Local Market:  Went with my market buddy, Studly McRocklegs, for brunch and adventure.  Wandered the stalls, looking for fresh veggies, oogling luscious lemon cake made by “Mom”, and settled in for a shared savory crepe.  Practiced bad French across the counter with Mme. Grand, who manages the creperie.  We watched people as we bashed a delicious fresh crepe loaded with bleu cheese, black forest ham and spinach. 

We made our way to The Cheese Lady.  She is the purveyor of artisan cheese, and i was hankering for her soft and sharp aged cheese to toss onto my fresh asparagus.  There was a line, which is not unusual on a Saturday morning.  i got my cheese* and we headed to the car – today, skipping The Pasta Lesbians and Chef Ron’s Bakery.  Onward to the next stop…

The Warehouse Club:  My dog weighs 100 pounds.  The cat has grown to be about a quarter that size.  i buy chow in bulk.  Never mind kitty litter and 40 pound bags of salt for the water softener. i dread going on Saturday morning, as they have the Food Product Sample People** causing traffic jams.  There are people who eat an entire meal by wandering slowly from one sample stand to the next…  blocking aisles with their giant asses and carts. 

Today?  It wasn’t bad.  i still got aggravated, and jumpy, and my dinosaur brain reminded me that i hate shopping because it kinda makes me a little stabby, so we finished up and headed out quickly.  Dropped Studley at his place… and went home to unload the metric ton of crap weighing down my Honda.  From there…

The Mega-Mondo-Garden Center:  Well, technically, i can’t count this as a retail experience.  i drove by it.  Today is the first non-monsoon Saturday of the season – the place was a madhouse.  i decided to try my luck buying annuals at the K-Mart down the street.  They’re just plants that are going to die in a few months.  i don’t think quality matters all that much….

K-Mart:  Petunias, mums and marigolds.  Some cheap potting soil.  A few other punky looking spiked foliage thingies for the containers on my front porch…  The outside garden area was pleasant.  Prices were good.  The hanging baskets looked pretty mangy, though, so i decided to pick one up at the Mondo-Mega-Garden center on the way back.   Inside to the registers to check out…

Zoicks!  There were large lines of large people at the two open registers.  So i waited.  And forgot that i needed to buy a new garden hose.  Waited some more.  And forgot that i needed to buy some long planters for my basil.  And i waited.  Patiently.  The clerks seemed to be moving in slow motion.  Eventually, i escaped the checkout and drove toward home, to see if the Mega-Mondo-Garden Center was less packed…

Mega-Mondo-Garden Center:  Nope.  A zoo.  i’m sure the hanging baskets are lovely.  i’ll probably never see them myself.  i decided to continue on to the teeny little garden center down the street from me, where the prices are generally high, and i have no idea how they stay in business…

The Garden Lady:  There were no other cars in the lot as i pulled in.  The hanging baskets were spectacular, and the owner was wandering around with a hose, wetting them down.  “i am looking for a basket that likes sun, and has red and yellow flowers.  i have these ugly rose bushes amongst my landscaping that force me to stick with the reds…”  She takes me to exactly what i am looking for.  It’s perfect.

We get to yakking about other varieties that might work.  She has suggestions for my containers, too.  We wander inside, talking about my beloved hibiscus, which i have not yet killed.  An older gent walks in as she’s ringing me up, and she asks what he’s looking for.  “Something to kill tent worms”.  She replies “Are you organic?”  He looked a bit confused – so i said “You just wanna kill ’em, don’t you?”  He laughed and nodded his head.  They both laughed when i suggested a flame thrower.

As we were having that conversation, a leather-encrusted biker dude arrived.  He waited for a break in the conversation, then asked “Excuse me, but can you help me find an address?”  We learned that his brother-in-law is getting married, and is really awful at giving directions, and even though he used to live up this way, he moved south about fifteen years ago… and that it all looks different now. 

Between Garden Lady, Older Gent and i, we got him pointed in the right direction.

Heading back to my car, i was surprised to see about a half-dozen cars now in the lot, along with a nice Harley, and a few people wandering around amongst the plants.  As i loaded my plants into the back seat, the Biker brought over his handwritten directions, and i was able to give him specific landmarks so he could navigate to the wedding without trouble.

It’s not that i don’t like shopping.  i’m pretty sure i just don’t like crowds of stupid people.  Pick the little guy whenever you can…  and be sure to fart around while you’re out there. 

both photos found here

* not a euphemism.

** i don’t know what to call the people who hand out free samples of hot food or cold stuff in the little paper cups in the grocery store.  other than annoying…

34 thoughts on “Re-tales

    • i have to be in the mood for book shops, even. i’m an on-line purchaser. if i can get something on-line, i do. but dog chow isn’t really an option!

  1. Shopping. Such a vulgar word. In the same league as “consumer”. Hate that term. If I need something, I’ll go out to “get stuff” or “pick up stuff”. I try to avoid Saturdays for the same reason as you: I hate to be surrounded by stupid and the weekends are when the stupid comes out to play.

