The Time of Avoiding Stores
It’s getting to that time of the year… the Time of Avoiding Stores.
I actually went out today – not only for a wine & beer tasting, but because I wanted to get an emergency cold-weather sleeping bag now, rather than in November. November is the second worst month to go shopping, of course, second only to December.
I fear I was too late. It is already too close to November. The place was already crowded. The popular Charlottesville, Virginia shopping center, Barracks Road, has few parking spaces available during the Season of Greed.
And what does this shopping center do every year, knowing full well that it becomes impossible to find parking there in the late fall? Why, it tears up parking spots and puts up more stores, of course!
Worse, some of these stores start preparing for the holiday season in, like, June. While I can usually avoid such stores (fortunately, there is the internet), they proliferate and get harder to avoid starting around September and October. It’s bad enough they start stocking cheap plastic Halloween crap right after the Back-to-School specials; do they really have to load up on reindeer on Labor Day? Really?
I created a handy flow chart to help with this problem. Please feel free to show it to any store owners and managers you know.
The sleeping bag purchase was easy, despite having to park in Michigan. There’s an outdoors store in Barracks Road. Now, I’m not an outdoorsman; I don’t even play one on TV. I am, in fact, a dedicated indoorsman, and I’m sure that’s obvious when people see me. So walking into the outdoors store was like walking in on a Santeria ritual: You know vaguely what one is, you’re pretty sure it involves chickens, and you have just enough knowledge about it that you’re sure you’re going to say something embarrassing that they’ll laugh about after you leave.
Still, being a man, shopping is easy. I found the High Priest and told him I wanted a sleeping bag that would keep me from dying of hypothermia in North Dakota. He sacrificed a chicken and told me that nothing can stop you from dying of hypothermia in North Dakota, though the far greater danger there is boredom. But he showed me a sleeping bag that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg (I’d neglected to collect body parts prior to shopping, anyway), and out I went.
But then came the real challenge of the day: I had two empty propane tanks to refill. I suppose I could have driven to another shopping center, one where I could have parked closer to the grocery store, but I was feeling stubborn. So I schlepped those empties to the Kroger store, dropped them off, went in, bought a few other necessities (no, not beer – I have a fridge full of beer) and purchased the hydrocarbon exchange.
Which is when I remembered that now I had to schlep two full tanks of propane back to my car.
Well. At least I got my exercise today.