From The Archives: March 2009

Pickings

Not for long!

Not for long!

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!

I Can Smell The Chemicals

One of my son’s classmates, let’s call him Melvin, can’t get enough of science.  He dressed as bacteria last Halloween.  Speaks in hushed and reverent tones about molecules and gravity.  And when I found a wayward protractor and explained it to the class, he was the only kid that even tried to understand.

So, logically, without fail, every single day of this past autumn, he pestered his dad about the Holy Grail of kids’ science: the Chemistry Set.  And much to Melvin’s delight, come Christmas-time, Santa delivered on the goods.

However, a few weeks later, there was an unfortunate accident.

Initial reports were thin on details.

“Dad, did you know that Melvin dumped his chemistry set?”
“Well no, son, I didn’t, that’s a bad break.”

Then, the story began to flesh itself out.

“Dad, did you know that Melvin dumped his chemistry set, and it made a stain on the rug?”
“Dad, did you know that Melvin dumped his chemistry set, and his dad threw it away?”

From there began the chronicling of his father’s escalating anger, culminating at today’s breakfast, with a matter-of-fact statement:

“Dad, did you know that Melvin dumped his chemistry set, and his dad got so angry that his hair caught on fire?”

Good god!

Fortunately, Melvin deployed a tank of CO2 gas that he had previously distilled, snuffing the conflagration in an instant whilst simultaneously redeeming himself.

Hooray for science!