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String: That Rare, Specialty Product

I was going to rant about Costco (aka Two Hundred Dollar Club) here, but had an experience this morning that altered my target. So my wife asks me to buy some twine so she can set up a banner at my kids’ school for their end-of-year celebration. (Yes, EVERY grade now gets one of those. I remember when I “graduated” from fifth grade: “Hey kids, school’s out for the summer.” “Thanks, bye!”) Anyway, I figure this task can’t be too hard, right? It’s twine, for Pete’s sake. If they’re out of twine, I’ll get string. An everyday, household product right up there with light bulbs and Elmer’s Glue. So I hit my local Starbucks, grab my coffee and walk into the local grocery store. (I recall as I walk in that I didn’t need to stop by my Starbucks, because there, inside my local store, is a fully functioning Starbucks cannibalizing the sales of the “normal” Starbucks 50 yards away across the parking lot. But I digress...) So I walk into the store and go to the household goods aisle. Elmer’s Glue. Light Bulbs. Hangers. Hooks. Extension Cords. No twine. No string. Ah, I think to myself, try the cookware aisle, since cooks have been known to truss birds with string and twine. Admittedly, “trussing” a bird has become a lost art and string or twine may only be a seasonal item on the cooking aisle come Thanksgiving, but let’s give that a shot. Nope. Walk up to a couple of helpful store folks and say “String?” Which elicits blank, curious, puppy-dog stares and tilts of the head, as if they are trying to get their minds around the language I am speaking. “You know,” I say, moving my hands and fingers in a tying action and unable to come up with a better definition than simply repeating myself, “string?” “Uhhhh, did you try household . . . .” “Yeah,” I say, cutting them off. “Home Depot?” the other offers. Oh, for Chrissake.
Another 50 yards away is the CVS Pharmacy. But “pharmacy,” as you all know, is a misnomer, as CVS, Walgreens and all the rest have become the replacement for the frontier general store. Can’t find that odd last minute item (like string)? Try the pharmacy. So I do. Down the household goods and hardware aisle. Nuthin’ Noonan. Cookware aisle? Nice try, string-demanding loser. (Who uses string anyway? What is this, the 19th century?) Go to the front. Ask the nice lady, “String?” Head tilt, stare. “Home Depot?” she offers. Since when do I have to drive to a warehouse to find an item that, no doubt, if I dug out the junk drawer in my home or any of my neighbors’ I would find. There must be no money in string. It must be one of those products now available only online to those looking to preserve the things grandma used to cherish, like macramé or knitting. Or news printed on paper. And that’s when the minds of the helpful lady at CVS and me cross: “Michael’s?” she offers. Michael’s is a chain of craft stores, like Hobby Lobby. OMG. Nope, not gonna do it. The wife will have to figure something else . . .wait a minute. Zip ties. I got a hundred of them in the garage. They’re better than string. Or twine. So I go home, whip out the zip ties and become a hero. Which I figure only proves the point that the store doesn’t carry string, because no one, even me, ever needs it. ‘Cept I am left to wonder one thing: how the hell am I gonna get the zip tie around the turkey’s legs this Thanksgiving? I’ll need to watch a couple of episodes of Cops to see how they do it.
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