Thank God For The Snack Bar
Sam’s Club, the wholesale, really big box version of Wal-Mart, turns into a battlefield this time of year. By this time of year I mean that, while it is still early November for you and me, for Sam’s it is almost Christmas Eve. They are in full-tilt Christmas Shopping mode.
I went there to pick up a variety of items, none that would fall into the “gift” category. You might say that the blister pack of AA batteries could be a gift, but that would be a stretch. Nobody I know gives 16oz paper coffee to-go cups on Christmas morning. (Hmmm…now that I think about it… I do know a few who might do that, but the restraining orders are still in place, so…)
The parking lot at Sam’s was busy – it always is – but today must have been a special “Gimps Get a Free Gift Day” at Sam’s. Every gimp spot in the parking lot was filled. (Before you get bent out of shape – that’s what I call “Handicapped Parking” spots. Get over it.)
When I walked into the store I was met by the obligatory Centenarian checking to be sure I had a Sam’s ID card. Where do they find the people who are that old? I admit that they make me feel like an18 year old being carded at the liquor store, so that’s a kind of positive greeting.
It took me a while to work my way to the far side of the store. The crowds pushing their shopping carts and the extra display aisles made navigation a chore. The School/Office Supply Aisle was gone – replaced by a display of enough chocolate goodies to cause the entire Midwest to have an acne outbreak.
Eventually I did find everything on my shopping list and I headed toward the checkout area. The last time I saw that many people standing in a line they were waiting to get the free Salk polio vaccine shots in the 1950s. There was no way around it all, so I just resigned myself to the wait and prayed that I wouldn’t need to go to the Men’s Room.
When things are that hectic, I find it amazing that the cashiers can still manage to smile at the customers. I’m not saying I have any evidence, but if I was in charge I would have the cashiers blow into the Breathalyzer before their shift. I couldn’t be that cheerful without either pharmaceutical or vintner’s assistance.
Sam’s has a lot of stuff you can’t get in your standard supermarket – like containers of mustard large enough to be a War Crime – and huge cartons of Ramen Noodles that would feed most college students well into their Junior year. But I think most people really go there because of the Snack Bar. I know I do.
It is impossible for me to visit Sam’s without stopping at the Snack Bar for a large slice of pizza or a hot dog, accompanied by the 32oz soda of my choice, all for $1.82. Best bargain lunch in town – even better if you start off by snagging the free samples of sausages, biscuits, and quiches from the ladies stationed by the frozen food aisles.
Trips to Sam’s can be a bit chaotic. Some of the customers get overly aggressive, pushing their carts like snow plows. I just want to get in, get the things I’m looking for, and get out alive. I don’t think of shopping as a competitive sport like some people do.
Give me my coffee cups, my batteries and a slice of pizza and let me get out of there. Even if I have to walk to the far end of the parking lot because every other gimp in town is there shopping.