A good buy and myself are peas in a pod. And last week, happenstance found me within sight of the local Circuit City liquidation sale. Bubbling hopes of bargains turned my feet store-wards. And, much like at the end of that cross-country trip that you can’t remember driving, I found myself inside.
What I saw there wasn’t pretty. Mountains of dingy, dinged, and dented merchandise, marked down a mere half-off of the bloated retail price, clinging to the racks like miscellaneous debris from a high tide. Random open boxes, hopelessly wounded, entrails dangling off of the shelves and onto the floor. Overhead, zombie hordes of unwanted Wii sports controllers, staring hungrily down upon the hapless shoppers.
I felt that I should leave. Then, as if on cue, a heaven-sent shaft of light beamed through the automatic front doors. It lit up a small patch of floorspace, where the retail fixtures and equipment, the meat of the operation, sat, tidy and largely untouched. Shelves, bins, signs, dollies, bulletin boards, labelling machines, and a myriad of other things, each somewhat alike its compadres, but also subtly, strangely different.
Of all the things I saw there, it was round trip totes - industrial-strength plastic boxes with lids, used to hold merchandise on the store room racks - that connected with me most. Sturdy, stackable, and four cubic feet a piece. As I lined up to purchase a ream of them, a curious man with a foreign accent queried me for the price. “Five bucks each,” I replied. After a few seconds of careful pondering, he offered a nugget of wisdom: “Many Uses.” Oh, so true, Confucius dude.
Another standout were the security gates – those store entrance towers that trip the alarms when pilferers pass. The discerning shopper’s for a mere $100 each. My thoughts drifted to years gone by. Imagine a set of those bad boys framing the front door to the pad, a shoebox full of magnetic tags, and “Party at my house!” Hilarity would have definitely ensued…
If the economic downturn is clouds, big box bankruptcies just might be the silver lining!