I may have mentioned that I'd rather be hit between the eyes with a ball peen hammer, repeatedly, than go to Wally World. Well, break out the Estwing, Edna, because it was 9 PM on a Sunday and I needed free-standing shelving, paper towels, sponges, dish soap, and a big bag of socks.
I trolled the aisles of the sleet-swept asphalt prairie, looking for a parking space as Robert Smith whined his way through Prayers For Rain over the car's speakers. (Does this adequately set the mood? I'm trying to foreshadow the fact that I look forward to a WalMart expedition the way most people look forward to hemorrhoid surgery, or the sight of a naked Rosanne.) What in the hell were all these people doing here this late on a miserable Sunday night, anyway? Finally a spot within reasonable schlepping distance of the front door appeared, between a Warner Brother's-edition GM minivan with gawd-knows-what smeared all over the inside of the windows and a multi-colored Dodge Dynasty that had been hit everyplace but the ashtray. Leaving my car to the tender mercies of the Visigoths parked to either side of it, I entered the maw of the MegaStore.
The greeter seemed no more thorazined than usual as I snagged a cart, smiled and nodded, and set off into the Superdome-sized vastness to score some shelves. I navigated the Impulse Buy Islands, fought through the trackless wastes of Junior's Clothing, traversed Tacky Jewelry Pass, and was standing winded and confused in the Particle Board Forest, when a perky blue vest showed up to help. I explained that I was just looking for some inexpensive shelving to hold dishes. "Oh, okay!" she responded brightly, "Right over... um, does it have to be pretty?"
"Mostly it just has to keep the dishes off the ground. I'm furnishing a mother-in-law apartment."
Apparently cheap modular plastic etageres of the kind we sold when I worked at Eckerd's are no longer in vogue. I picked out a particle board monstrosity and felt quite pleased with myself until my native guide asked how big of a vehicle I was in. Realizing the top would have to go down on the Beemer to transport my find, it went back on the shelf.
I wandered through the bath section en route to groceries and absentmindedly picked up a bathroom rug that would match my shower curtain, which necessitated snatching a matching towel off the shelf, which... Oh, Kee-rist, I was nesting! The new bathroom rug necessitated a U-turn back to the pet department to score a little doormat to put in front of the litter box, which of course had to match the bathroom decor.
By now I couldn't find my damn list and was navigating WalMart with only slightly more aplomb than the tribes of Israel showed in the Sinai. Forging in the direction I thought would get me to the beer department (when in doubt, seek comfort food,) I ducked into hardware to hide from a couple of well-meaning but long-winded customers from the Armory. As my eyes focussed on what I was hiding behind, I realized it was a stack of boxes containing modular four-shelf plastic etageres. Bingo! Now if I could get to groceries without further incident, I'd be home free...
Now you see why I buy items like, say, jeans from the mall.
It seems so much more convenient than: