Our Timing Was Bad
There we were in beautiful Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Look, a parking space.”) and we decided to pop into the local Staples store to pick up a few things – we tend to burn through office supplies.
Normally, such an excursion might take 30 minutes at most, but we had both forgotten one crucial detail before going: Staples was having their “Back to School Sale.”
As soon as we pulled into the parking lot we should have known something was amiss. The lot was crammed – even the Gimp Spots were almost full, and that never happens.
I slipped the Toyota into the last available Gimp Spot and into the store we went. It was like walking into an ant hill – an ant hill where each ant was pushing a shopping cart. The place was crawling with Mothers dragging their kids through the store grabbing school supplies by the pound. Pencils, Pens, Notebooks, Erasers, and Folders. All of the Mothers were smiling. None of the kids were. They all looked like convicts walking their last mile.
Staples had mountains of spiral notebooks stacked in the aisles. If even a small earthquake had rumbled through there would have been people buried in the cave-in. And all for 17 cents apiece.
A great forest was sacrificed to churn out all of those wooden rulers that clogged Aisle #7. Do kids even use rulers in school anymore? I know that they were a popular item when I was growing up, but they were always in the hands of the nuns as they prowled through the classroom.
We managed to find the things we were looking for, but it was like wading through the basement of Filene’s Department Store in Boston when they were having their $100 Bridal Gown Sale. Lives could have been lost.
Finding what we wanted was one thing, but getting out of there alive was something altogether different. There were six million people in the store, all determined to check out and get to the Dairy Queen for a Vodka Blizzard. Naturally the store manager decided that only two checkout lines were sufficient. Not a good decision. When all those Mothers got to the front of the store and realized that they had hit a brick wall they quit smiling. It all began to look more like a Retail Demolition Derby.
In the midst of all this chaos there was one highly incongruous and pleasant moment that occurred. As we lurched and bumped our way past the pencil sharpeners a woman came up to us and said, “I really like your Hawaiian shirts.” She seemed to be enjoying herself. I think she may have stopped at the “Dew Drop Inn” on her way to Staples. A true Professional in my estimation.
We eventually did escape from the store, relatively intact, and with only minor bruises from shopping cart collisions. Now we have some new spiral notebooks and Post-it notes.
Life is good.