Hello Surf Reporters! While I’m off sobbing uncontrollably into a Dell laptop, guest posts from talented folks who have never written WVSR guest posts will appear here. Automatically and without my involvement, as if by insidious chickenfoot voodoo. This first one is by frequent (and hilarious) commenter icecycle66. I know you’ll enjoy it, so,,, enjoy! -Jeff
When Jeff asked me to go ahead and send him some drivel to pacify you beasts, I had to make a choice. Do I send an accurate but slightly less blood boiling take on being a first time film producer or play it safe and explain the story behind the rage boner pic I texted to him a few weeks ago.
I felt that he was due an explanation for filling his phone’s memory with pictures of what could easily be confused as glamour shots of tater-tots.
I don’t go out in public often, on account of my furious and incredible hate for the great majority of humans. However, to make sure my caretaker Mrs. Cycle continues to bring me peanut butter and toilet paper, I’ll go grocery shopping with her once a month or so.
Since I don’t go to the store every week, there are often sweeping changes that confound and frighten me when I do go. It could be a giant cubist interpretation of “The Scream” made only with cases of Mr. Pibb Xtra or a store rearrangement so drastic that there are now table saws and golf balls where the ham used to be.
For instance, I was minding my own business walking to the back where they keep the flavored milk when somebody started screaming at me from a television.
Had I stroked out there for a minute and wandered into the electronics department? Had that free thimble of apple juice I drank a few aisles back been laced with some horrible auditory hallucinogen? No, I could only be so lucky.
It seems that there are now television sets bolted to the end caps of some sections. They’re triggered when you walk past them and the Aryan poster child within starts yelling about jarred tomato sauce and a matching noodle set. The person on the screen went on to explain that I had never had real pasta sauce until I spent money on their pasta sauce.
I stood there for a moment, considering whether I would be sent to jail or just have to pay for damages if I starting smashing the accusatory television into its component parts. Just then, another monitor screamed at a freshly frightened man a few aisles up and broke me from my fantasy of destruction.
This new automated terror was nothing compared to what was soon to come: actual, forced, person-to-person contact with other customers.
Somewhere in the “Oh-God-No” section, that’s down in the middle of the “Accepted Racism” aisle, there was a rack of various grains and sauces jutting out into the traffic zone. It was not one of the tiny wire racks with chip clips and can openers hanging off it. This was some intentionally obstructive semi-circle coming out about a foot and a half into the cart lane.
There is already hardly enough space in those aisles for two lane traffic, now they have to close a lane for barley and wheat germ? That is unacceptable. People were smashing into each other and getting their carts jackknifed against the pickled pig’s feet and dehydrated shrimp whiskers.
It was pure horror of the highest order. I tried to turn back, but several carts and a Rascal motor scooter were already jammed up behind me. It was like my own made to order Hiroshima. I had to leave the cart and push past some squishy old woman dressed in bed sheets.
After this pathetic display, my wife told me to just go hide in the back of the McDonalds at the front of the store until she came to get me.
I was like a retarded eight year old in an airport at this point. Wandering glass eyed and horrified to a familiar beacon in the distance.
En route to my safe haven of dehydrated hamburger and golden fried salt, I came across the last of my enemies that day.
Near the front of the store, by all the seasonal candy, there is an aisle loaded with 20 pounds sacks of rice and gallon sized grape jellies. I guess some people can’t pass the background checks and polygraph tests necessary to be admitted into elite market clubs such as Sam’s or Costco. My local Chinese Slave Camp Superstore decided to appeal to these grocery club outcasts and stock a limited selection of enormous novelty size foodstuffs.
There were barges of mayonnaise that could drown a horse.
A police officer’s week supply of tiny powdered donuts, it had a great big “1 Whole Ton” sticker on it. Buckets of lighter fluid with pump handles and spray nozzles clearly being marketed to the obsessive-compulsive warehouse arsonist. Cotton balls by the bushel and Mexican candy by the case.
There was a bin near the end with big feedbags hanging on a hook next to it. When did buying beans by the shovel load come back into vogue?
I think I may have passed out at this point. I, I don’t really remember a lot after that.
Have you guys ever avoided a place for so long, that upon return, its various changes left you disoriented and angry to the point of panic ? Or is that just me?
I listened to Meat Puppets while I wrote this. Go listen to the Meat Puppets.
Brilliant and well played.
I saw two teenage girls walk up to one of those TV displays for air freshener and wonder out loud how they got the TV to put out smell…… never even seeing the 500 air fresheners.
