Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quick Note: Holiday Edition (Also Mis-Adventures in Bargain Shopping - Christmas Edition 1)

So, you might have noticed a lacking presence here the past couple nights and that was (mostly) an accident and I do apologize for that.  I planned on one night, but I've had family over the last two nights and it's just a little difficult to find computer time when you're expected to host and entertain others, you know?  At the very least it gave me the fodder for at least one other post which will likely be posted up an hour or so after this one, meaning you've got something to look forward to at the very least.  And also, this should be the last 'vacation' I take unless I end up with another unplanned one, which I am hoping against all hopes won't occur for obvious reasons.

I don't know about you guys, but I've certainly been feeling the holiday season start to really settle in.  I'm not quite sure if it's just because we've put up the Christmas Tree, if it's because I've had the first candy cane of the holidays, if it's because I've already spent a bit getting some gifts, if it's just plain getting colder or any number of other reasons, but I've finally felt that....well, feeling that tells me it's almost Christmas.  And it's a wonderful feeling, I assure you.  Even if Christmas isn't your favorite holiday, I'm sure you have one and know roughly the same feeling, so I figure you can see what I'm getting at here.  Suffice to say, it's finally a good time to be had.

Of course, it's not all good times, as the shopping has been fresh sets of hell that I've not ever seen before, that I can only hope makes for a good story if nothing else.  I can regale you all with the lovely tale of how the local grocery chain decided it was just a fantastic idea to have a Holiday sale that was based off the credit you accrued from purchases made in the previous month.  On the surface, this doesn't sound so bad, of course, but it gets better; the sale only lasted for four days.  What's even better is that it only applied to the specialty items (toys, furniture, etc.) in the specialty versions of the stores (the ones that carry a broader range of products, more like a superstore than just a grocery store) despite the fact that most of the 'regular' stores have...only slightly less product.  I would know, I was exposed to both types of store after all.

Now, the particular store in question, the specialty store we went to is one we've been to before and I hadn't even considered how much of a potential pain it could be to navigate if it were ever crowded.  This was the first fatal flaw, you see, because when I went there on the first day of the sale (which was also the first of the month, which is apparently when a lot of folks get government money) I went in to discover first off that there were absolutely no carts in the building.  Well, in the entrance at least, because the bulk of them were apparently in the parking lot at the returns or, more prominently, being used.  I don't know if you've ever considered it, but take a look at the cart center the next time you go into a grocery store and think of how bad the store would be if more or less all of them were being used.

I'd only intended to get a couple things for members of the family, predominantly younger ones, so I headed off to the meager toy section to look for a few items that'd been featured in the ad.  In what was basically a single aisle (left and right side) split in half and put next to one another (two half-aisles, wasn't sure if the terminology would fly if I just threw it out without a description) there were about twenty people with carts crammed throughout its short/small area.  It was nothing short of a wall of bodies that lived and breathed purely to cause me frustration and rage, as was every single person running the store at the time, apparently.  There was only a token effort to expand the meager selection of toys in the form of a display that had them stacked about it, and that was picked mostly clean already.  Mind you, I went to the store around 10 AM if not earlier and once again, this was the first day.

It took about twenty minutes of lingering about before the throng of people dispersed and I could rush in to grab at something, anything to buy that I'd wanted.  Most of the items were, of course, completely gone, I didn't manage to find anything but a transformer that was not priced at all, which led me to discover that the price checking devices weren't working because why would they be, which led me to toss it back on the shelf where it had been.  After grabbing a few things from the grocery store part of the store (which was strangely normally populated, no more than usual), I headed to the checkout....just as apparently everyone else decided to as well.  Or, rather, just after everyone else had decided to.  It was a painful wait, obviously, and the checkout was less than pleasant as, between the cashier who informed me that I needed to use the credit I'd accrued within the sale days (despite me informing her the shelves were picked clean) and the two managers and/or customer service people who stood next to the bagging area and simply talked until I started bagging my own things, everything just went in the most infuriating way possible.

The conclusion to the story that went on longer than I intended it to go is that the credit did get used, but not for presents, but rather for things for my parents.  The toys, I had to get elsewhere of course, as the second trip to a different version of the store was only slightly more pleasant, but even moreso fruitless as there were literal bare shelves for at least 60% of the toy section.  But at the very least, there was a toy -section- rather than a single aisle, which is about all I could say to the credit of this other store.  Still, the shopping was done and I only have a few other things that will assuredly be easier to pick up and then I'm done buying, which will be a grand feeling.  As is realizing that I intended for this post to be a tiny one, and then side-tracked into a Mis-Adventures in Bargain Shopping discussion.  Happens sometimes, but I'm not complaining.

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