The K-Mart Mistake

Who still shops at K-Mart? My mom does. And apparently I do when my son needs a bike for his birthday. This post has absolutely nothing to do with farming, but it is necessary.

K-Mart evokes memories of yesteryear. Of orange stained glass and the smell of rotisserie hot-dogs. Why did K-Mart in the mid-80’s see fit to enshroud their deli in a casino-like enclave? I never went in there, but it smelled good, and you could never see the faces of the people enjoying red-dye fair hot-dogs next to their cart full of underwear and soap.

K-Mart today has none of its vintage flare. No deli. No blue light specials. Nowadays, it is this weird Sears-K-Mart hybrid thing, where you feel like the employees are on commission, but they aren’t, and Craftsman tools sit right across from laminate futons. It’s super weird. The employees are nice enough, but you kind of get this feeling like they are constantly comparing themselves to Team Wal-mart and remembering the fat checks their mom brought home selling color TVs at Sears in 1981. Or maybe they just lost to Wal-mart in the big box store softball tourney for the 10th year running.

We found a bike along with a few other goodies and headed to the checkout. The lady in front of us was doing a classic “Ring Up Throw Back”. This is the process of figuring out how much you have spent by using the cashier as a calculator. If what she rings up is more than what you have in your wallet, you pick something out and throw it back. Rinse. Repeat.

I don’t know how she was trying to pay, but whatever payment method she was using mystified the poor cashier. The cashier had to call the manager upward of three times to figure this one out. Was she bartering? I didn’t see any chickens in a crate. Whatever it was, it took a village to make the transaction.

While waiting, some dudes walked by cranking their modern-day boom box equivalent for all of us derelict K-mart shoppers to enjoy. They had no shame. Blaring slur after slur after slur. This wasn’t quality vintage Run-DMC, this was some Sir-Cuss-a-Lott 2011 disastrous excuse for music. I had to do something. So, at the suggestion of the guy standing in front of me, I sang a bar or two of Billy Ray Cyrus. The perfect counterbalance to iPhone filth.

Some weeks ago my wife and I, on separate occasions, went to see the same medical professional, each of us for completely different issues. Both of us, however, received the same diagnosis and treatment : allergies and nasal spray. In both cases, we were later referred to a “specialist” who gave us a completely different diagnosis and treatment. It was fitting, then, that right next to the nasal spray aisle I saw this medical professional in K-Mart. I would judge him with an “it figures he would shop here”, but I couldn’t. Because I too was shopping there.

To cap it all off, my daughter and I witnessed a woman approach the patio furniture section with her young son. She motioned to the toy section and told him “Go on! Git!”. He replied, “But mama what if I get lost?”. Her response? “You ain’t gone get lost just get on over there.” Apparently imported patio furniture shopping trumps child abandonment.

My daughter asked if we should call child protective services. My reply?

“No, this is just K-mart, sweetie.”

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