Monday, March 27, 2006



Oscar Madison in a huge box-super-store is like Superman on planet Krypton. B and I went inside a Target this evening to buy a new toaster oven. The store, as you know, is filled with things. We paused to consider whether to buy a package of toilet paper that had, like, 3 dozen rolls. Shopping at a place like Target should be easy, but I find the decisions more challenging.
"Do we really need so much?"
"The real problem is, will it fit in the cupboard?"
"The real problem is, will it fit in the trunk?"
At this juncture, I pointed out that we only had 11 minutes left of our 15 minute window, so we bypassed the toilet paper.

What is the "15 minute window"? My ability to function inside Target is limited to 15 minutes, as though I had an oxygen tank. As the time ticks down, I get light-headed, my judgment gets clouded, my motor coordination deteriorates. After 15 minutes, I suffer permanent brain damage.

We quickly made our way to the toaster ovens. Well, as quickly as we could. First, I spotted a couple of shelves of microwave ovens -- the toasters have to be nearby! I thought. Next aisle: coffee makers. Either we were getting warm (moving toward countertop electric appliances based on a heating coil) or cold (moving away from ovens).

Next aisle: sandwich makers. An entire aisle of sandwich makers! Okay, they're bread-heating devices -- definitely getting warm.

Next aisle: no!! Waffle irons and countertop rotisserie ovens. The Ronco Showtime Rotisserie oven draws me like a tractor beam. I have a history with this appliance. I am mezmerized by a warning label affixed to the front window of the Showtime Rotisserie: "Do not take 'Set it and Forget it' Literally!" ("Set it and forget it" was Ron Popeil's catchy advertizing pitch for the product: people apparently got into trouble by failing to "monitor" the chicken while it was cooking.)

B sees me staring open-mouthed at the Showtime Rotisserie and doubles over, incapacitated, with laughter. Is her oxygen tank empty?!

Finally, the next aisle has what I have to admit is a pretty good selection of toaster ovens. We quickly reject the two Black and Decker models. The whole reason we're here is the inferior characteristics of our current Black and Decker toaster oven. We also reject any model that has a "rack advance" feature -- that is, a hook connecting the rack to the oven door that pulls the rack out whenever you open the door. That feature on the Black and Decker eventually became the bane of our existence, singlehandedly causing several burns.

We decide on the $50 convection Euro-trash. We like that it has a bell that goes off when the toast is done. (Believe it or not, this feature is not included in our current Black and Decker model.)

I look at the shelves... and there's none in stock!!! The reason that this is a hideous nightmare is that it poses a lose-lose decision scenario. Either (a) we leave the store and continue our quest for a new toaster oven some other day at an equally heinous store. Or (b) we ask a "sales associate" to check in the back to see if there's one in the stockroom.

I have a real problem with option (b). In a huge box store, it can take a lot of looking to find a "sales associate." And then the one you find is never able to check for you. They have to go find someone else. That person disappears into the back for a long time. With every passing minute, you have to decide "should I keep waiting or just leave." That of course replays the initial (a) versus (b) Hobson's choice in a seemingly endless loop. 20 minutes go by. Finally, a third "sales associate" returns -- does he have my "Euro-Trash"? It really doesn't matter, because I ran out of oxygen and died.

In this particular case, as luck would have it, there was one last Euro-Trash on the shelf -- the top shelf, rather than the bottom where all the other toaster ovens were. We hustled to the check out.

Do you remember the photo of the wildly thrilled shoppers in Walmart last Christmas season? My question is, if places like Walmart and Target are supposed to be so good for our society, and keep us happy with lots of inexpensive stuff, then why does everybody in this store -- from "sales associates" to cashiers to shoppers -- look and act like a freakin' zombie?

I actually adore Target. I worked at Wal-mart for three years, in the electronics department, and I loved that too. I didn't love the pay, or most of my myriad of bosses, but I loved my job. Which is probably why I'm still in sales, though now a manager, and love that too.

I do, however, refuse to ever shop at Wal-Mart again. But Target still rocks my world.
I have one word for you, m'dear )ok ok it's two words, one of them hypenated):

on-line shopping


layuzdvh -- Polish layaway plan
Does the phrase, "freakin' zombie," (one of the best ways to end a blog entry I've ever seen, btw), elicit mental imagery of MJ's, "Thriller," video for anyone else?
that was laugh-out-loud-and-read-to-the-spouse funny. But I don't see what's wrong with the Black&Decker toaster oven. We're on our fourth or 5th. But we also have a real toaster for singeing bread.

and the toilet paper will fit in your trunk, but the mountain of TP in the cupboard(s) may be a problem once you get home.

ahmbz (um-bee-zee): the act of storing 36 rolls of toilet paper in the cupboard.
What are you using that toaster oven for? I haven't owned one since grad school.

You're not cooking with a hot plate too, are you?
I prefer Shopko but I try not to go because I have no self restraint. Last week I went without groceries because the Shopko pitstop ended up being too costly.

Last night I went to Shopko and walked out with a food dehydrator.
I luv Target - I can spend HOURS in there just perusing the isles (and spending a good deal of cashola). But, congrats for making it through - and for about twice your allotted time! Building resistance, hu?
I'm surprised there is so much love for Target here on my blog.

MT, I hope you understand that a food dehydrator is not a device to enable you to go without food.
"Oscar Madison in a huge box-super-store is like Superman on planet Krypton."

You were born in a huge box-super-store?
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