buy a jar.
That afternoon, I treat myself to a sandwich with the new peanut butter. I give my youngest son one, too. When I ask him how it tasted, he says: “It was fine.” I know this means it was not to his liking. When I press further, he explains that the peanut butter was too spicy.
In the following months, I occasionally treat myself to a sandwich with this spicy peanut butter. After more than half a year has passed, the jar is empty. I take the empty jar to the recycling center around the corner. Just before I slide the jar into the bottle receptacle, my eye falls on the label: PEANUT SAUCE – SPICY.
Frans Reichardt | The Customer Listener