When I was a teenager malls were a big deal. They were still a relatively new concept, and people would just go there and hang out. There were record stores, and book stores, and interesting restaurants. It was a pleasant way to kill a few hours, when you found yourself with some hours in need of killing. Nowadays, however, there’s nothing for me there. It’s just super-expensive clothes, cell phone covers, and Subway. Within minutes of crossing the threshold of a mall, drool starts dribbling from the corner of my mouth, brought on by the boredom.
The only thing I like about the mall now is the hurricane machine. You know, where people can pay a fee, step inside a glass booth, and experience hurricane-force winds? I’m always hoping somebody will freak out, and turn the whole machine over. But we’re getting off the subject…
At this point, the only store I consistently like to wander aimlessly through – like we used to do at the mall – is Sam’s Club. They have all sorts of cool electronics, TVs, books, and DVDs. Plus, their meat and produce is top-notch, and the same goes for their bakery items. I’ve even bought clothes there, and furniture. It’s a good store, with great prices, and quality merchandise.
Yeah, I know they’re associated with Wal-Mart, which is the devil’s peehole. But I don’t care… I love Sam’s Club. And I loved Costco, when we lived in California. They’re fantastic. Just their computer sections alone are worth a special trip.
However… there are a few things that bug me about Sam’s. Not enough to stop me from going, mind you, but little nagging annoyances. And I’ll give you a brief rundown of ten of them now. Please feel free to add your own, or comment on the ones I list.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Walkie-Talkies The employees now carry abrasive-ass squawk boxes on their belts, with the volume knobs turned as far to the right as they’ll go. And they insist on using them like telephones; they have long conversations that go blasting straight through my brainstem. It’s shrill and tinny, and absolutely relentless. I don’t like the PA system either, but the walkie-talkies are worse. Turn the goddamn things down! Sweet Maria. Birds probably fly into Sam’s Club airspace, get hit by those harsh sound waves, and go into an immediate death spiral. It’s too much. I beg of you: back off on the Cheap Trick volume. Holy hell.
Samples Assholes This isn’t really the store’s fault, but it’s certainly something about Sam’s Club that bugs me. And I’m talking about people who walk up to one of the samples stations, take whatever’s being offered, and eat it right there. They don’t move out of the way, to make room for the next person, they act like the samples lady requires a critique. So they pop it into their mouth, chew for what seems like a full minute, and make contemplative faces like they’re connoisseurs of fine wine. Get the fuck out of my way! It’s a cracker with cheese on it, you idiot. I hope a gallon jug of vegetable oil falls from a pallet on the third level racking, and takes you out.
DirecTV people This is a relatively new development, and not a positive one. In the TV aisles there are now representatives from DirecTV wandering around, trying to sell their services. They’re extremely pushy, and trained to deflect negative responses. I used to like to look at TVs at Sam’s, but avoid it most of the time now. I know I’ll either get all worked-up, have some sort of altercation, or both. It’s just not worth it. I don’t need more conflict in my life, especially with some soul-patch dipshit in a polo shirt. Sometimes they holler at me, like carnival barkers, when I’m passing by on the outer edges of the TV department. I used to be neutral on DirecTV as a company, but they’ve now dropped to one slot above AIDS on my approval meter.
Camera alarms Why are there cameras on display, if you’re not allowed to pick them up? Every time somebody touches one, it sets off a piercing alarm that can be heard in the Best Buy parking lot a half-mile down the street. And it takes roughly eight minutes before an employee saunters over, without a care in world, and puts an end to the pain. I know better than to even breathe on those cameras, but others are not as experienced as I am. And the chirping goes off about five times every time I visit the store. My molars are nothing but stumps because various strangers have felt the need to hold a Nikon Coolpix in their hands.
Self-Checkout Queen I know how to use a self-checkout, thank you very much. I appreciate your concern, but don’t need assistance. In fact, it’s a little insulting. Do I look like a person who can’t follow SEE SPOT RUN-level directions on a touch screen? Just go back behind your presidential podium over there, and leave me be. I’ll self-transact my pillowcase of salted peanuts in the shell, and my flat of éclairs, like a seasoned pro. Just give me some room, and I think you’ll be impressed. I am the Joe DiMaggio of barcode scanning, and the James Brown of bank card swiping. Just turn me loose!
Cart pushers This isn’t unique to Sam’s Club, but I see them there, every time. Back in my day we didn’t have fancy remote control cart pushers, with a flashing light and orange whip-flag. We just… you know, pushed the carts by hand. And after a while I became so good at it, I could shove a line of carts half a block long, and thread the needle on a run, straight through the front door of a grocery store. It agitates me when I see these pampered and powdered fancy-lads out there using a rolling tugboat to move shopping carts around. They’re already on wheels! Is that not good enough? Oh brother.
