So the backstory is I’m heading to Death Valley for some camping this Veteran’s Day weekend and I wanted to pick up a new cooler and a couple of camping chairs. Though I’d planned on a lunch-hour run to the local Sportmart, in the paper this morning I found a Big 5 ad coincidentally selling the very type of chairs I’m looking for. Bonus: the nearest Big 5 is closer than the nearest Sportmart. Yay, right? Not so fast.
Leaving the dry confines of my cubicle I roll through the rain during my lunch hour over there to the Big 5 on Victory in Burbank, nearly deserted because of the weather. I beeline it straight to the camping gear and can’t find the advertised chairs. On top of that the coolers are stacked high enough up that they are out of reach and their pricetags are unreadable. Spotting a sales rep coming from behind the gun counter I walk over to show him the ad and ask where I might find the chairs.
Barely breaking stride he tells me “If we even have ’em they’ll be over there,” and lets fly a dismissive wave of his arm in a broad arc that could include not only the camping section from where I’ve just been, but also all points from Santa Clarita to the Salton Sea. Before I can even formulate the words “cooler” and “too high” in my brain, he’s over by the shoe section and gone. Gee, thanks.
So I return and look again. Nothing. There are camping chairs there that are very similar to the ones shown in the ad, except they’re $5 more than the ones on sale. “Eh, what’s five bucks?” I think as I begrudgingly shut off my internal bait-and-switch alarm and set a couple aside. As to the cooler, I gaze longingly upward at the neat stacks of storage goodness way up there and teasing me like so much large unattainable perfection. Looking around I’m not surprised to find no one either nearby or willing to — gawd forbid — providing a customer with help, so I pick up the two chairs and almost settle for them and a lone smaller-than-I-wanted-and-more-expensive cooler that was on the floor in front of the chair display… almost. Until I realize there is no fucking way I was going to buy anything from a store whose employees so couldn’t give a shit and who didn’t even have advertised products available (or the cooler I wanted within reach, dammit!).
So I left Big Whup without so much as looking back and proceeded straight to Sportmart where I should’ve gone in the first place. Not that their floor personnel isn’t as well-versed in making ithemselves scarce, but the chairs I wanted were there for the same price as the ones on sale at Big 5, and a bigger, better and cheaper cooler was within arm’s reach as well.