Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My Trip to Wal-Mart

With nothing to do today, I decided to make the sunny drive over to Carson City. I wanted to check out the Kawasaki dealership, and I also needed to stock up on Punjab Eggplant Indian Fare's from Trader Joe's. Add a cup of rice, and for $2 those things are a hearty meal.

I went to the Kawasaki dealership first, to check out Ninja 250's, because they are sexy, and I want to be sexy. They are $3,000 brand, spanking new, and would save me so much money on gas--but I just can't pull the trigger. Maybe if I was working full-time, or if I had health insurance, or if I wasn't moving back to Seattle, or (etc). There are many reasons for not getting the bike, and besides saving on gas, the only other reason to get the bike is "I WANT IT!"

I asked the salesperson at the dealership a few questions, and he didn't give many answers I wanted to here.

Me: "So, if you were in my situation, what would you do? You'll only be here this summer, and you'll probably be riding about 30 miles a day on 45mph highway. Which bike would be best?"

Slick Willy: "Oh man! That's a tough question, because all of these bikes are so great! I mean, we got the 250, 500, 650, 750--all those would be great for what you're wanting to do! That's like asking a waiter at a restaurant, 'what should I have for dinner!' "

Me: "I see. Well, I haven't ridden before, so I'm leaning towards the 250. Do you have any sort of summer-lease option? I don't think I'll be riding a motorcycle in Seattle, so I'd like to sell it when I'm done this summer."

SW: "250, 500, 650, 750--they're all great! You've got to buy the bike though, we don't do part-time loans."

Me: "OK, I've seen quite a few on craigslist, so I'm not too worried about selling it afterwards."

SW: "Yeah, they're all great bikes!"

Me: "I've gathered that. How about a test-drive, so I can figure out the differences between the 250, 500, 650 and 750 bikes?"

SW: "Oh, we don't do test-drives here! We don't have the insurance for that!"

*smacks forehead*

I leave and head to Trader Joe's. On my way, I remember that I could really use some blank CDs and DVDs. I've been thinking for the last two years about using DVDs to store old photos, videos, and files on. Ever since my last computer died and I lost all the old photos and files from college and Sacramento.

Blank CDs and DVDs, can't get those at Trader Joe's. But, I bet there will be someplace in the shopping center that has them. The first building I see is Wal-Mart, which takes up a good 1/3 of the shopping center. I'm sure they have some, but I'm going to look elsewhere, because, well... Wal-Mart is evil. I drive around for a bit and don't see a single store that looks like they might have blank CDs, so I head back to Wal-Mart.

I stay in the car for a few moments, to collect my thoughts and ready myself for Wal-Mart.

OK, I'm ready.

I pass by an employee with the trademark bright orange jacket, who is also sporting a killer sunglasses tan-line. He's pulling what looks to be about 50 shopping carts from the parking lot, and doesn't seem to be exerting any energy whatsoever. Ah, then I notice some sort of motorized device that makes the carts move. I was tempted to ask him, "Hey, how are the benefits?" But, I realized that I don't have any benefits either, and it probably wouldn't be the nicest thing to say to a stranger.

The huge automatic doors swung open and I hesitantly stepped into the lair of the beast. I quickly remembered the Simpsons episode where Abe is a Wal-Mart greeter. I tried not to be judgmental when I saw the 80 year old woman sitting on a stool with a blue Wal-Mart sash at the entrance, but come on... I looked her in the eye while passing by, and she didn't even acknowledge me. OK, no worries, didn't want to say hi to the old bat anyways.

The first thing I noticed in Wal-Mart? There are a lot of old people. I'd say the average age of Wal-Mart employees is probably 60, and the average age of shoppers is slightly under 60. I was an out-lier.

I made my way quickly to the electronics department, and luckily found the blank CD/DVD section in a matter of minutes. There was a little section set up entirely with blank CD's and DVD's. I don't think there was any difference except brand, and there were probably 100 different options to choose from. A bit over the top. As I was standing back and looking at the selections, a Hispanic dwarf Wal-Mart employee walked in front of me and stood right between me and the CD's I was looking at. I thought this a bit rude, but in all honesty, the CD's I was inspecting were above his head, so it didn't matter--I wasn't really sure what to think. He left after a minute of scratching his forehead and looking at the rack of CD's that were probably all the same. I ended up grabbing 25 blank CD's, and 25 blank DVD-RW's.

I headed to checkout county, and decided on lucky register 76. There was an Indian woman in front of me, who was shouting at her family in the distance in what I can only imagine was Indian. She left, and I was greeted by the pale, frail hand of death. I forked over my money, and she placed the CD's and DVD's into the rotating plastic bag wheel. Hadn't seen one of those before, but they make sense to get people out quicker.

On my way out (still inside Wal-Mart), I passed by a line at Wells Fargo, a line at McDonald's, and a packed nail-salon... on a Wednesday afternoon at 2:30pm. I ran back to my car.

I then looked forward to my Trader Joe's trip, because I knew what to expect. I entered the store, pincered by fresh fruit and flowers. I grabbed five Punjab Eggplant Indian Fares, and tried to think what else I needed at Trader Joe's. Hmm... what to get... BEER! Bingo! Ding dong! Trader Joe's wine is great, but I haven't been in a wine mood recently--then I realized they have some great, unique, cheap beer at TJ's.

I found the beer isle and met two other brave souls trying to figure out which type of beer to buy. We talked for a bit and laughed at the different names for the beer. Fat Weasel, Black Toad, Ugly Duckling--I settled on Black Toad. I'm a bit scared to try it, but you can't go wrong with dark beer, can you??

Time to head to the checkout stand. Checkout #3 just opened up because there was a rush of customers going to checkout. I ended up chatting with the 50 year old checkout lady for a few minutes while she was checking me out. She said she couldn't stand the weather (it had been raining a bit for the last two days), and I told her I'm from Seattle. Then proved it when she asked for my ID. She said her daughter is working in Vancouver, WA. I said I lived in Portland for a year. She said she'd love to live there, and she just might move in a few years. Then I was checked out and we parted ways with a smile.

Now, obviously I enjoy my Trader Joe's much more than I enjoy Wal-Mart, but the one thing that stuck in my mind after visiting the two stores back-to-back is that there sure was a lot more diversity at Wal-Mart. Carson City isn't THAT diverse of a city, but I saw Hispanics, Indians, Blacks, Asians and a dwarf. At Trader Joe's I might have seen one Hispanic, and about 30 White people. Trader Joe's can be expensive for certain items, but for the most part--it is a pretty cheap store! $2 for a meal isn't bad! I guess Wal-Mart has everything under the sun, and Trader Joe's just has healthy food, but I was still pretty shocked to see such a wide gap in diversity.

I headed out to my car, and the wind had started to pick up. No rain yet, but it would probably start in the next 15 minutes. I drove over the pass to Tahoe, and was a bit surprised to be caught in a near white-out. Go 4-wheel drive! Made it back down to Zephyr Cove and snapped a photo before heading inside. It wasn't as bad as the pass, but still... May 2nd? Jeebus!

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Blogger waking jonas said...

god don't let jared get started on motorcycles.

i hate it when people walk between me and something i'm looking at in the store, even if height isn't a factor. that happened to one of my coworkers today and she got to discipline a clueless old couple.

5:19 PM  
Blogger meanhappyguy said...

A motorcycle buddy when I get back to Seattle?! Woot! Woot!

5:38 PM  
Blogger Ginny said...

Wal-Mart vests are bright BLUE, not ORANGE.

7:02 PM  

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