Free days One of the best things about Sam’s Club is the $40 per year membership fee. It’s a small amount of money, but enough to keep out the riff-raff. Occasionally, however, there’s a free day, and the place turns into a flea market. Big mamas in Flashdance shirts yelling at their buzzcut dumplin’ children: “Colt, don’t touch that! Colt!! Did you hear me?!” I hate when the riff-raff wall comes down. I’ve seen fistfights nearly break out over sausage samples, and people smuggling in their own filthy fountain drink cups from the previous free day. The annual fee is a line they won’t cross, and God save the annual fee!
Hand dryer in the men’s room I think it’s called a Dyson Airblade, or something like that. It’s very posh, but I don’t like it. You have to put your wet hands between two blowers, that are motion-activated. It’s a small space, and you need to have the steadiness of a jewel cutter not to touch the sides – and pick up some stranger’s shit spores. It’s almost like playing Operation, and who needs that kind of stress? I’m already resentful that society makes me scrub down, like I’m about to perform a heart transplant, simply because I took my wiener “over the fence” and aimed it for 25 seconds. Now this? What’s next, mandatory post-piss juggling? Why can’t they just leave me alone?!
So, there you go. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments. And I hope you guys have yourselves a great weekend.
I’ll see you again on Monday.
Now playing in the bunker
Treat yourself: steering wheel eating tray!
Good Evening Surf Reporters….
I, too, am a member of that exclusive club. Of course it happens every time, when you go in only needing a few items and wind up spending $400.
…never fails to happen.
One thing I DO like about Sam’s – the gallon-sized cans of pudding. BJ’s doesn’t carry those, and it’s about enough to make me sign up with Sam’s again.
Gallon-sized cans of pudding? Good Lord, are they in the food department or the sexual aids area?
food aisle. The institutional-sized cans of creamed corn, though, are in the ‘family planning’ aisle. That’s a lesson I only needed to learn once.
hot fuzz says
When the store is called BJ’s I’m not surprised.
So, you hold the can of creamed corn between your knees, thereby avoiding pregnancy?
[Insert political comment here]
Firstly, god-fearing hetero men hang out at Home Depot.
Secondly, don’t you hate the people who wait until everything is rung up at done before they even start to fumble around to find their checkbook?
Amen brother on the checkbook fumblers.
WTF? They got a “checkbook” then they can have a Debit Card …. Use It! I’m surprised any place takes paper checks anymore, period. You owe me money that last thing I want if your wiggly signature on paper from some bank in Bangladesh, or Peoria, whatever, that will take a week to clear and actually, you know, become money.
My pet peeve at Sam’s – they won’t take a freakin Visa card!! And I forget about it every time until i’m in the checkout line. Then i’m there digging for cash or my checkbook. And I of course never write checks in a store anymore because I always use my credit card, so I forget that the daggone cash register will print your check for you and hold up the line for 5 minutes cussing about not being able to use my visa card and vow never to come back. 6 months later, I need dog bones and I repeat the whole process…
This summer, our Sam’s decided to repave the parking lot out front, a third at a time. Not a quick cover job, no, this took it down to the dirt. So all kinds of fences went up, like they were putting in the Berlin Wall again. You had to come in and leave through a side street entrance to the gas station, park way over to one side, and leave by going around the back of the store. This went on all summer, and they’re still working on the final third. They still allow those annoying charity groups to set up outside the exit door and hit you up for Girl Scout cookies and all kinds of other crap. I just tell them I don’t carry cash, which I don’t.
In the Great Pacific Northwest, real men, be they hetero-, homo-, bi-, metro-, or Mannix-sexual, carry cash. I know things are different back on the hoity-toity east coast, but how hard is it to stick a couple of fifties in your wallet and go forth into the world?
I carry a little cash, but I can do aout everything with a card, and for me, it’s just faster.
OK, but out here hookers and dealers don’t accept plastic. And you just never know when you’re going to need one or the other or both.
I can appriciate that. For some things, you just gotta have some green.
hot fuzz says
“And for everything else, there’s Mastercard”
hot fuzz says
Up here in the frozen tundra (45 minutes north of Toronto) we experience something quite fun in the winter (all months except August). Because we cannot see the white lines demarking parking spots through the snow, the folks here adopt the very useful “freeform” parking style. The usual chevron of orderly vehicles is replaced by a snaking mixture of angles (45, 90, 120, whatever works) with two deep replaced by the space conserving three deep. Much fun is had by all…
Holy shit! 45 minutes north of Toronto? I didn’t know people lived way up there! 😉
hot fuzz says
Yes our outpost does a brisk business in the trade of seal and beaver fur. We even have TWO Walmarts!!!!
