M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, May 08, 2003  

Wholesale Away

I haven’t made a Home Depot trip for a while. It gets kind of exhausting, frankly. Because a trip to Home Depot is never just one trip. It’s a trip to get the thing I need. Then it’s another trip after I get home and find out I’ve gotten the wrong thing. Then it’s a third trip to return the thing I didn’t use. Between one thing and another, it can take a week of driving around just to get a stupid light bulb changed.

So a few days ago I suggested to Trash that we drive over and take a look around for ideas. But instead of buying stuff that we think would look cool, we’d write it down so we could measure or check color matches or model numbers or whatever when we got home. Because there aren’t enough things in our house that need fixing already; we need to wander through several acres of stuff displayed to make our perfectly nice house look like a shack made of poo by comparison.

But before we did that, we hit the new Sam’s Club that just opened right next door. I keep hearing about the glories of Sam’s Club. Trash has been there a few times, and several of our relatives have memberships. Every one of Trash’s coworkers also belongs except for MC, which is surprising considering the number of semitrucks that must go there.

I must say, my first impression of the place was not entirely positive. Neither were the second and third impressions. Just getting into the parking lot was like leaving a rock concert after the last encore. I had to wait in line and fill out a form to get a membership card, and then stand for a photo while unshowered, unshaven, and coiffed as if I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards. And then the first spectacularly cheap bulk stuff I saw didn’t exactly knock me on my ass. DVDs, the first thing we walked past on our way in, are only a couple of bucks cheaper than at the electronics store.

“I’m not impressed,” I told Trash.

“The real discounts are on stuff you buy in bulk,” Trash explained patiently.

“But I don’t want fifty copies of Road House,” I whined. I was soon to be forcefully shut up. Not by Trash, and not by the effort required to throw my cubic acre of shopping-cart real estate into a ninety-degree turn. But by what I was about to clap eyes on.

For instance, a few months ago my mom gave me a three-hundred-fluid-ounce vat of laundry detergent when she upgraded to a new washing machine. I’ve barely made a dent in it. I had assumed that such a prodigious amount of clean juice would have set her back a week’s pay. When I saw the price for which they could be had at Sam’s, I realized that I would have been right, if the average work week ended at 8:45 on Mondays. Not that I don’t appreciate Mom’s generosity, but now I see how she was able to give me her All™ and still afford to buy that boat.

And that was only the beginning. Did you know Sam’s Club also sells furniture? The first few aisles we negotiated contained storage cabinets, which is a masterstroke; as I was about to learn, members of Sam’s Club are certain to find storage space at a premium. Because you can go and buy outlandish amounts of stuff at Sam’s for not much more than you’d pay for normal amounts of the same stuff at a regular store. We snapped up enough bottled water to float an aircraft carrier, a Subway franchise’s worth of lunch meat, an amount of Shasta™ cola that helped me to finally understand why a mountain is named after it, enough crackers and cookies to exhaust the annual output of a good-sized flour mill, some frozen lunches in the event that Milwaukee stops by, and an entire dead cow. And I left with my wallet no lighter. In fact, it was heavier, because we paid with plastic and I’d slipped a membership card with an ugly photo into it, but still.

I don’t remember what else we got, but it was nothing compared to the stuff we passed up. A muffin tray the size of a barn door. Salmon fillets as big as surfboards. Tubs of butter the size of my dead cow. Shrimp that must have been bred in the cooling towers of Chernobyl. Bricks of cheese? Try retaining walls. And at prices that would bankrupt our neighborhood grocery in seconds. As we wandered through the over-the-counter pharmaceuticals section that wouldn’t fit inside a 7-Eleven, I remarked to Trash, “Can you even imagine being this sick?”

The drawback, of course, is that they sell all this stuff in quantities that Trash and I couldn’t possibly consume before a) it went bad, or b) we died. I’m still making sandwiches with mustard that came from Sam’s Club during the previous millennium. Have you ever known anybody who used up both ounces in a bottle of Tabasco sauce? And would you really want to spend a significant amount of time with a person who needed to buy a fifty-five-gallon drum of the stuff? Looking around at the forklifts carrying single packages of ground beef, Trash and I said, “We need to have a shitload of kids.”

“And buy a vending machine company.”

“And open a restaurant.”

“And adopt the patrons’ kids.”

“And give each kid a vending machine.”

“And a restaurant.”

Intellectually, we know all of this. But emotionally, the place is addictive. I’m going to stop by there later today and pick up a few bucks’ worth of dental floss. So I can build a suspension bridge.

* * *

Being married to a hot librarian has considerable fetish value, so when she gets het up about a library in trouble I have no choice to comply with her wishes. Thus, I repeat the following directive: Go to pamie.com to learn how you—yes, you—can put books on shelves that need them. Or you can do nothing and find the country overrun by functional illiterates in a matter of months. Your call.

posted by M. Giant 3:31 PM 0 comments


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