Club is the bulk discount version of Wal-Mart, America’s ubiquitous general store. It’s generally everywhere, that’s why. It’s a huge warehouse full of mostly garbage that nobody really needs, essentially. I visited it this morning Feb 8. I go there because I got a $4 membership last year, and their croissants are better than BJs’ (I know..nothing could be better than BJ’s, right?). I got some fruit and some dairy and some eggs, which were half the price than the last time I bought them. There was a self driving cleaning machine wandering up and down the aisles. It beeped continually and stopped slightly, almost politely when I passed it. I guess it’s sensors saw me. I’ve probably been scanned for a database, I’m sure. Anyhoo, I self checked out and headed up the parking lot for Wal-Mart proper. Sam’s didn’t have all the things I wanted, so I had to make an extra diversion in my shopping quest. As I walked up to the front entrance I could hear, blaring from the speakers which were atop giant poles, a song which at once sounded familiar, but was being sung by a different voice than I was used to. It was a cover version of a popular song. I can’t for the life of me, remember what it was.
I walked through the front entrance and then through the cattle bars that are within the store, to get access to the things that they were selling. This ‘gate’ was a new thing. I imagine the thieving that is going on now, necessitates this. Why else would it be there? It really looks like something that belongs on a farm to keep animals in. As I looked around for the things I wanted, there was a passing parade of what I can only call freaks and misfits. I didn’t feel like I even belonged there. It was like visiting an alien planet. The dreadful sound of one of Paul McCartney’s shittier songs wafted down from the ceiling. “Please don’t leave today”, I think the lyrics were. I wanted to leave right then and there, but I still didn’t have what I came for. Finally, after a lot of exploration of most of the store, I had the three items that I came for in my hand. I couldn’t carry anything else anyway, since Wallyworld doesn’t supply baskets, so that was it. I checked out my goods, again thankful that the very convenient plastic bags that had multiple uses, and did far less damage to the ‘environment’ (if any) than the tonnes of plastic wrapped, covered, smothered and overly packaged, useless shit that continues to be sold there, were absent. Thank goodness for progressives, I thought. Life is too easy, what other practical and useful things can we remove from our lives to save the planet?
As I exited the place into the parking lot, the sky was an anemic shade of blue, with gray clouds scattered about. A cold wind was blowing. The sound of Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra from the tinny, high tower speakers, underscored this dystopian scene.
“Hello, how are you? Have you been alright?
Through all those lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely nights
That’s what I’d say, I’d tell you everything
If you’d pick up that telephone, yeah yeah yeah..“
People stared at their cellphones, in the store, in the street, in their cars. As I drove back over the bridge that goes over the Hudson River, I saw what looked to be a prison bus in front me. It was filthy. It looked like it hadn’t been washed since new. The windows were all blacked out. It took off at 90 miles an hour, and disappeared into the distance…