I also had a good one in my local beverage mart. The dude infront of me bought one of those tiny skulls filled with tequila. He balked a little when told it was $10. The cashier told him it was more the bottle than the tequila, to which he replied…
” My aunt wanted a little head for Christmas”
If I wasn’t standing there with my 13 yr old daughter……
Fancy Pants Maguire says
There’s nothing on top but a bucket and a mop
And an illustrated book about birds
You see a lot up there, but don’t be scared
Who needs actions when you’ve got words?
I opened a box of veggie dogs last night I got from the store on Saturday. I noticed they looked a little odd. The sell by date on the box was from over a year ago. I think I am going to take the box back to the store. Someone didn’t rotate the stock I guess.
Probably because nobody should ever buy veggie dogs…
Veggie Dogs are bad when they are made. On the date of manufacture they set the sell by date to the previous year.
Nice one. I especially related to the obnoxious aisle sales techniques. Stickers on the floor, displays that literally hook your coat, causing you to knock them down. If we hate them, imagine the way those re-stockers feel when they try to maneuver their forklifts through. Don Dellillo wrote a fantastic, short book that embodies the evil nature of supermarket ‘culture’. It’s called White Noise. I highly recommended it as an adjunct to your passionate post.
Have you seen the condom display lately? Sweet sainted mother of Wilt Chamberlin. There are so many different choices of cock socks it boggles my loins. I’d hate to think I’m finally going to get to score and then show up with the wrong rubber.
The last time I ventured into my Dollar Store, I had to leap over a case of decorative tins and almost knocked over a display of candy cane M&Ms to get to where they used to have the gift bags and bows. I tried doing all of this while holding my breath because they Dollar store exudes a stench of cheap plastic and electronics that just cannot be good for your lungs.
Excellent post icecycle!
WB in OH says
My local hardware store rearranged everything a year ago. Pretty frustrating for the first couple of trips.
I am not a good person to shop with. I have no patience whether I’m shopping for food or clothing. Grocery stores are the worst for changing shit around. Its annoying as hell. They make you walk completely through the entire store as a sales tactic to sucker you into buying shit you didnt even want or need. A local market plays this game by stocking the same type of item in 4 different isles, instead of where it would logically be located…all brands…all in one central location. It’s bullshit really. All to send a subliminal message for you to grab something else not on your list.
Serious! I foolishly thought the horseradish would be with the other condiments. No, it’s at the other end of the store next to the frozen shrimp.
I honestly cannot do the food shopping. When I lived alone I had to but now, no f-ing way. W.Mart gives me panic attacks and the smaller chain around here is always so jammed with rude people it blows my mind. Plus it seems like on the times I do have to go they moved at least one thing I need into an aisle at the opposite end of the store from where it was the last time. The bread and breakfast aisles tend to be moved the most often in that store and it drives me nuts when I think I’m finally at the bread aisle at the very end of the store and-surprise- it’s now coffee and tea…
The 4th Stooge says
Heh. I agree wholeheartedly with your views. Do you have a newsletter? (or something like that).
I too, hate going to stores. I hate buying clothes, I hate buying food, I pretty much hate buying everything except electronic equipment (stereo stuff) and books.
I hate the food stores because I now have to read EVERYTHING in case it has 3 days worth of sodium in one 1 oz. serving; clothes stores because I’m too tall to wear anything under 8 without looking like Michael Jackson, my feet are too large and narrow (what? No 10.5 narrows? Fuck you shoe stores!); and since every brick and mortar bookstore is gone (Waldenbooks, I miss you so!), even the fun of going into a variety of bookstores is gone.
But at least there’s the internet!
I was about to ask what the hell kind of grocery store has an electronics section and a McDonald’s, but “Chinese Slave Camp Superstore” answered the question.
My local grocery store inexplicably moves shit around too. They especially like to fuck with my coffee, which is ill-advised. It used to be in the front corner of the store, then a sign appeared there saying that it had been moved to Aisle 14B. After getting used to that, one day I arrived for my coffee fix and the world was upside down: they had rotated Aisle 14B a full 180 degrees! Everything was still in its correct position relative to the others, but the whole aisle was flipped around. WTF?
And don’t get me started on store brands.
Very good post, indeed. Every time one of those video ads starts up in our Local Slave Camp, I pause long enough to identify the brand they are advertising, then I close my ears and pass quickly by as I determine whether or not I have already put it in my cart. In which case, I would remove it promptly and simply place it on the next available shelf space. I do try to find refrigeration for perishables, btw. Somehow that action always gives me a childish but pleasant sense of revenge. If I don’t already have the product in my cart, I make a mental note not to buy it. I hate those things.
