I hate shopping at discount clothing stores. I do it because I am, more than anything else, a cheap-ass, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. I went into Ross Dress for Less today with only two things to buy: V-neck undershirts and black dress socks. I knew where the socks were, so I decided to hunt down the undershirts first.
Pop Quiz Question #1: Can anyone tell me exactly which five minutes of the entire year Ross’s undershirt shelves aren’t a disorganized disaster?
There was absolutely no rhyme or reason to the way the undershirts were arranged. I’m pretty sure the display was put together by vandals. V-necks were mixed with crew-necks and tank tops. Medium size was mixed with XXL. Calvin Klein was mixed with Polo. Some of the packages were upside down, some were backwards, some were open or torn, and nearly all of them were presented in a way where you couldn’t see the size. You had to dig through and look at every single package to see if it was exactly what you wanted.
This can’t be an accident. I’m fairly certain that Ross has a Customer Impediment Program to make sure you never get what you want without a lot of work and frustration. If Ross employees see you heading towards a display that some bonehead rookie employee accidentally actually organized, they’ll distract you momentarily while another employee runs ahead of you and firebombs it. “Death before Customer Satisfaction” is their motto. There could be stern warnings from management:
Manager: “Suzie, I heard a rumor that about twenty minutes ago a customer in Men’s Undergarments almost found what he was looking for.”
Employee: “I’m sorry! I swear it will never happen again!”
Manager: “If it does, you'll be updating your resume.”
So, after digging for what seemed like two college semesters and inspecting every darn package, I found exactly zero V-necks in my size. It’s just as well, because I’m fairly certain if I would have found one, an employee would have leapt from behind the Ties and Belts display and squirted mustard on it, then dematerialized into thin air before I could complain. Since I was not going to wait in a long checkout line just for the socks (Ross apparently has about three cashiers in the entire state of
Pop Quiz Question #2: What store do you think I, utilizing the common sense of spackle, chose next? (Hint: It’s a place you can buy a plasma TV, eggs, new tires, a haircut, Pop Tarts, and a family portrait, all after being greeted by a genuine dead person.)
That’s right: I went to Super Wal*Mart. Surely a store so big that it probably has its own military force would have V-necks in size XL. Thankfully, it did, along with everything else on my list of crap to buy. What a relief! I got all I needed in one place and all I had left to do was wait…in…line. HOLY COW. Where in the heck did all those people come from? Every register had a hellacious line in front of it. I needed binoculars to see the actual cashiers. I tried to pick a fast line, and ended up settling on a spot behind a man and his seven-year-old son.
Pop Quiz Question #3: With all the lines at a bustling Wal*Mart, how adept do you think I am at picking the fastest one?
If you answered anything like “pretty good”, you are, no offense, even stupider than I am. I picked the slowest line in Wal*Mart history. I think, at one point, we were moving backward. As I looked out the glass doors, I saw the sun go down and then come up again. I saw seasons change. I noticed the seven-year-old in front of me now had a full beard and was calling his wife. Tumbleweeds were blowing by. I turned around to see shoppers steering their carts around the decaying corpses of the people in line who just couldn’t make it.
But I did make it. And by golly, I may be receiving Social Security checks now, but I am going to wear these damn undershirts and socks while doing it.