I think we’ve all had the experience of re-visiting our grade school as adults and finding those vast halls have become miniature, with tiny desks and tiny lockers in tiny rooms. Logically, we accept that the building has remained the same size, and our perception must have changed because we got BIGGER.
So, it comes as a surprise now that – as part of our shopping experience- places we’ve frequented for years are starting to look so much bigger. Okay, we all shrink a bit over the years, but not enough to account for a reverse effect of the child-to-adult growth spurt. Again applying logic, our perception must have changed because we got OLDER.It’s not only the sheer distance from the front doors of the supermarket or department store to where we need to go that’s overwhelming, it’s also the time it takes to get there. I need a shopping cart for stability, and on lucky days some slob has left theirs right where they’d parked so I can grab that instead of trudging precariously the distance from even a handicapped space to where carts are kept. If Gwynne, my wife goes on ahead of me, she has a good portion of the things on her list piled in her arms, ready to be dumped in my cart when I finally get in the store.
Pride prevents the use of those motorized carts offered by some stores. After all, I’m not really all that “physically challenged” and don’t want to appear a wimp. Plus, the speed on those machines is fixed so low, probably in hopes of preventing bodily injury or property damage, that even I can likely walk that fast……….and not always available.
I bought a fancy carved cane a few years back, thinking it would make me look cool and dapper, but Gwynne kind of discourages its use. Apparently, it serves another function as a tool with which to point at things, and I’ve whacked her a few times. If forced to put it away in the shopping cart, chances are pretty good that’s where it will stay when I leave.
I’d like to bring up the perverse arrangement of items in these stores. Reportedly, beau-coup bucks have been invested in marketing research to come up with their configurations so that every store across the country is arranged in exactly the same way. No one has asked my opinion…obviously.
All the Walgreens in our area have pharmacies located in the back corner farthest from the entry doors. Ostensibly, this is so the drive-up window is at the rear of the store and customers don’t have to deal with parking lot traffic to get there. But, is this really a conspiracy? 1) It encourages use of that window to keep sick and decrepit people from sullying the bright and happy appearance of the store. 2) If these people insist on coming inside, they will have to pass every type of crap these “drug stores” sell and possibly spend more money. Think about it: cosmetics are right inside the front door, but any medical products are lined up on the back wall.
I prefer Rite Aid, since they obviously cater to the geriatric crowd. The pharmacy is in the front, even providing seating for more than 2 people if they must wait. Close by is the section with scooters, walkers, braces for various body parts, potty booster seats, shower stools, etc. etc. There are no 6ft. tall shelves, and common products my generation now uses, such as eye drops, digestive aids, dietary supplements, or Ensure, are all readily accessible instead of shoved on a bottom shelf in the corner.
At the front of our Ridley’s supermarket – and also the liquor department, soda aisle, snack aisle, and several end-aisle displays – I can buy potato chips. But, staples like milk and eggs require a trek of approximately half a football field. That could be perception again – I haven’t actually measured it. Candy and frozen pizza rolls are up front in eye-level displays, but something slightly good for you will either be at floor level (if you can bend down that far, good luck getting up again) or on a top shelf accessible only to people of above-average height. Little old ladies using a motorized cart could possibly stand on the seat to get up that high, but you’d think the store would discourage that.
Ever buy beer or wine at Walmart? It’s similar to the Walgreens pharmacy scenario: as far as possible to the rear o their gigantic store so 1) you have to REALLY want it and be physically capable of making the long trip back there and 2) you have to pass a million other products en route. Just in case you used the door nearest groceries, they diabolically intersperse displays of non-edible crap in your way.
Gwynne always tries to drag me along on shopping trips under the theory that it’s good for me to get out of the house. If I manage to overcome the dread (having considered the “issues” previously mentioned) it generally works out…but eats up most of the day and invariably necessitates a nap.