Once a month I load up a cart at WalMart with cat food, litter and treats for Sneakie Pie. Why I chose a hot, humid day during senior citizen check week and back-to-school supply sales, I’ll never know. The blast of air conditioning when I hit the door was a welcome relief and I got my little scooter cart and headed into ground zero. I can understand the parents who have detailed lists of supplies being frantic. There is so much stuff out there to choose from and what the kids want is not necessarily what their teachers want them to have. Instead of being gleeful over 27 cent boxes of Crayolas and 22 cent packs of glue sticks, moms were distracted by little ones clamoring for denim and jewel notebooks and the Hannah Montana lunchboxes. Overheard in the aisle:
“No, you can NOT have the lunchbox. You never even take your lunch to school so why would I spend ten bucks on a Hannah lunchbox?”
“Awww, mom, I could put my pencils and stuff in it…or my makeup if you let me buy some. ALL the other fifth grade girls are wearing it, ya know!”
Yikes! I didn’t stay to hear the rest but I thought I saw smoke coming from mom’s ears. Folders for only 15 cents? Must have some in pretty colors. How many kids was I shopping for? Um…none…but they were on sale!!! Who can resist a bargain? The funny part of my trip came when I found the Clearance aisle. There’s something about those red clearance signs that will call to us from across the store. It was a little tough navigating my scooter because there were several other ladies (and one man) already poring over the shelves. So many big red stickers on so much stuff!
Who couldn’t use a charm bracelet with a watch charm, marked down to only 5 bucks? So the watch doesn’t work; maybe it just needs a battery. So what if you never wear charm bracelets… it’s on sale! There were trays to put under your car when you’re changing the oil and a few pairs of bikini underwear that said “Angel Baby” on them. On sale! You could get a bargain on make-it-yourself badges or bright neon plastic glasses (that never makes any sense to me but neither would ‘plastic drinking vessels’). The guy found a playboy car air freshener- no cute girl, just the bunny.
One lady was trying to untangle a bunch of kids paddleballs but gave up when she saw vacuum cleaner bags that might fit her appliance. I passed on the packages of grommets, the waterproof container for a camper’s matches and the Baby Shreks bath scrubber, but was lured by a 2008 Randy Travis calendar marked down from 8 to 2 dollars! Now, I’m not a country music fan but I think one of my girlfrends really likes him and so what if more than half the year is gone? It’s Randy for 2 bucks! Oh, okay, I came to my senses and then I was struck by the ridiculousness of the whole thing. I said aloud, to my fellow shoppers, “Isn’t it crazy that we wouldn’t even look at 95 percent of this stuff if it wasn’t on clearance?” That got some knowing nods and smiles from the ladies. The fella said his wife always has him check for things they can use for Christmas presents. Gee, if I was on their list I might have gotten the Elvis Presley playing cards with guitar keychain! Maybe I should have introduced myself and made friends.
What is it about chaotic piles of merchandise that gets our hearts pumping? No SALE counter stays neat for long because shoppers seem to think it has to look like a rummage sale. At Christmas time it takes full time staff just to refold and stack the sweaters and pajamas we just unfolded. I guess neat isn’t fun to a bargain hunter!
I managed to escape the siren’s call of the clearance aisle without Randy or any more junk I don’t need. Apparently other shoppers had second thoughts about their selections, because things were abandoned randomly along the way. A little girls’ dress was hanging from an assembled bicycle and someone parked a package of socks in the kitty food aisle. I think it was the Hershey bars, graham crackers and marshmallows left by the antifreeze that made it much less amusing ! I’ll bet the people who toss the merchandise around the store will be the first to complain when they can’t find something they’re looking for.
I love to share bargains and I’m always on the lookout for things for family and friends. I went above and beyond the call today when TOPS had two 2 liter bottles of Diet coke for 1 dollar with a coupon! Even though I gave up my mass consumption of the drink, my brother-in-law enjoys it so I got it for him. It was on SALE! It was tough knowing that soda was in the back seat and I had to make sure he got it before it came into my house (I would have caved) but the thrill of a bargain was almost as good. That’s it for shopping the city this month, but I still have all those coupons from the monthly savings book at Thee Barker Store! Hey, it’s on SALE! 🙂