The slowly oozing slab of homogenization has crept up on us and will soon engulf our cityscapes. Some people haven't noticed or are not mindful of this phenomenon, others have embraced it with open arms.
I am not going to indulge in a geezer-rant, or bemoan the passing of the so called good ole days. Good ole days are now, it's what you make of them. It's just that there are places that are so odiously soul-sucking, that I absolutely refuse to go to these vile monuments to undiluted capitalism.
As I acrimoniously denounce these places, I am often greeted by blank stares of incomprehension, puzzlement or the stares usually reserved for crazy old men that rant on the street or have argumentss on broken pay phones.
Some of you may or may not understand or agree, but I will elaborate. In the internet age with it's widespread and immediate dissemination of information, defamation is inevitable. Large corporations and their armies of lawyers are always on the lookout for lunatics, so at the risk of getting sued big time, I will alter the names. Hopefully I won't need a lawyer and you won't have to visit me in jail on cigarette day.
1. Future Shlock.
Not having anything I need or want, I rarely venture into theses warehouses of plastic crap. When I do it's to ply some unsuspecting sales clerk with subterfuge and await the ensuing hilarious made-up answers.
To put it bluntly, nobody knows fuck-all in there. As soon as I walk through the doors, I am greeted by some pie-eyed greeter who's insincere tone is so transparent that they might as well say " Howdy, sucker".
As I walk through the gargantuan space, I am bewildered by an array of packaged crap, most of their intended uses lost upon me.
I am followed around by some pimply faced teenagers all wearing the same clothes asking me what brought me to the store today.
They don't want to know what I want, they are drooling at the prospect of selling me an extended warranty.
Audio stores used to be specialty shops where all the employees were gurus. You could get all the technical info that you needed and could buy speakers the size of a mini van.
Every time I go there, the only response that comes to mind when these brain washed automatons pester me is " Boy, I gotta stereo at home that could blow up this whole store".
It seems that every time I blink there's a new one of these opening up. There is even a prominent corner in this town that has two of them kitty corner from each other.
Upon entering, the oppressive and contrived atmosphere, it hits me like a brick. The faux-aristocratic setting and the cheesy strains of music that passes for jazz makes me wonder why anyone would want to hang out there.
The staff all seem like they are on prozac, and their fake white-bread smiles give me the creeps. I'm sure the wages are shit, so I ask myself what the hell they are so happy about.
Not speaking fake pseudo-Italian, I just order a medium coffee. That seems to throw 'em off for a few seconds, but I eventually get my coffee.
As I wait for my order, that ersatz den decor starts to make me uncomfortable. I hurry as I try to add cream and sugar, distracted by all the jugs of soya-milk and half soya-milk and the three varieties of sugar.
As I hurriedly make my exit and take the first sip, it dawns on me that this shit sucks.
3. Severed Elevator
The only reason that I can think of for the proliferation of theses abominations, is that urban rents are becoming to expensive for mom and pop corner stores.
Oh, the pure hell of going into one of these places. There are enough fluorescent lights to rival a nuclear blast. If you enter at the night, the resulting contrast is sure to permanently damage your retinas.
The absolute sterility and lack of background music only contribute to making this experience as unpleasant as possible.
It then dawns on me that I am yet again surrounded by crap. Crap that some people thrive on.
As I wait in the interminable line up to pay for my overpriced quart of milk, I feel my blood pressure rising. The over-worked clerks have to contend with lottery freaks, serve flaccid hot dogs and pallid pizza, dig up bus passes and watch for shoplifters.
As they ring up the 80 bucks worth of junk food that includes a paper bucket containing some kind of slimy shit, they simultaneously fill out an endless array of forms.
By the time my turn arrives at the till, I am reaching levels of anger bordering on apoplexy.
Having spent nearly 20 bucks for milk and sugar only reinforces the certainty that I have been thoroughly hosed.
I have also learned to not go there when I am hammered, because I sometimes end up buying one of those 8 dollar bum-sandwiches. Bad idea.
4. Gnome Repo.
Used to be a time when a man would go to a hardware store and spend hours contemplating his next project. The grizzled ex-construction guys working there could help you figure it out.
As I enter this large space seemingly devoid of any employees, I am distracted by the constant pages on the P.A.
I wander aimlessly through the aisles, trying to understand the haphazard arrangement as I pass rows of lamps and curtain rods.
When finally locate a clerk, I will ask him where the hammers are. "Muh?" is usually the response I get. I will repeat slower, " Haamm-mmers" while making a hammering motion with my right hand.
I give up and eventually find the hammers on my own. Unfortunately, I also need some nails and will have to go through the thousands of little packages. When I locate the nails, they come in tiny packages of twelve. I have to back to the entrance a get a basket.
When I am ready to leave and go to the checkout , I am confused, as there is no check out.
The first time I encountered this, it took me about ten minutes to figure out that I had to check myself out. "What the fuck?" I remember thinking.
I finally caught the attention of one of the employees and told him that I'd be damned if I was gonna check myself out.
The ensuing tirade almost caused them to call the cops. I paid for my hammer and nails and spent the rest of the day trying to open those plastic packages. Shoulda bought an x-acto, but I'd probably still be there trying to find it.
5. Ike Seeya
I got dragged to this place by a friend who needed help. I now know what a rat in a maze feels like, because I wanted to get the hell outta there, but couldn't find my way.
The devious planners of these stores make sure that you have to walk through every square inch of floorspace before you are allowed to leave.
After reading all the bizarre names given to the items for sale. you begin to feel that you are watching a bad foreign movie with no sub-titles.
When you do locate the item you are looking for, you have to write the name down on a piece of paper with a little, tiny pencil.
It usually takes about 30 minutes to finally spell "Crappenooglysheety" , but it ain't over yet. Oh no, my friends, far from over.
You have to make your way downstairs, but before you get there, you are led to a cafeteria that sells Swedish meatballs. You don't know how long you have been wandering around in there, days maybe? There are no windows so it's hard to say for sure. All you know is that you are hungry now, you will eat those Swedish meatballs.
You are corralled into a large warehouse and you have to search for "Wherederfukkenisit" yourself. Hey wait a minute.. that shit is in a flat box!
You have to assemble it yourself. You must first load the "Pressenwoodturd" onto cart and get into the long line up at the till. You will develop an uncontrollable urge to buy a big bag of tea candles.
You lug it out to your car and haul it up the stairs. Now is the fun part.
There is a bag with instructions in 65 different languages, funny looking fasteners that you have never seen before and some other items that you can only assume to be tools of some sort.
Much cursing will follow.
After your sixth beer, it dawns on you that this will be way easier without instructions, as you angrily toss them.
Once you have finished your twelfth beer, you look back with pride at what you have accomplished.
Then it dawns on you; that was a lot of work for a 50 dollar "Yougottenhosen" bookshelf.
I could go on, I will conclude with one thing, I don't want no shiny jeans or glittery t-shirt.