Now that Christmas is over for this year I can talk about it.
A lot of people like the big discount stores. You know the type; the stores where you pay 50 bucks a year for the privilege of being asked by the guy at the front entrance if you really belong there.
Not me. That's why I have named all those types of stores Crazco. I picked that name because whenever I get dragged to one of them by my wife, Crazco is what I become.
Not long ago while spending some time in Salt Lake I was just sitting there in a comfy chair contemplating how long I would have to spend along the crowded Wasatch Front when my wife and a friend of ours suggested we take a break from the tranquility of listening to the freeway traffic and go to Crazco to get some good deals on food.
Now I had been in that store on three previous occasions and not one of them were happy times for me. The first was last summer and we were getting some warranty work done on tires on a friend's vehicle. As we walked into the store hundreds of shoppers were rushing in and out with shopping carts filled with stuff and kids. It actually looked like a scene from the beginning of one of those early morning after Thanksgiving sales that start at 4 a.m. Difference was is that this was at 10 a.m. on a sunny June morning.
After talking about this experience to some people here at the paper a co-worker of mine told me the best way to do it, if I had to go to one of these stores. She said make sure to go to Provo and do it on Sunday morning.
"My husband and I went there last Sunday at 11 a.m. and there was only one car in the parking lot," she said with the reassurance you often glean from a trusted parent.
I thought she had taught me a way to beat the system. The next time I went we tried a Sunday morning just like she suggested. Unfortunately it was conference weekend, so things weren't normal like they usually are in Utah County. The store was packed with people, many of them watching conference on those big screen televisions they have in the front of the place. It was once again insane. It didn't make me want to take my life or anything like that, but I sure thought about going out in the parking lot and filling my shoes with small sharp rocks and walking a mile to relieve the stress of the mess.
In the past I had been too cheap to buy one of those cards you need to get into the store and so we always went with a friend or relative who had one. Anyway that kept the option of going to that store too often down to acceptable limits. Then came the holidays and my wife announced that she had bought one of those membership cards to Crazco.
"Now we could go anytime we want," she said with a smile. And for her that meant that Saturday.
So the next Saturday while we were in Salt Lake we decided to go in and look around; you know buy a few little things. Big problem is that you can never get out of one of those stores without spending at least a C note. It doesn't matter that you might not have any money in your pocket or in your checking, there are always such good deals even the $30 overdraft fee on your checking account begins to sound like a bargain.
So there I was amongst screaming kids and even louder adults. The huge carts being pushed around the store seemed like ominous demons guided on their own in the search for ultimate dollar savings. The human beings that were behind them weren't really in control, they just thought they were. Once in awhile a scream could be heard over the din because someone's cart had run over someone else's. I knew about this. I have been the victim of these hit and run incidents. When it happens there are no cops to investigate the mishap and the pardon mes uttered after the damage is done become as meaningless as a guy with a kazoo at a Metallica concert.
Just as I was observing one of those bloody messes near the meat department, which I suppose was an appropriate place for it to happen, my wife spoke to me over the din.
"Look here," she pointed into the deep freezer case where they stack stuff deep and sell it cheap. "There are some of those chicken pot pies you like so much. And look at the price. These are really a good deal."
She picked two up and tossed them into the cart. Actually the carts at Crazco look more like barges they are so big.
As I saw the two round flat pieces of frozen dough and chicken stew bounce on the bottom of the cart I pictured weeks of eating chicken pie until I couldn't stand it anymore. The pies they sell there are not like normal pies. They are meant to feed Utah county sized families, not empty nesters like my wife and I. They are so big that I have been tempted to invite everyone from Carbonville over to dinner when my wife pops one in the oven.
Other than the raging crowds, that is my other biggest gripe. The size of things they sell in these stores can really be a hindrance, particularly if you are in need of a product right away. I know they sell it in bulk, and people like that because they can buy it so cheap. But lets face it, sometimes when I go in these stores I am in need of an antacid to calm down my stomach from all the excitement. In a regular store I could go to the checkout stand, buy a roll of Tums from the counter and have one right there. But in Crazco, I would have to lug up a big "bargain" bottle of 10,000 tablets from the back of the store, refinance my house to pay for it and then take it out to the car to open it.
Yes, it takes a lot of courage for me to enter one of those establishments. They say when you get older everything shrinks. For me that must include my ability to cope. Give me an R & A, Workmen's or Checkerboard Market any day.
They are more my size and temperament.