i noticed (and Chris mentioned it the other day, so it must be getting obnoxious) that the aquarium is making a good deal of noise. on one hand, it is a peaceful waterfall fountain sort of melodious sound, which is good by itself, but means the volume has to get cranked up a bit whenever i’m watching a movie. the water level is a good 10+ cm low…not a big deal in a 45 gallon tank, there’s plenty left, but i do need to do something about it. i’d thought i was procrastinating since the jungle-like verdancy of the plants demands a big cull. oh, but no, as i remembered when i went looking for it, the slacking was due to the siphon having broken a couple of months ago.
and where do you go when you need little things like this? the fish store? hell no, they’ll charge me $25 for the basic cheapie model. i have no idea if target even carries basic pet supplies. oh, and i need paper towels, too…clearly, this calls for a trip to walmart.
in truth, i totally loved going to the big w when i was a kiddo. my little ponies most often came from there, after all, so maybe that has something to do with it. but in recent years, the whole shopping experience with them has become increasingly irritating. i can honestly say i’m in a bad mood every time i leave the place, but since i’m so deeply programmed to head there for household necessities, and since i just flat-out don’t go often enough to remind myself it sucks, i forget this massive annoyance each time. well, that and the fact that they did, indeed, have both my aquarium siphon and the brand of paper towels i like in stock, and for cheap. bastards sucking me in.
i’ve been on a clothes-buying kick ever since i went and savagely culled out the duds from my closet to donate to charity a few months ago, so i glanced at the offerings walmart had. there was a shelved table full of 3/4-sleeve, silky-soft, collarless 3-button tees with a little band of matching satin at the neckline in bright jewel colors that caught my eye. i tried one on, and lo! it fit nicely and was comfy to boot, so for the low-low bargain price of only 6 bucks, i snapped up one in black and another in a rich carribean blue. after grabbing the siphon and paper towels, i headed for the madhouse zoo that was the checkout lines. even the ‘less than X items’ lines were 8 people deep. and of course, when i got up there, my bargain shirts rang up wrong. “oh, no,” i said to the cashier at the now $9 charge, “these are on a table marked $6.” she looked at me like i’d announced an impending martian takeover of the store, gestured at the barcode on the tag, and said, “well, they ring up for $9.” “nope, $6.” after a huge sigh and then a look around the local vicinity that didn’t reveal anyone with managerial authority, she said, “ok, fine, show me,” as though daring me to be bluffing. and at that, she left another double handful of people standing in her line, bewilderedly staring after her as she moseyed off to the rear of the clothing section with me. when we arrived to a table full of the same shirts in different colors, with a foot-tall walmart sign declaring $6 affixed to it, she started flipping through the neatly folded piles. “well, none of these are marked with the price,” she said. i was too thunderstruck by her monumental obtuseness to contemplate pimp-slapping her until after she was safely back behind her register. and yes, i got my @#$ing shirts.
i’ll admit this isn’t my typical walmart irritation – i usually go through the self-check lines – but suffice to say, i was already testy when i got to the door. and of course, there was the poor sap checking receipts. once upon a time, this was a harassment they only did at sam’s, and for some reason it always disturbs my zen like nothing else. on more than one occasion, i’ve become borderline belligerent with the door-check-guy there, growling, “what is it exactly that i’m supposed to have stolen in the 10 barren yards from the checkout line to your door here?” well, sometime in the past couple of years, they’ve more frequently started having these receipt scrutinizing nazis at the egress of the local walmart, too. i always stash my credit card slips back into my wallet (yes, i’m that anal about it that i compare the sales slips to my monthly bill; it’s my version of balancing the checkbook), so they’re not exactly handy. i’ve found that if i confuse the hell out of the minion, i have plenty of time to sail on out of the store; the best way to accomplish this is to just smile and say, “no thanks,” while firmly walking forward (don’t slow down!) when they ask to see your receipt. today, there was yet another line to be waited in, as all the good sheeple presented their papers to the gatekeeper. screw that, i barreled on through the ‘in’ door and off to the car.
so, walmart, i’m just sayin’. it was fun when i was a kiddo, but now you’re making me all stabby. shape it up and chill out with the receipt-nazis, or i’m buying my paper towels at target. sheesh.