Shop at Mega-Mart and You'll Need Time and a Flare Gun
by Allen Delaney
A favorite dispute in Chesapeake County pits citizens who want new and larger Mega-Marts against those who are against the influx of the so-called Big-Box stores. It's back in my community again this year. If it hasn't come to yours yet, it surely will.
Those who want more claim that we should move forward so we, like other shoppers throughout America, can satisfy our primal consumer instincts by having the ability to purchase Rice-a-Roni and steel belted radials under one roof.
Those against predict that with more Big Boxes, roads will become elongated parking lots and small businesses will be forced out, thus pushing our national economy into an even deeper cesspool.
To gain an unbiased opinion regarding these super-stores, I visited my cousin, who lives in an undisclosed state, and took an early morning trip to the Mega-Mart she frequents.
As I entered the store a perky, smiling young lady handed me a small plastic bag. "Welcome to Mega-Mart, your one-stop shopping experience." she chanted. "Enjoy your visit."
"What's in the bag? I asked her.
"It's your Mega-Mart instruction guide. In the bag you'll find a map of the store showing the location of our red call buttons, a package of beef jerky, bottled water and a flare gun."
"Why do I need a flare gun?" I asked.
"Uncle Sam's requirements." she answered. "Last year we had a shopper lost for three days. We found him in the Home and Hardware section gnawing on a leather tool belt. That's why we had to include the water and beef jerky. If you get hopelessly lost, fire a flare directly overhead and we'll send a search team to find you.
My next question was, "Why didn't your lost customer use his map?"
"He misplaced it in Bed and Bath. What is it you're looking for today at Mega-Mart?"
I realized that I hadn't come to shop, just research.
"Well," I said, "I suppose I could use a pair of socks and some double-A batteries."
"In that case you'll want to take our free indoor shuttle if you want to be home by evening," she said, pointing to the map.
"Socks are in aisle YY738 and batteries are in B26. Lettered aisles run north and south and the numbered aisles run east and west. The socks are about three miles down on your right, past the indoor skeet range, and the batteries are on the opposite corner of the store about three and a half miles northwest of the petting zoo."
"It seems to take a lot of time to buy two items," I mentioned.
"Yes," she answered, "but your savings are substantial due to our tremendous overseas buying power."
I handed her back the instruction guide and told her that I didn't have enough time to buy two items.
As I walked back to my car she called out, "Would you like a coupon for a free ride on our indoor Ferris wheel?"
Delaney, who writes from Prince Frederick, is Bay Weekly's contributing humorist. He last reflected on "Adventures on the Home Front" [Vol. XII, No. 24].