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Friday, August 18

How Unfortunate... I Found Walmart

The Walmart is disguised here. But I found him yesterday afternoon. Wearing cheap fake glasses and a mustache, he was. I was on the hunt for special scissors for my Ikebana class. I left the gates and took a left down Rt. 16. I had seen these massive stores before but never was sure what one could purchase inside.

Into the first store I went, after driving into their maze of a parking garage. (They park on top of the stores! In levels! I fear the number of people I will find inside.) The place was called Ave (pronounced ah-vay) and it turned out to be one giant grocery store. Of course, I don't have a house so I don't need fresh produce just yet so instead took the opportunity to wander around and check it out. They have everything! It's like the warehouse of a grocery store. Of course, I still don't recognize much of the food as it is written in Japanese but at least the prices here are in number form. Should make groceries quite interesting in the near future. I did found one heck of a wine section. See... must keep priorities straight at all times... am so smart like that. Can't wait to buy up that section, particularly the bottles in Japanese that I can't read but do have grapes on them so I am guessing they actually do make a red wine I am used to and not just the sake rice wine.

I was in this store for about fifteen minutes. It was packed the entire time I was there but the only person that ever acknowledged my existence (and people were watching me, just pretending not to) was the only other American in the store. How do I know that? She was blonde too and had two screaming children trailing her. Japanese children do not scream in public from what I have seen. Just sit quietly and intently until they are requested to speak. So see? I know she was American. We couldn't care less if our child was bellowing at the top of their lungs in public as long as we can tune them out.

Tired of the staring, I left and drove down the street to the next parking maze.

This garage was in a place called Livin. I made careful note of where I left the car this time because I was quite certain I would never see it again. In the middle of the rooftop garage, I found the store entrance. I memorized the miniature statue of girls in kimono, again thinking that I may never see them again and I never even took the time to get to know them. Down the escalator I went, dropping bread crumbs with every step.

Walking into the store as if I had purpose, I found myself in housefold goods. Or kind of. I have noticed that department stores as we would call them back home are a bit unusual here. On this first floor I entered of Livin, I found multiple departments as they would call them but we call them stores. For instance, I found Claire's. Yes, the place with all the chintzy jewelry back home. Here it was in the middle of the floor without walls, just like another department in the store. But if you want to purchase something from there, from as far as I could tell, you have to pay for it there. Then they tape your bag together and you can go to the next department and buy something there and get another taped bag. On and on it goes. But some departments are not so clearly distinguisable and are more like how in Hecht's, Ralph Lauren and DKNY are housed in the same area but you wouldn't have to pay for your DKNY only at the DKNY counter. Here I think you would. Of course, no one dares talk to me so this is all guessing. But I am fairly certain I have it correctly. Okay, maybe only slightly. It doesn't matter! What matters is that it is just different and that's all I'm trying to say. I walked through all the departments I could find and found some American selections and some Japanese. Each department within the department store was pretty clearly marked with what it was. And this is why I think Walmart has reared its ugly head... while staring at the different signs, I swear I saw a Rollback sign circa Walmart 2006. I didn't think much of it at first but when I swung around to find it again, I couldn't figure out where I saw it. But I swear those horrible Walmart execs are somehow involved and will eventually cause this country's demise just like they have done back home to our beautiful land and ruin yet one more poor, small business owner!

*ahem* I'm okay now.

I was there about an hour before I decided to try to find my car. But it seems that someone ate my bread crumbs. When I finally got back to the hotel, I have made a vow to myself that next time I take someone who has some directional sense or at least someone who won't get lost on the escalator. Tricky, tricky.

Guess I will have to find someone soon though. Because I forgot to buy my scissors.


Lisa said...

Getting lost in a parking lot? You? Never!!! Ok - maybe the time we were in North Carolina (when Dad was working down there) and we got lost in the McDonald's parking lot was an indication of future incidents....

Kimono Karen said...

Ohhh... that was so bad. But by far one of the funniest things to happen to us. Remember how we spent all of our money to eat then getting a locksmith to come out and unlock your dad's rental car and then telling him we just ate really big meals and that was why we were out of money? So stupid, we were.