Wednesday, June 14, 2006

One stop shopping

One of the perks of being on the other side of the Atlantic: you can get just about anything you want (and lots of things you don't) anytime of the day or night. If you find yourself in a situation that leaves you scrambling for products that you need RIGHT NOW, damn it, your local pharmacy is just a short drive away. Yes indeed, the 24-hour drug store is one of the things I miss the most about living in the U.S.

Imagine, for instance, that you fly into a city in the southern part of the U.S. late on a Saturday night. You are visiting your boyfriend and his family for the weekend, and he picks you up from the airport. You haven't seen each other for several days, but your hectic, last-minute packing method leaves you unprepared for your impending reunion.

So what else would you do but make a midnight pit stop at Walgreens on the way home?

After stopping briefly to admire the 100% polyester Hawaiian mumus and plastic lawn gnomes, we proceeded to the "family planning" aisle, as it is known in the Bible Belt. The range and diversity of products was amazing. There were solutions to just about any kind of sexual dysfunction you could think of. For him, you could find "Mandelay" (read, Man Delay) and for her, there was a substance called "Finally." There was also a special gel for her "secret grove" as well as herbal family planning pills for the members of society that are wont to avoid Big Pharma. We decided to skip the herbal variant, and go with the tried-and-true latex version.

Giggling a bit, and hurrying home to make good use of our purchase, we rushed to the checkout aisle. I was momentarily distracted by the "bling bling" on display, because of course, I just couldn't live without small stick-on hot pink diamonds to accessorize my mobile phone (diamonds are, after all, a girl's best friend – even if they are pink and sticky). Steve shook his head and refused to buy me any bling bling, and I grudgingly turned to the cashier, who looked young and pimply-faced enough to still have a curfew.

"Do these things actually work?" I asked him, showing him the small cardboard box I had in my hand. "Is there a money back guarantee if it doesn't?" (Just for the record, I was actually inquiring about a box of hangover pills, which claimed to be the ultimate Hangover Prevention Systemâ„¢, rather than the product we had actually stopped to purchase).**

As we paid, the cashier gave a little nod, probably directed towards Steve.

"Y'all have a good time tonight," he drawled in his best Southern twang as we walked out the door towards the car.

Um, thanks.

All I can say is that good times were had by all.

**I can see the scenario now; a young mother with a screaming infant comes into the store to demand her money back. Does anyone know if Walgreens actually has a refund policy on family planning products if you came back into the store nine months after the date of purchase as long as you have proof that it failed? In this case, the evidence of product failure, in the form of a small elephant, would be very hard to deny.


Blogger Victor Tabbycat said...

Ace, the place with the helpful hardware man, actually realized that a customer buying a toilet plunger and a mop does not really want to be told to, "Have a nice day!"
A friend worked as a stocker at Target and discovered that even those latex products are available in bulk, if you know where to look.

1:18 AM  

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