    I try to patronize the “little guy” but oft times the “little guy” doesn’t have what I need in stock. Since I haven’t learned any patience, I wind up going to the big box.

    The worst is Costco, though, when it’s crowded and there are long lines at the check outs. Hate that. That’s why I generally send my “personal shopper”. 😉

    • i tend to “pick up stuff” as well – whenever i use that word, i feel a little dirty. probably for similar reasons. i hate the concept of shopping as sport or recreation or even therapy… for me, it’s dirty.

      selection is always an issue with little guys – but i will often adapt (in the grocery regime) to a smaller store, rather than brave the giant grocery mega-plex that just replace the old store we used. and Costco (or “Sam’s Club”) are the worst. but they have the chow and the salt at substantial savings… and in bulk. grrr…

  2. I especially hate shopping for bras – seeing my poor shapeless breasts getting squished into a multitude of weird contraptions, all reflected in bright light in a panoply of mirrors. Quelle horreur!

  3. What’s with the buying of salt/water softener thingy? How does that work? I guess we don’t have hard water as I’ve never heard of buying 40lb bags of salt

    • water is hard because of magnesium / calcium in the local supply. leaves nasty scum and flakes on everything if you don’t soften. the salt goes in a brine tank – i just loaded mine with 160 pounds of salt pellets, which should last about 2 months. the sodium ions in the brine are loaded in a zeolite-based filter when the softener regenerates every day, and all the household water goes through that filter to swap out the calcium and magnesium for sodium, which doesn’t cause hard water flakes, or scum.

      yeah. i had a general idea how it worked, but it was good for me to look it up. fairly simple. but that’s a LOT of fucking salt, isn’t it?

      • Well, and some of that salt stays in the water which is why when you drink it it can actually increase your sodium levels enough to be a problem. Or at least that is what used to happen, maybe the technology is different today.

  4. I find that if the assistants are attractive my interest in shopping can go from dislike to indifference. If the assistants are attractive and female I have been known to smile. I try to avoid this as it tends to cause panic.

  5. I hate shopping. I hate shopping. I hate it with a passion. I will go to buy things that I need, but I don’t like aimless shopping. As far as I am concerned though, going to a busy farmer’s market that has artisan cheese and creperies is not actually shopping. That is going to the farmer’s market, and there is nothing I like better.

    • i like the market. we’ve managed to establish some degree of connection with the proprietors (and in some cases, their children who work the stands). never mind that the food is fresher and (hopefully) less toxic.

  6. @hmh: You don’t soften the water that goes to your drinking tap. If you are drinking softened water you should fire your plumber. For that matter, I wouldn’t waste money softening the water I flush my toilets with either.

    • the water here is so hard that if you don’t soften? you’ll fill a hot water heater tank with lime in a few years. rough on the rest of the plumbing, too. never mind the perpetual spotting on glassware and shower doors…

      • my last hot water heater (with softener) lasted >10 years. the one before? hauled out, 1/4 full of lime, by three very muscled men. it was 3 years old. i got the softener running… but rob’s right – you really don’t want to drink that stuff.

  7. Pasta lesbians and bikers, sigh. At my markets there is a couple of Greek filo cigar lesbians, who also do a mean cous cous dish. Everthing kissed with the tang of preserved lemon. Your post has reminded me I need to do some shopping.

  8. Do you have a Costco out by you? Do you know what they are? I rarely go as I find it a very upsetting experience. The crowds, shoving and general mayhem is TOO MUCH for me. And I lived in New York for a goodly chunk of my life!

    • Yes, but Sam’s Club is the regional warehouse giant. It’s about the same. These kind of crowds are just different. And i realize as i’m pushing my cart around, i’m probably in someone else’s way… but at least i’m trying not to be… it’s pretty awful. i’d go on weekdays if i could…

    • her houlumi-style “fryin’ cheese” is like crack. various blends of flavored soft cheeses that make bagels dreamy. i am pretty sure i want to have her baby.

  9. Those grocery store photos gave me flashbacks to shopping with my mother at the small locally owned stores of my youth. You knew everyone by name and the produce guy was usually Asian-American. The Italian market we frequented had sawdust on the floor and smelled of salami and pizzas being baked in the back. Good times…

    • that’s where i was when i found that link. i remember butchers in paper hats and white lab coats, and all that stuff… much less complicated to shop, then. fewer choices, less processed ‘stuff’. and no damn Starbucks IN the store.

  10. The Costco secrets? A. Be there when the doors open. That way, you’re finishing up just as the crowds start building. B. Bring a book / magazine to while away the time standing in line to check out.

    This from a mother of four who used to buy rice in 25-pound sacks.

    • good strategy. i’d do it on weekdays if i could. instead of the book, i surf the web with the ‘berry, and try to avoid eye contact with other people. i like to buy in bulk mostly so i can shop less often. the fact that it’s less expensive that way is a bonus.

    • that’s it! same thing here… as much as i can’t stand the crowds of people around them, i suspect those are some pretty lousy jobs. i’d rather throw slop at hogs…

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