As the primary procurer of goods and services for our household, I’ve noticed that stores—both local and national chains—have certain personalities that emerge. I realize this is probably a personal observation and completely subjective, but it helps explain how and where we shop. Depending on the type and the message they are trying to market, some stores seem “friendlier” than others. Or, a better value. Or nice. Or snooty. Or cheap.
And there’s the warehouse store.
They don’t even try to lure you in or affect your perceptions whatsoever. They almost dare you to even try to shop there by requiring membership and then elderly security guards armed with highlighters at the door. And if you do dare cross their threshold, their disdain for you is loud and clear.
Sam: Look, I really don’t have the time, energy or desire to unpack all of this Teriyaki sauce, so I’m just going to slice the top open with a box cutter and y’all can have at it.
Me: But I really don’t need a gross of it, can I just get a couple?
Me: Ok….What about those Pop-Tarts? There’s 36 of strawberry, cherry and blueberry, but no one in my house will eat the blueberry, so can I just trade them out?
Me: But my daughter’s allergic to blueberries…
Sam: Then get a 6-pack of Children’s Benadryl in the health and beauty aisle—and by “aisle” I mean “pallet dump.” What can I tell you?
Me: Okay…I understand the bulk packaging concept, but how about things that aren’t naturally packaged that way?
Sam: Are you still here? (Sigh.) Like what?
Me: Like bread. Those were packaged singly and you added a plastic bag around them to sell them by twos.
Sam: But I pretend they’re cheaper that way.
Me: I know, but they’re not. And clothing. How does that fit into the “bulk is better” concept? With the exception that there’s fifty size XXXL burgundy turtlenecks, I don’t get how that fits in here.
Sam: You’re a trouble-maker, you know that? Let me see your membership card. (Looks at it skeptically.) Eh, you’re just a Gold Member. Do us both a favor and get yourself a large box of wine and move along.
Me: I wish I could, but the line is so long.
Sam: It’s a bulk store, we like our lines big like everything else.
Me: But not your staffing levels, I see…
At check out…
BJ: Do you want a box for all this?
Me: No, I want it loose in my trunk to roll around and dent those 55 gallon drums of green beans I just bought for some reason.
BJ: Whatevs. That will be $812.46.
Me: What???? I thought this was supposed to be cheaper?
BJ: (Disinterested.) It’s cheaper by the serving. I assume.
Me: And I didn’t get a fraction of what I needed! I still have to go to the grocery store to get the majority of my shopping list.
BJ: Not my problem. But maybe you should get a tub of fish oil tablets if you can’t remember a simple list.
Me: Great. Should I just look for the faded sign printed out on a bubble printer?
BJ: Hey, we got that perforated printer paper for a steal in 1982! 45 billion cases of it, so we’ll be printing our price signs out on that for the long haul.
Me: Sort of like how long I’ll be shuffling around those blueberry Pop Tarts…
BJ: (Handing me my receipt.) Membership has its privileges.
Me: And its curses.
©2014 Tracey Henry