Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brick and Mortar Loses Again

I don't expect stores to carry every single weird item I want to buy; It's unrealistic because: 1. I'm a quirky fellow, and (B) a store is probably doing gangbusters if it carries 90% of what customers are looking for.

But boy did the stupid big-box stores disappoint this week.

Case #1. Buying an Aftershave at Target.

Target's a fine store, my daughter works for Target and we are both grateful that her employer is very flexible and willing to accommodate college students' schedules. But dang it, I drove all the way out to our Target on Wednesday morning -- rainy and slushy and mashed potato-y heaps of brown snow all over the roads Wednesday morning -- to buy a bottle of aftershave* listed at as "In Stores."

By "In Stores" they mean "Hey, you never know, you could luck out and your local Target might actually have this stuff on the shelf, but don't count on it."

A Target employee, a nice lady, did a stock check for me and found no evidence that the product had ever been in the store.

Irritated, but trying not to be, I walked across the street to another big-box store for my next pu

Case #2. Buying a Surround-Sound Test DVD at Best Buy.

Best Buy. Synonymous with home appliances, blue polo shirts, and Geek Squad-optimized batteries.

And home theater gear.

"Can I help you?"

Yeah, hey, I'm looking for a surround-sound demo disk. Something to exercise the system, confirm operation in Dolby AC-3, DTS, 5.1, 6.1 -- all the fun stuff."

"I'm sure we have that."

He took me to another fellow. I describe again what I was looking for.

"Any DVD or Blu-Ray with THX will do it."

No, I want something for testing different digital formats like Dolby, DTS.

He thought for a moment. Said they didn't have anything like that.

My shoulders sagged. I dug deep into my suitcase of fortitude and strength and proceeded.

Case #3. Clear Switch Plates from Home Depot.

Mrs Elliott had the living room repainted a couple of weeks ago, and we wanted to get rid of the stainless steel covers on the wall switches and electrical outlets, and replace them with clear plastic ones painted on the backside with the same color as the walls. I've done that in a few rooms of the house and it helps blend them in.

But Home Depot, the place where I bought the last batch, no longer carries them.

I can probably get them at Ace Hardware, I thought. But have I lack gruntle right now. So it's easier to grouse:

So, kids, what did we learn today? 

Timmy? Yes, that's right: shopping online won. 

* "Sex Appeal" by Jovan. Mrs Elliott likes it. That's good enough for


  1. Just another one of the penalties we pay for living in The Middle of Nowhere(TM).

  2. This isn't a Central Oregon thing.

    I got no better service from big box retailers in Southern Cali. The Home Depots, Best Buys, and Targets are everywhere. And there were no other options within a 50 mile radius, and none of these products are worth a 50 mile drive, no matter where one lives.

    It's no longer America, it's Generica, and all they care about is stocking 90% of what people want. This is official Home Depot philosophy, BTW.


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