Saturday, July 22, 2006

Shiny New Supercenter

Place: Buffalo Wild Wings
Lunch: Ribs & Tenders, buffalo chips

Fourteen different sauces and they don't have Ranch? Oh, they DO have Ranch? What? I have to pay EXTRA for it?!?

A shiny new Wal-Mart Supercenter opened on the west side of the metro this week. The whole west side has had to share a Wal-Mart for the past decade. A really crappy, dirty, cramped Wal-Mart.

It opened in the early 1990's as a regular Wal-Mart and later remodeled into a Supercenter. It's the busiest Wal-Mart I've ever seen...there's more people in there at three in the morning than most Targets at three in the afternoon. The "traditional" part of the building is pretty much the same as it was before expansion. Lots of merchandise packed into narrow aisles. Anything requiring staff assistance is handled slowly. I once was quoted a half hour for getting tires installed and left five hours later...the tire department guy refusing to even look at me the whole time. The seafood counter was never regularly manned. People working in the bakery would repeatedly be heard on the intercom calling for somebody to help the line of customers at the seafood counter...a problem they solved by getting rid of the seafood counter completely. Checkout lines were always understaffed, which Wal-Mart is apparently trying to solve by phasing out human checkers in favor of self-checkouts. Self-checkouts that don't work very well (and I've used self-checkouts at other Wal-Marts without problems). The property is, for all intents and purposes, an island. Their parking lot is accessable via a bridge entry from the main road or you can sneak through a path between two strip malls north of the neighboring Sam's Club. Either way ends up at the same two-lane four-way intersection. Don't even get me started on that. What are they going to do about that? Get rid of the parking lot? And don't even get me started on the customers. I have no idea where they come from but you don't see them anywhere else around town. Maybe they just inhabit the store full-time. That would certainly explain the foot traffic.

So I've traveled twenty miles to the other side of the metro for my Wal-Mart needs for the past few years.

Not anymore.

The new store has easy access, wide aisles, and not a single self-checkout in the building. And most of the hypocritical snobs who live there and complained about Wal-Mart coming in at all seem to be shopping there now.

Based on what I see in the parking lot of the other store, they're just as busy as ever.

Fine with me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

School No Way

Place: Taco Bueno
Lunch: Combination platter (Bueno Chilada, taco, rice, beans, chips), chicken taquitos, more tacos, water

It sounds like a lot of food, and it was. But it's not my fault. I didn't order the extra tacos. The girl who made the order must have misread "taquitos" as "tacos" (the taquitos come in pairs) and made two tacos. Then she realized her error and made taquitos. Then she just gave me the tacos because...well...they were made. And I just ordered the taquitos to try them. Really.

But as they say in the's more bueno. So I ate everything. Yes I did. And the taquitos came with a cheese dipping sauce, which I mixed with hot sauce from the salsa bar and poured on the chips. That plus the guac and sour cream that came with the platter equaled some TASTY nachos.

We are roughly halfway into what's known as "summer vacation" for the school going folk. I hated school. Absolutely hated school. Particularly from the fourth grade forward. And to this day, I hate back to school sales. I CRINGE when I see them.

Sunday, I saw the first back to school sale of the year. Wal-Mart, running a campaign called "School Your Way", has rolled out the glue and crayons.

Kids have barely been supporting the local pools a month and a half and Wal-Mart is trying to usher them back to math books, bullies, and homework (because teachers aren't smart enough to teach kids in their own alloted time. They have to cut into their personal life as well.)

Does anybody at any school age even USE glue and crayons now? I'm pretty sure even kindergarteners have gotten so computer savvy, they can type better than high school typing students could 20 years ago.

Back to school sales should be outlawed until the last weekend before school starts.

Which in these parts is a week too early anyway.