The Hess Report

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Raymond Babbitt knew it. We all know it. But still, it hurts...
In Part II of the "Roland hates crappy organizations who try to sell things" series, I discuss how K-mart sucks.

I needed several things. Oil for my van, a supplemental humidifier for my ground floor, a sympathy card and a matte for a picture frame. Wal-mart has all of these things. I believe that Target does, too. Any of the dozen shopping plazas in my area, as well. But K-Mart, specifically, a Big K(mart), is a mile from my house, all downhill, literally and figuratively. So I go there, and all that they have is the oil. That's it. Man, do they suck. I can see them no having frame mattes. That might be a bit upscale. But the other stuff is inexcusable. Are they not in the business of carrying general merchandise? How is it more important to sell eight different kinds of vacuum cleaners and fifteen different kinds of microwave ovens than even a single humidifier in the midst of the fall season? Just corporate stupidity, I guess.

So should I be complaining about the uselessness of K-Mart, or about my own laziness and my foolish ability to return to a store that time and again has proven its complete lack of ability to satisfy, simply because of its physical proximity to my home? That would mean criticizing myself. So I clearly won't be doing that.

I need to characterize K-Mart as a person to be avoided. Maybe that will help me to REMEMBER NEVER TO GO THERE, EVEN FOR THE MOST TRIVIAL ITEM THAT THEY CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE. If Target and Kohl's (the only two department stores that I can be inside and not despise) were people, they'd be like decent looking, well-behaved, tasteful coworkers with a nice work ethic, who have some useful skills. Wal-Mart would be the crass, messed-up smelly dude that no one can really stand to be around, but he's just so damned useful that they can't get rid of him. That guy has everything you could ever want in his trenchcoat! Kaufmann's, Sears, JCPenny, etc., well, they're the over-the-hill people who don't quite get what's going on. They're not unpleasant to work around, and I'll borrow a pen from their desk in a pinch, but I'm not looking for their help when there's a deadline. The other folks: Nordstroms, Macy's, Sax. They probably wouldn't talk to me, and I can't afford to go out to lunch with them anyway, so what's the point?

But K-mart. K-mart is this completely useless scab that's been around forever. He was kind of innovative, maybe even hip for a while, as in two weeks in the fall of 1973. But the thing is, he's everywhere. He's in your face where ever you turn. And he kind of talks a good game. He wears a trench coat like that Wal-Mart kid. And so you think, well, he's got to have something useful in there this time. But he never does. And you're always disappointed. At least I am. Maybe I need to place into my mental shopping calculus an image of the Rainman beating the living crap out of Kevin Smith in his trenchcoat from Clerks, shouting "K-Mart sucks! K-Mart sucks!" over and over again. Yep. That ought to do it.

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