Two Wal-Marts! In case one breaks?
Erica in Charlotte says
Pampered and powdered fancy-lads! That one caught me just right and I’m STILL laughing. Excellent post.
Great update, loved it, hilarious!!! Got my shirt today woo hoo!
Unexpected Friday update, yay!
I am not a member of that exclusive club, but I am a member of the “price” club – now known as Costco. No DirecTV sales weenies, no free days, no PA system, no Girl Scouts, and the walkie-talkies are inaudible. The meat they sell is the highest quality I’ve ever seen at retail, and cheap to boot. In fact, everything is good quality, but the selection is limited and you’ll probably have to buy some ridiculous quantity.
JTB, I carry cash. The farthest west I have ever lived is Reston, Virginia.
I’m off to powder my wig.
We’ll have to meet up in Fargo one of these years and find a couple of hookers.
Wisey in TTown says
Hookers in Fargo? Ugh.
Men on a budget.
A friend of mine’s husband was a butcher at CostCo in San Francisco and, indeed, the meat is really great. Here’s a tip, though: NEVER buy their ground beef. She told me they hardly ever clean the grinders and her husband wouldn’t eat it himself. Everything else is great, though – just steer clear of the burger.
I don’t buy ground beef at Costco or anywhere else. If I need ground beef (which is unusual) I buy beef and grind it myself. That way you know what cuts are in it, and it will probably have less bacteria -n- stuff.
And you can fuck it first
This is beef, not cheese.
I appreciate the scorn for the pampered and powdered fancy-lads. As a former teenaged box girl (grocery bagger) I took great pride in my ability to wrangle a city-block length of carts and push ’em right on through the double doors with nary a buzz-cut hicklet injured. The Wall-E cart robots drive me crazy.
i should know better than to read the update while I’m drinking my coffee.
Mr Giligain says
I’m sure my membership card carries data of all my purchases for their analysis. Why can’t it also record the number of times I’m asked to upgrade to a plus-member and realize after 50 times of declining their concerned well being for my ‘savings’? Could you imagine going to the gas station to fill up the car with gas, pick the lowest grade @ $3.89/gal, only to be asked if I want to upgrade to premium grade @ $4.11/gal? Hell, Comcast sends me landfill quantities of junk mail to take advantage of their Tripple Play Deal…then they call me each day (1-888-201-4415). I finally answer, and wait before I say anything…10 sec…20 sec…I hear nothing…then I say hello…I hear a click and all of a sudden a ‘pleasant’ voice informing me that this conversation may be recorded for quality assurance. I ask why don’t they don’t do anything for a long term customer (10+ yrs) like myself. Why do I have to be a new customer? Why do I have to add another ‘feature’ to get a temporary discount? I’m asked if I want to talk to a supervisor…sure, bring it on.
Sorry, from Sams to Comcast…I guess I don’t vent often… 🙂
I feel better now.
Phil Jett says
The hand dryer paragraph was fucking hilarious. Playing Operation really made me laugh..
Hate the fucking receipt checkers. Counting the number of purchases my ass.
For a while Costco had a sign at the exit door, saying that they check receipts “to make sure you got everything you paid for”. Bullshit, I sez – it’s actually to make sure you paid for everything you got.
I was leaving a Sam’s Club restroom the other day without washing my hands and using the hand dryer, and another guy said, “Hey! MY mother taught me to wash my hands after peeing!”
I said, “Yeah. My mother taught me not to pee on my hands.”
Nevertheless, nobody wants to shake hands with your tool. Just sayin’.
WB in OH says
Indeed! Just worsh your hands before someone calls your mother an idiot.
WB in OH says
I belonged to Sam’s Club years ago, got signed up through work somehow. Anyway, it didn’t really make sense for a single guy. You can’t really use a 2 gallon tub of mayonnaise without 3/4 of it spoiling.
It makes *some* sense to me, as a single guy. I just don’t buy stuff that is perishable and non-freezable. Giant packs of paper towels and the like are fine; whole chickens, I can cook one and freeze the other. The 10 lb. bag of carrots, no. They have some books too, and I’ll buy one now and then.
WB in OH says
Shit, I forgot about the hand dryers. One of my clients requires that you wash your hands when entering their production facility. They recently installed the Airblades. I never once worried about touching the sides and picking up poop spores, I guess it was fun while it lasted.
hot fuzz says
Here’s hoping you have the precision of a mohel and the hand eye coordination of a nuclear disarmament tech.
Othwise… poopie hands.
Sheldon: Hot air blowers are incubators and spewers of bacteria and pestilence. Frankly it would be more hygienic if they just had a plague infested gibbon sneeze my hands dry.