Used to be, the only thing you had to avoid in those places was the stank aisle where the detergents and fabric softeners were plied. Then they added the occasional brash, loud mouth sales lady frying up sausage or whatnot. If you were starved, you had to listen to her drivel while you ate. Then they decided it wasn’t worth clogging up their aisles to give away merchandise that they would rather make a profit on. So, they started employing little ol ladies that look like your grandma who give away samples in little cups you can scoop and carry. But they are also trained security personnel who try to limit everybody to “just one.” Plus, there aren’t as many of them as there used to be. In the past, you could feed a family of 4 lunch while you were shopping if you fanned out enough and the responsible adults looked highly interested in buying as they took second helpings. Now you can’t even take a grape out of the bag you put in your cart without risking a felony arrest embarrassment event.
So why they have hot cases that sell sandwiches and snacks in these places is beyond me. You can get your yearly dose of BPAs all at once trying to keep the register tape stuck to the container.
The ones that really get me upset, though, are the talking coupon dispensers. These are cleverly concealed along the shelves, and they have a lag time on them so that you are past them before you hear the voices coming out of the shelves and start wondering what that creeper was saying to you as you passed him in the aisle, or if you perhaps went off your meds a little sooner than you should have after all.
I also hate the colorful coupons you find along the way tacked onto products that loudly proclaim, “Get Three for the Price of One,” but on further inspection you discover that you have to buy ten of something you don’t want in order to get this awesome deal. As if we all had hours upon hours to spend buying stuff to keep us alive week after week. Or the coupon that comes slithering out of the same slot the receipt will sooner or later that invites you to come back and save $5 at the register. No, not this time–next time. This is always when I have to shop just this once at the obscenely more expensive Let’s Go Wondering Mart down the road because the Local Slave Camp does not stock the particular brand, size or type I need for something special. I hate all that almost as much as getting something home and then noting the teeny tiny “Get $1 off your purchase now at the checkout” sticker discreetly but securely attached where you can’t see it. Am I going to save that puppy and go back there and get the same thing next time so I can use it? No.
While I’m at it, all during this present holiday season, every time I went in the Local Slave Camp, the manager was somewhere in the store telling an employee who should have been restocking an empty shelf somewhere to move this or that display so that there would be six more feet of space there and they could put up another shelf. Good lord, the place already looks like a Middle Eastern bazaar in some places and a rummage sale only with hangers in others.
And now the vendors are installing their own little cardboard displays willy nilly throughout the establishment. So, if you are a victim of in-store cart rage and have any conscience whatsoever, not only do you have to pick up the merchandise, you also have to set up the shelves knocked over by your hapless collision with Somebody Special Who Had Important Places To Be–Now.
What my husband hates is the fact that in some cases I am a BNB (that’s Brand Name Bitch). I have tried to compromise and modify this inborn and highly developed trait all I can, but when the store brand of tomato paste stains my family’s teeth and tongues red, or the generic cereal is on the recall list every other week, or a family of 4 dies of botulism paralysis and suffocation at the dinner table because Mom bought the bargain can of green beans (That used to happen. I have PTSD from hearing about it. It probably still happens, but the details are redacted for the sake of populace peace), whaddya gonna do?
The shrinking roller bar at the side of this box tells me this is another of my long winded posts. I apologize. However, the references to store brands, instore ads, and the tricks and traps of contemporary retailing in the face of the fact that we all are gonna be buying food anyway, fer crying out loud–well, what can I say. It just got me all inflamed.
Thanks. I feel better now. Not so alone in my angst.
Okay, so I’m two days behind on this post. I wish I could blame my fabulous, glamorous existance and constant state of being in demand socially, but that would be a lie. I just spaced checking a day or two because my days are all screwed up because of these fucking holidays.
Great post, icecycle66! Now, try and do all that in another language you’re not completely familiar with yet and “Welcome to my life”!
I’m also several days (or weeks) behind in tracking WVSR updates and comments.
I have something to get off my chest re: supermarket sales. WTF is up with the way they’re selling 12-packs of soda these days? it’s $4.79 for one, but “4 for $10.00”???? Really?
And when I go to the checkout with one 12-pack of Diet Dr. Pepper and one 12-pack of Diet 7-Up, the checker points out that if I just buy one more of each, I can get 4 more 12-packs. I DON’T WANT 6 MORE 12-PACKS! If I had wanted 6 more 12-packs, I would have put 6 more 12-packs into my goddamned cart and let the nerds who run the computer programs on whatever you call cash registers nowadays figure out how much I have to have deducted from my bank account to get out the fucking store.
Thanks, Hollerbabe, for pointing out how much better one can feel by ranting a little bit about the stupidity of it all.