Thursday, November 05, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes; or, Why I Hate Shopping

Today I ran a couple of shopping errands. It's my "off" grocery shopping week, which means I needed to pick up milk, juice, bread, and some items from the deli. I usually spend 85 to 90% of my grocery budget on the "on" weeks, so it really was supposed to be quick fill-in trip. I also needed to pick up some things that we'll need in the new house: towel bars, toilet paper holder bars (why would people take those with them?), a shower curtain rod, and some new toilet brushes and plungers. Riveting stuff.

I also wanted to get an inexpensive pair of socks in the same khaki as my pants, and maybe a couple of pairs of knock-around pants to replace the two half-worn-out pairs that I fully intend to ruin while painting the house. No jeans; I gave up jeans years ago. Yes, you can call me an old fogey.

My first stop was at Wal-Mart. I used to love Wal-Mart, and I still think its prices can't be beaten on a lot of staple items. But several years ago my beloved Wal-Mart was replaced by a new Super Wal-Mart, which is ugly, annoyingly laid out, and has pretentions of grandeur. I looked in "bath hardware" for my shower rod. Lots of shower heads and toilet seats, but the rod, towel bars, and TP rollers are in housewares, as apparently they are now fashion accessories. Toilet brushes were also difficult to find. There were either the decoratively disguised ones in housewares for $14.97 a pop, or ones in hardware that looked so spindly that I feared they'd break if I actually used them.

I decided to change course and look for some socks and pants. I actually bought two pairs of socks, but the ones in the color that I actually wanted came in a three-pair bundle pack with two colors that I never, ever wear. So, not a deal. And although over the years I have bought multiple pairs of knock-around pants -- inexpensive elastic-waist woven pants with pockets -- there, they have once again changed brands/suppliers and there wasn't anything that I liked. And even if there had been, I went through every pair in the possibly acceptable colors and the were none in my size. NONE. (Insert picture of me with steam coming out my ears.)

Giving up on Wal-Mart as a bad job, I paid for the stuff in my cart and wended my way to Meijer. If you're not from the Michigan area, you may not be familiar with this chain, which originated in Grand Rapids, and which Roger loves! He would willingly drive past Wal-Mart to pay more for the same item at Meijer. (I think Meijer is what Super Wal-Mart wants to grow up to be; brighter, better organized, "nicer". But the prices are higher.) Same song and dance -- wimpy toilet brushes, no pants in my size, annoying multi-packs of socks.

At this point I decided to cut my losses, get my grocery items, and go home. The juice I wanted was out of stock. The cereal I had planned to buy had every variety on sale except the one I wanted. The bags of candy which were supposed to be on sale scanned through at the regular price. At least the lady in the deli was nice! (Although the lady in line behind me was probably annoyed, because she was very slow...)

So what I have to show for three hours of shopping is: a few groceries, a couple of pieces of bathroom hardware, two pairs of not-quite-right socks, and a headache. But at least I got a blog post!


Tracy said...

and a blog post is a nice thing to have...

I miss Meijer. We had one upNorth. And yes, it was slightly higher prices, but it was definitely better overall!

Christy said...

I don't shop at Wal-Mart on principle, as I work for a supplier and I have stories about being treated in ways that would also make steam come out your ears! I hate so much that you have to drive right by the Meijer to get to the Wal-Mart - and that many people do! I wish we had Meijer stores where I've relocated to!

Lindsay said...

I generally dislike Wal-Mart, but I hate the way it's put together, the way it's run, the way MOST treat their workers, the clientele... it's like a human zoo. People step into the store and it's like they get a carte blanche to act like they were raised in a barn. It's sad.

However, we do have Meijer in Indiana! I suppose that isn't surprising since we're border buddies and all.