It isn’t really that much of a specialty item. You see, we live in an older apartment and three-pronged outlets were mostly reserved for kitchens the last time the place received any kind of upgrade. I’m not sure which century that was, but here in the twenty-first, we have lots of electrical toys, and of course, they come with grounding plugs. We needed an outlet for a device, but the nearest plug was yards away. Well, it seems that extension cords are now fire hazards, so you need to use a power-strip. Your typical power strip, as I came to learn, has a six-foot cord. (Although I said “yards,” I meant more than a couple.) So I drove to Best Buy. I can’t remember the last time I was in one. These “buy it large,” “consume excessively” kinds of stores aren’t really my style. I never believed the consumer myth, but I figured these large appliances must require surge protectors or power strips, right? And surely not all houses have conveniently located plugs.
I am neither a large man nor a fetching woman, but it became clear that I was practically invisible in the store. Trying to get the attention of anyone on the blue-shirted staff was impossible. Even walking right up to someone with purpose wasn’t enough. I did notice, however, that the blue shirts were fairly adept at helping the female clientele. Eventually I found the surge protectors, etc., in their aisle—up to eight feet in length. I tried for another 20 minutes to find help, but the kind of help I need, apparently, doesn’t come in bulk. Maybe on a couch. I went home and within minutes found what I needed on Amazon. I would have it in two days.
Bulk buying, in my humble opinion, is an ethical issue. I’ve stopped going to Home Depot, and even Staples and Barnes and Noble are final resorts. What I’m looking for can’t be found in such places. Besides, nobody wants to stop and direct a bearded, perpetually confused-looking guy. We live in a culture where worth is measured in comestibles and durable goods purchased in bulk. Those with the most buying power are the gods. I can’t even drive by Costco without a substantial delay on a Saturday morning. I don’t need very much to get by. Still, come to think of it, I could use a power source that is conveniently located. And perhaps, some day, a culture more interested in quality than quantity.