STORE STORY, OR WHY I HATE SHOPPING, PART ONE
to a cultural obligation, the nature of which I’m sure you can guess,
and quite against my better judgment, this afternoon I entered a retail
establishment. The store has a plebian name, but we sophisticates who shop there like to call it “Tar-jay.”
discovering that all the things I wanted did not exist at Tar-jay,
either because somebody already bought them all, leaving a gaping hole
in the display that fairly CRIED OUT for managerial intervention, or
because the Corporate Masters elected not to sell such things, I picked
out several different items and headed for the check out.
Now here’s where it gets dicey, because I don’t want to offend anyone who might be employed by Tar-jay. So
let me be specifically clear: in this particular Tar-jay store, at the
exact check-out stand I visited (and this is most likely NOT TRUE of
the OTHER clerks at this particular Tar-jay), there stood an employee
with a jaw so slack I had to keep my hands in my pockets to prevent
myself from reaching out and forcing her chin up. Let me also specify that this individual clerk in cheerful Tar-jay red vest did not appear to have a disability. She
was merely a candidate to be a day-time talk show guest (subject: My
Boss at Tar-jay Spends His Whole Shift Smoking On the Loading Dock and
Never Notices the GAPING HOLES In the Displays, and the Stress Made Me
While I waited oh-so-patiently for my turn to swipe plastic, Ms. Tar-jay pawed over her current customer’s purchases. “I
am SO getting one of these for my boyfriend!” she exclaimed, holding up
a red jacket that frankly looked just like a Tar-jay vest. “My boyfriend LOVES this scent!” she said, gazing at a jumbo spritz bottle labeled “BARGAIN PERFUME.”
The customer finally escaped, though not before shooting me a look of commiseration, and I handed over my selections. Ms. Tar-jay held up the fleece pajamas (with feet!) I was buying for my eldest child (don’t tell her!).
“These are SO CUTE. Isn’t it GREAT that they make them in big sizes now? I bought some for my boyfriend, and he was secretly pleased.”
I must have looked skeptical, because she launched into an explanation. Suffice
to say, she caught him home alone wearing the pajamas when she’d
thought he was out screwing around with some other (undoubtedly equally
moronic) chick. Or something like that. “Isn’t that CUTE!” (referring now to the boyfriend).
I shot the commiseration look at the next customer and skedaddled.
was going to go ahead and tell you what aggravated the hell out of me
at the store next door to Tar-jay, which I visited next, but it is
a-going on midnight, so I’ll tell you tomorrow if it is not replaced in
the “recent annoyances” center of my brain by some other hideous event.