Sunday, March 21, 2010

Contain it All

One of the things I hate most about moving is the inevitable 473 trips it takes to the suburbs to get all the moving supplies and new-place stuff -- shower curtain liners, paper-towel holders, etc. I tried to make it easier by trying to go to a container store first -- they specialize in that kinda thing, and you don't have to walk an entire warehouse of unrelated stuff to find what you need --  but they either keep insanely brief hours, or they were out of business; it was hard to tell just by walking around it and looking in the windows repeatedly, while mumbling "Ikea. Ikea," despite having read the Mental Floss article  that told me more than I wanted to know about them.

 I feel like a traitor to my gender in my hatred of all-things-shopping. I'm not good at it, and I shop like a man. I can't remember the name of the comic who said his embrace of shopping was limited to a circumstance where, if he got cold, he went in a store and bought a coat so he wasn't cold anymore; then he walked out. Yeah. That sounds about right. And don't even suggest shopping online as an alternative, because the only thing I have ever successfully bought online that looked in person the way it looked online is Harry and David pears. Luckily, we have half a dozen vendors at work who send those every Christmas, so I don't even order those anymore.

My mom's a champion shopper, but hardly ever takes me with her anymore because I just end up tugging on her jacket and whining, "I wanna goooooo hooooooome." I wish I'd had her with me today, because I know she could've gotten in and out and found everything on my list. I, on the other hand, did not buy one thing.

All I found was one rack for kitchen cupboard storage -- and a stack of Oatmeal Express which is my only processed-food vice except for Warm Delights, and is virtually impossible to find since the Krogers stopped carrying it (and yes, of course I prefer to make the steel cut oats when I have time, and yes, I have tried the single-envelope instant oatmeals, and no, they don't taste anything like the Express -- I found a stash of them one time at a local hospital cafeteria and bought 13 of them, which I'm sure the cashier thought was odd).

I was downright angry I couldn't find a wall-mounted paper-towel rack. Everything was a countertop stand model. Really? Are paper towels so design-friendly we all want to put them on such prominent display now? On the other hand, I sure don't want to open a cabinet door every time I need one. Like an animal. But that was nothing compared to walking past the cleaning aisle and being accosted by a chorus of "Jesus Loves Me." (I believe it was within the genre of what is known as "praise music," which I have prided myself on never having heard until that moment.) I also like to think of myself as religiously tolerant, but this was unbelievably jarring, and whether or not Jesus does, in fact, love me, is not the issue. I think discount stores should be more...ecumenical, or preferably, agnostic. If they want to sell Jesus-related merchandise, that is, of course, their prerogogative... but a display that intrudes into the shopping space? No. And this was the sort of display that was so offensively overbearing as it blared into the store like circus/carnie music, that it would make a good Christian spontaneously convert to any other religion on the spot. "Relax/Inspire/Escape,"  indeed.

That wasn't the reason I didn't buy anything though. As soon as I turned the corner where I could see the checkout, I was greeted by a wall of flesh. There was a sea of humanity stretching for what seemed like miles between me and my purchases. And what did I do? I burst into tears of frustration, put down my Oatmeal Express, and walked out.  I rarely cry, and this was twice in the last six weeks -- though in fairness to me, the most recent time, someone had died, so that was not necessarily an inappropriate response.

Luckily, I don't think anybody could tell, because I was wearing my big new Valerie Plame/Spanish Heiress sunglasses. I would've been wearing a coordinating Hermes scarf, but I can't get any of my New York City friends to stand-in-line at their annual sales for me (the first one was in Jersey, so that's fair).

My gal Elle in NYC promises she will take me there in August, allthough I've shared with her my concern that any store that closes the doors on Oprah is probably not going to admit the likes of me --- no, nor any of my folk.

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