shopping with thad (and other

shopping with thad (and other tales of futility)

it snowed most of the day in clarks summit, pa. yeah, i know it’s almost april, but you’ll have to take that up with God or mother nature or the weather man or whoever you choose to blame these phenomena on. all i know is there’s snow everywhere and i had to scrape ice off my car twice today. the car doors were even frozen shut.

speaking of shopping…a friend made the following observation this week: shopping for women is like pornography for men – a lot of wasted time looking at stuff you can’t have. apparently he made that statement to his wife and earned himself a full helping of her scorn. maybe it’s not a perfect analogy, but it seems to make some sense.

speaking of shopping (ah, there’s the segue way i was looking for), i spent a good hour in my local wal-mart supercenter tonight. some assorted observations and questions from that adventure:

– i’d forgotten how you have to have perpetual contact with your significant other when you’re 16. i watched this couple walk the aisles side by side with their arms around one another while trying to push a shopping cart. it struck me as pretty odd. first, i began that sort of physical contact with girlfriends when i was about 13. incidentally, that’s also when i began talking to girlfriends…all prior had been on a strict regimen of written correspondence (maybe i had something there). anyway, in the fifteen years of assorted expressions of affection that have followed, i’ve yet to find any instance in which the side-by-side-each-with-an-arm-around-the-other positioning makes much sense. it’s awkward and uncomfortable standing still; it’s just silly when you’re in motion. throw a shopping cart into the mix and, well, you end up with an aging late-20-something gawking at you like you have an extra butt cheek.

– consumerism isn’t just bad for my soul; it’s bad for my bank account. who decided we needed all this crap?

– the cereal aisle is a prime example of the previous complaint. look, all we need are rice krispies, corn flakes, raisin bran, corn chex, apple jacks, and honeycomb. everything else is just taking up space and rotting kids’ teeth.

– where does wal-mart find these guys that work in electronics? they all look the same, no matter where you are in the country. it’s like a blue-vested race of early-20s burnouts.

– one of the most culturally devastating consequences of american idol is the revival of paula abdul’s music. i never listen to fm radio, and a trip through wal-mart is all i need to remind me why. in sixty minutes i heard enough pop sludge to fill a jumbo pack of pampers custom fit cruisers (size 3). in the middle of it was paula telling me i’m a cold hearted snake. as these things go, i continued to hear it for the next thirty minutes until i could get to the car and replace the mental reverberations with something more nutritious. hit show or not, let’s leave paula’s music where it belongs: 1989.

– no trip to wal-mart is complete until you pass the out of control mother screaming/swinging at her kids. look, i don’t care how bad s/he is, no kid deserves to be called names or cursed by an adult. cut that crap out.

– the people at hershey’s and PAZ must really love Jesus. they get their own aisle at wal-mart every year before easter. who knew that the substitutionary death and redemptive resurrection of the Son of God would mean such enormous profits for the fake grass industry, candy pushers, and plastic egg-makers? … i suspect God knew, and He sent Jesus anyway. that makes no sense, but it’s pretty cool.

– i think wal-mart practices age discrimination in their hiring. i’ve never had anyone under 70 push a cart out in front of me as i walked in the front door.

– one of my least favorite shopping chores is buying bread for amy. tonight the list says: “wheat: 8 or 10 grain w/ nuts.” for starters, this goes against everything i stand for in bread. white bread only, and no funny shapes please. beyond that, i always screw up her bread order. there are like 817 “versions” of brown bread, and i can’t ever find the right one. tonight i found 7 grain, 8 grain with oats, multigrain light, and health nut with walnuts and sunflower seeds. i went with that last one. she said i did good, but i think she’s just being nice because she feels bad that i had to shop (and because she eats pagan bread).

– why is there a travel agency in wal-mart?

– i always wonder if it annoys the check-out ladies for me to hand them my empty reese’s wrapper and my half-empty coke bottle when i check out. neither are really carrying my germs – i don’t lick the peanut butter cup wrapper, and i put the lid on the bottle before i give it to her. still, it seems a bit odd handing someone my in-process snack to ring up. anyone with any relevant employment experience out there who can shed some light on this?

after wal-mart, i went to wegman’s, a local grocery store, to get the produce and meat. i swore off buying those items at wal-mart after three consecutive gross-out encounters with wal-mart fruit and ground beef. anyway, wegman’s is this cool little market chain indigenous to the northeast – mostly new york and pennsylvania i think. this is not your average grocery store – they have all sorts of fresh breads and produce and an extensive natural/health foods section (which means nothing to me, but it’s cool anyway). they also have a remarkable variety of international food sections – o geez, i just realized i forgot to buy the rice (a japanese brand you can only find at wegman’s) – and a candy section that must be run by some elves who defected from the north pole…jelly bellies everywhere. anyway, i did not hear paula abdul while i was at wegman’s. i did, however, hear peter cetera singing about daniel larusso doing it all for the glory of love. see, this is the difference between good 80’s cheese and bad 80’s cheese. peter cetera good. paul abdul bad. incidentally, paula was the choreographer for karate kid part 3. karate kid parts 1&2 good. karate kid part 3 bad.