August 13, 2006

Sweatsocks and Sour Cream

You couldn't pay me to buy groceries at Wal-Mart. Seriously. I know, I know, I refuse to shop there at all. But groceries? Just, ewwwwww.

Remember Consumers Distributing? Now, that was my idea of a store. I worked there for ten years, so yeah, I'm a little partial. But it was the concept I loved. Park, go in, get your stuff, leave. No wandering aisles aimlessly, no impulse purchases. There was never a better place to buy an iron, a toaster, a blow dryer, or a cheesy TV stand. Christmas just isn't the same without standing around for an hour waiting to be told they don't have your Cabbage Patch doll in stock.

I despise walking into a huge store, doing my usual deer-in-the-headlights facial expression and realizing I should have packed an overnight case before I started my journey on the search for new gloves or a blender. I am not a shopper. I am not a stroller. I do not idle in housewares, I do not scour markdown racks, I have no interest in sales being announced over a garbly speaker system advising me to race to men's underwear.

How many times have I gone to a department store, flyer clutched in my shaking hand, trying to find the advertised towels/jeans/duvets. If you ask for assistance (if you can find anyone - customer service, anyone?) in locating something in the flyer, you get that face. You know the one. Everyone knows the stuff in the flyer is a ruse, a trick. Like Tom Cruise's kid or George Bush's morals, the stuff in the flyer doesn't exist.

If I'm lucky, I'll find the sale table. A small, sad pile of the advertised item will be presented willy-nilly, while next to it will be a staggering display of something far better. You ask yourself, can these both be duvets? How can this, the advertised duvet, stand to sit next to this upmarket cousin? The shabby little duvet that looked so promising in the glossy flyer has just become the friend-with-a-great-personality.

So, I avoid department stores. And malls. I don't trust anywhere I can't see sunlight, or escape from in thirty seconds. For groceries, I go to my No Frills (two boys, 300 bucks a week, we can't afford frills). I joke with the same guys loading the shelves, I know which checkout woman is allergic to my pineapple, and I know who won't make me lift the watermelon or fabric softener out of my cart.

Wal-Mart is finally pushing into groceries. Read it here. See, I have a problem with this. Disappearing into the artifical lighting of a cavernous store, pushing by racks of too many clothes that fall apart after one washing and odd electronics by manufacturers I've never heard of (and I used to make fun of Candle and Citizen).

I'm not gonna grocery shop in here, then try to wait in those ridiculous checkout lines as my non-perishables perish. The only department I haven't quite located in a Wal-Mart is the one labelled 'Souls'.

Lord knows they've sold everything else.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My biggest problem with department stores is that they hire people, usually teenagers, that don't know anything about the department they're in.

Their biggest sales pitch is that someone they know has also bought the item you're looking at, and says it's great.

If you go into a department store looking for a specific item, which isn't on the shelf, the most help you are going to get from a minimum wager when you ask 'Do you have any _____ left?', is to have them walk back to where the item is suppose to be and say 'Yeah we're all out'

August 13, 2006 10:24 AM  

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