Pop-culture: November 2008 Archives

Our version of a theme park

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Bulk stores fascinate me endlessly. Sundays after church we sometimes stop by Sam's to pick up a few things we need in bulk. I've made this argument before: why buy a box of 24 tampons when you can buy a box with a large enough quantity to outfit a small Midwestern town?

We eat lots of raisins, yogurt, and fruit, and can easily go through a massive batch of it in a week, so we get those things at Sam's. I also love how I have the option of purchasing a faux-fireplace, deer blinds, and economy size bottles of Frank's Red Hot Sauce. Going to Sam's is our version of going to the amusement park. It's free and they give you free food in the form of samples offered by the Sample Ladies scattered all throughout the store.

One afternoon while I was at a baby shower, Chris took the boys to Sam's to get gas and buy toilet paper. They spent the next hour wandering around the store, trying different samples of food, and basically made a lunch out of it. They took video of themselves on Chris's Centro and sent it to me. They do this so often that they are now recognized by the Sample Ladies, as I learned during Sunday's trip.

"Oh, hi, W," Liam said to an elderly woman in an apron and hairnet who was offering samples of some sort of Hot Pocket.

"Hello Liam," she replied. "Care to try?"

"Is it the same thing you had last time?"

"No, that was the pot pie. This is different."

"Oh, okay. Yes please."

Sometimes Sam's even has entertainment, as with the nice older gentleman with a belly laugh who did a quasi-Pirelli and gave a presentation on steel knives next to the spice aisle. Cris and Liam stood identically with their arms crossed and watched with the small crowd.

This past Sunday also marks the first time any of us has ever purchased an item of clothing at the retailer. They always have clothes splayed out on tables in the middle of the warehouse; it reminds me of the bazaars in the Bahamas. Chris, who believes it's fashionable to buck the dictates of fashion, owns only two pairs of jeans (and three pairs of pants total, including his dress slacks). One pair has given out and he needed to replace them. He was drawn by the rainbow of washes and brand names on the table, and spent a good 20 minutes searching for his size.

"You know," he said to me over a pair of faded Calvin Kleins, "I think it's really cool that I can get my jeans where I get my food but at the same time it also freaks me out to buy jeans where I get my food."

"I understand that. It would be hard to be the master of everything."

We paid for our purchases and I again got all flustered because I always feel like I'm being judged when I lay my life-in-products out on the conveyor belt. From this week's haul it looks like all we do is eat yogurt, fruit, menstruate, and like $20 Calvins. The guy behind us had two boxes: one diapers, the other was a knife set from the Pirelli man. Make your own assumptions.

As we loaded up our vehicle with our mass quantities I looked around and saw other families doing the same, loading up purchases fit for a bunker. We drove home feeling very American.

(This isn't a sponsored post, just so you know. I'm emphatically opposed to those. I simply dig the store.)

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I've gotten a lot of email about the Motrin situation and the title of my website; we're aware of it, no, it wasn't sanctioned and I'm not affiliated with them, and yes, as someone who wore both of her children, I found it pretty inconsiderate - even more so concerning what they chose to call their campaign.

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