All of the Dyson stuff is very trendy, but not that practical. The first time I used one at Costco it was a fresh new kick, but now it just seems aggravating. I would like to put my wiener in one though.
I am impressed by the cart-wranglers who use the robotic attachment. I look up to them as would a child towards a train engineer or a space shuttle pilot.
Cannot believe you didn’t lead with the receipt checkers! That’s hands down the worst. I’ve done what you asked. I’ve paid to come into your store. I’ve bought hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise. You have my money. Why do you make me wait longer than it took me to shop just to leave the store? Maddening.
My hands and my penis are cleaner than the air that comes out of those hot air hand dryers. All they do is heat up and recirculate the microscopic bits of waste floating in the air, blasting them by the gagillions over your hands.
If the men’s room doesn’t offer a supply of disposable paper towels I don’t wash after I wee. When I can, I grab a few paper towels from the cafe area and carry them with me into the men’s room.
Theres one good thing about the sars scare a few years ago, all our washrooms at work magically got paper towel dispensers again.
Story not related:
I got my first haricut today as a long-haired hippy douche-bag.
For the last week I’ve been asking people with long hair, mostly women, where to get a haircut.
This was a common conversation:
Me: Hey, where do you get your hair cut.
Her: I get my hair cut at Goldilocks Incorporated.
Me: Do you have a certain person?
Her: I go to Tom.
Me: What’s his phone number.
Her: He isn’t gay.
I find a few things wrong with this.
First, at what point did this go from me needing a haircut to me wanting to bone the dude. I don’t care if he is gay or not. I need a damn haircut.
Second, why are you telling me if he is gay or not. Does that dictate the quality of haircut to follow? Why is it that if I ask a girl where she gets her hair cut the caveat of sexuality comes into play?
By the way, this only comes into play if a woman is talking about a man who cuts hair.
If the woman tells me, “Oh, I go to Jynxx. She’s great.” Sexuality is not discussed.
If I ask a dude where he gets his hair cut he says, “Hank” or “Claire, over at Hank’s Barber Shop.” Again, no sexual preference is described.
By the way, I ended up just going to the mall since they are the only place that doesn’t require you to call ahead by three weeks and costs less than $20. The girl that cut my hair was a lesbian.
I just discovered that I like having someone else wash my hair. I’d never had someone wring my head out before.
She was pretty good. She doubted how much I wanted trimmed, but she leaned towards trimming less than me. Conservative service such as this is always appreciated.
Once she started cutting, it felt a little like Coming to America. When Eddie gets his pony tail cut off in one clip and is charged twenty dolla. She made a few snips around my head, in about 45 seconds, and sort of stood there for a minute. She eventually trimmed up around my ears and neck and stuff, but it seemed like she really wanted to be done after just a few cuts.
Now came the part I think must be most like dealing with a hooker. I’ve never dealt with a hooker, but I imagine it is similar. For instance, you get Trixie to do normal doggy style putting out, but in the heat of the moment you want to do some kinky hanging from the ceiling with a bag over your head while she kicks you in the taint. Well, that bumps our session price up from $10.50 to $17.75.
Natalia started asking me if I wanted any layers. Which I imagine is an addition $50. No thanks.
She asked if I wanted her to put my hair back in twists, for an increased fee I’m sure. No thanks.
With tip it cam out to shorter hair and $24. That’s cheap since I haven’t had a haircut in over a year.
The Qweezy Mark says
I love the part about the taint kickin’. The girl who cuts my hair won’t do that on a counta she’s a Mormon. Too bad as she’s about as beautiful as a human can be.
What I’d like to know is why the woman assumes you are asking for the hair cuttters personal number, and the fact that she might actually have that personal number to even consider the fact that you might be fishing for a date.
This was definitely a return to form. I laughed my ass off.
JeffInDenver (InCleveland) says
Regarding the DirecTV a-holes, and their cell phone brethren, a good way to get them to back the fuck off is to go Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on them. Just start running in circles, yelling “Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma” over & over. They’ll make themselves scarce quickly.
That Dyson guy needs to calm the fuck down. He’s reinventing stuff that’s already invented. A fan without blades, Jesus Christ.
I’ve never understood receipt checking at Sam’s. At 7-11, which is full of tiny items that you can easily pocket? It makes sense.
At Sam’s, where every item is bigger than my head? Makes it a little harder to pilfer things. I mean, is it really that easy to sneak a whole flatbed cart past the cash registers?
Went to the Oklahoma state fair on Friday. Holy crap the people watching! Then at a bar later watched a guy puke all over the patio.
Btw I’m moving to Arizona in a few days.
The Qweezy Mark says
Where in AZ ?