My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Shopping logic

I must say, I seem to lack a lot of the basic social knowledge required to survive in the modern world. One must wonder why the Sierra Club hasn't blacklisted me yet.

My former English teacher, Ms. Sukalo, is in town for Easter this week (she now teaches in New York, so I don't get to see her often). Myself and a bunch of friends finally got to see her today; we met for coffee (well, I had iced lemonade) and caught up, talked, etc. 'Twas quite fun. Afterward, I had to drive my friend Cortney home. She lives in Kakabeka, so this basically entails driving along a single road until we got to Kakabeka, dropping her off, then turning around and going back home.

Driving in the dark is scary because it's so hard to see. Driving on the highway is scary because you're moving at speeds humans aren't, technically, supposed to be using. So, combine driving in the dark on the highway and you'll get an activity that I don't like very much. :D Suffice it to say, I think that it's crazy to hurtle around in a large metal object at dangerous speeds while similar large metal objects careen toward you at similar speeds. It's a recipe for disaster if I ever saw one.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with the title of this post or the anecdote I actually wish to relate. So, if you came here looking for something pithy about shopping and instead found a rant about driving, got fed up with my duplicity and told your assistant to screen the rest of the post, then this is the part where your assistant should call you back to read the rest of the post. Seriously.

What, you don't have an assistant? You mean, you've actually read the entire part of my post thus far? Wow. You're a trooper. Give yourself a pat on the back. No, go on; I mean it. There we go.

So anyway, my dad calls me on my way home and asks me to pick up a 9 V battery for the smoke alarm. As I come back into town, I stop at Shopper's Drug Mart for the battery. And I couldn't find it.

I swear, there must be some sort of innate "shopping logic" that people possess which allow them to navigate through large stores and find what they need, and I must lack it. The moment I enter any sort of store that has "aisles" and whatnot, I immediately get lost. The shelves loom over me like a badly-imagined post-apocalyptic sci-fi urban wasteland. The products that I want never seem to fall under any of the neat little categorical signs perilously suspended over each aisle on what may or may not be regulation fishing line. And of course, this late at night the store is on the graveyard shift, so there's no handy employee around to ask where the batteries are.

So I left Shoppers without any batteries and went to Safeway. Safeway is larger than Shoppers, although they have more descriptive labels and a larger staff. I still couldn't find the batteries. My brain was trying its best to send signals to my "shopping cortex", but the nerves just weren't firing. I have absolutely no clue how to find anything in a store--I don't even have the sense to grab a basket or a cart; I just load my arms up and waddle toward the checkout.

Luckily one of the staff directed me to where the batteries are hidden--er, I mean, stored--and I grabbed two 9 V batteries, as well as some jellybeans. A little reward for a hard day's work, after all. :D I paid and left.

That's my story. You can go back to doing whatever you were doing before a computer virus took over your Internet browser and forced you to read this. I am going to drink my tea, maybe eat a few more jellybeans, and go to sleep.

Beware the shopping logic. Those who have it take it for granted. Those who don't, like me, feel like misfits in this strange consumer-driven world, where what you buy says so much about who you are. Does that feel right?