Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sam's Club (Blood Money, Part 2)

Months ago, Alma got a free Sam’s Club membership for work. Hmm, that’s cool, I said. I’ve never been to Sam’s Club. But I remember thinking: yeah, right. I’m never going to Sam’s Club. I’ve been to Costco once, and if I hadn’t thrown it away I’d still have that 20lb container of dried cranberries. Why in the world would I go to Sam’s Club, Costco’s white trash, cutthroat cousin, which doesn't even have the high quality merchandise and good employment record going for it?

But today, since I was out there anyway, I decided to finally get my temporary membership card made into the real thing and load up on diapers and the like. Man, the place is huge! The stuff they sell is so big they actually have giant shopping carts, too, the kind that usually come with rented moving vans. You need something that big to haul around the 20 pack of paper towels, the 30 pack of toilet paper, the giant crate of organic juice boxes, the massive blocks of batteries and all those other things you pick up because you figure, hey, with all this, look at the gas money I’ll save, since I won’t have to come back to this place for months! Even the box of trash bags I bought was so big it had its own handle built in.

At the checkout I commented how this was all new to me.

“Yep, it’s a great place to shop,” said the woman. “Around Christmastime you can get some great gift ideas, too.” Yep, I thought. Like 30 packs of toilet paper or five pounds of pears. I must admit, the place had me elated. It was like consumer heaven in the truest sense. Forget the electronics and other materialist trappings – I stocked up on stuff that would be actually be consumed.

Then I walked outside, pushing my finds, and literally came across two homeless people bundled in sleeping bags right by the store’s exit, where a little alcove helped block the wind. At least, I assume they were homeless. If they were intended to lure me back to snag some sporting gear on sale, they were the most depressing Wal-Mart greeters I’ve ever seen.

Needless to say, I immediately got sick to my stomach pushing my consumable , disposable crap right by them. And as soon as I got home, I donated $100 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Was it because I was feeling a little guilty? Of course it was. But sometimes you should feel guilty.


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