Happy Holidays!


Ah, the holidays always bring out the “best” in everybody.

We made a quick stop at our local Dollar Tree for some stuff we needed. As usual, we ended up with more than we had come for and spent much more than the name of the store implies.

Anyway, at checkout, there was a guy arguing with the cashier about his lost receipt. Apparently he was trying to show her that he was overcharged for the Thanksgiving card he just bought.

At Dollar Tree. Three days after Thanksgiving.

The cashier continued to ring up the customer in front of us while she tried explaining the cost of the card, with tax, to the other guy. But he wasn’t hearing any of it, and he just kept arguing.

It was going nowhere and I had had enough.

“Hey man, if I give you $1, will you shut up?”

Mind. Blown. The dollar would have covered twice the cost of what he was arguing about. But he insisted on getting his proper discount. Not only that, he then got pissed that I got involved and called me an asshole in front of my family.

I smiled and turned to Ann.

“Reminds me of our neighbor — an angry drunk.” Then I looked at him, still smiling.

“Happy holidays, sir. And Happy Thanksgiving.” He didn’t know what to say and by then the manager had come over to smooth things out with him. And Thanksgiving had long passed, so in your face, Tipsy McStagger.

Look, I don’t normally get involved in petty shit like this but dude was being a complete jerk to the Dollar Tree employees, none of whom make diddly-squat at that job and none of whom should have to deal with bullshit from people like this any time of year.

But at the holidays, the number of idiots increases exponentially. Come on, dude. Dollar Tree. You’re arguing over a lost receipt and fifty cents at FREAKING DOLLAR TREE.

So I had to say something. And in the end, I didn’t offer him the dollar because that would be better spent elsewhere.

Like on these killer candles!

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So to all of the employees at my local Dollar Tree, I’m sorry you had to deal with the moron. But I’m not sorry for saying something in your defense.

Because I’ve been there. It’s not pretty.

And now you have a story to tell when you get home.

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Let the Music Play


First off, a quick word about my last post which is now residing in oblivion.

It was dumb, pointless, idiotic, and more to the point, completely uncharacteristic of the person I’ve been aiming to be as of late. Somewhere along the line and up to the time I wrote that post, it seems I lost sight of a lot of things. All of that said, I think it’s time I hit the giant Reset button and let my mind get frazzled for a microsecond as it starts anew.

I’ve got my incense burning. I’m surrounded by the things that bring me comfort. I will meditate after this post. I’m moving on, so let’s get to the topic of tonight’s post.

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Whitney Houston. Debbie Gibson. Dionne Warwick. Throw in some Richard Marx, Gordon Lightfoot and a ton of unknown artists into the mix and voila! you have a pretty good idea of the music playlist that we  must endure while at work. It’s piped in throughout the entire store including the warehouse, so trying to escape it is nearly impossible.

After a while the music just becomes background noise; a practically nonexistent drone that get you through the day as opposed to listening to the sound of shopping carts rattle down aisles of groceries. That’s not to say, however, that we don’t take notice of it.

It’s quite the contrary. In fact, it’s very noticeable when it’s not busy or near closing when the store is practically empty. That’s when you’re likely to hear Jeffrey Osborne sing about woo woo wooing or something like that.

That’s the way it was a few nights ago when I was closing down the store. Right up until midnight, it was just another day filled with soft adult contemporary hits that no broadcast radio station plays anymore.

And that’s when it happened.

Right after the hourly tone, clearly heard some relatively heavy guitar chords that seemed familiar. I stopped dead in my tracks and listened again to make sure I was hearing the right song.

Still not convinced, still standing and listening intently, I waited for the lyrics to start.

I never meant to be so bad to you
One thing I said that I would never do

Oh wow. It was like someone decided, on our behalf, that we needed a change and it had to be a change worth noting. And let me tell you, going from “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” to “Heat of the Moment” will definitely do it.

Since then, it’s been a nonstop barrage of songs I never thought I’d hear while pushing a broom around the store or bagging groceries. And frankly, it’s a change that’s been long overdue even in my short time working there.

While different, I would hesitate to call it crazy. Here’s just a sampling of the songs on the new playlist, most of which I’ve only heard once.

The new playlist also includes “I Can’t Hold Back” by Survivor. I mention this one in particular because Vital Signs is, without a doubt, my top guilty pleasure album. Seriously, it is…even if that song get picked on.

When compared to some of the stuff we used to have playing in the background, this new selection makes the day go by much faster, even if there are still some soft hits in the mix. It’s also worth noting that during our current Mexican food promotion, we’ve also been getting a mix of Latin music thrown in there so the variety of music is vast.

Change is definitely good, but deep down inside I’m wondering how long it will be before our senior clientele have a word with management about it.

Unless, of course, they are Franz Ferdinand fans.

UPDATE: A few days later, the standard music playlist returned. Booo!

Why I Can Never Visit Japan – Or Why I Must


madayadeOn Saturday, Anthony had another golf event at a local golf course that we hadn’t been to. It was hosted by the SCGA, the organization that hosted the 100 Hole Marathon earlier in the year.

After the event (where he was complimented on his form/stroke by a PGA pro instructor), we decided to head over to our latest, greatest, most favorite grocery store: 99 Ranch Market, a place which specializes in Asian products. One would think that with the area it’s in and their specialty/niche items that the clientele would be mostly Asian. That’s far from the truth because I saw people of all ethnicities shopping and enjoying their experience. As I posted on Facebook, this is how the world should be: one people together for a common purpose. It was honestly quite beautiful.

CAM00959But before I witnessed this wonderful display, we happened upon another store on the way in and it was all over for me, at least. From a distance I really couldn’t tell what it was but when as we approached, it became more obvious.

The store was called Daiso Japan. They sell stuff from Japan. Most of it sells for $1.50 or sometimes less (and in some cases, more). I was immediately lost.

As my eyes glazed over their wares displayed in the window, I told Ann that we HAD to go in there. Right now. NOW, I tells you.

See, I have this strange affinity toward all things Japan, whether it’s J-Pop, their culture, or just cars. I wouldn’t consider it an unhealthy obsession as much as I would a curiosity; it’s simply a glimpse into a place I’ve never been would love to visit sometime.

But above all, I can’t get enough of Japanese craps, as in items one would find in a place like Daiso. And if I ever won the [insert jackpot game of your choice], I would go to a place like Daiso and buy one of everything whether I needed it or not. Then I would book the next flight to Japan and either go nuts buying more Japanese craps or end up not coming back and taking up residence in a capsule hotel where…I wouldn’t have room for all of my craps.

Okay, maybe it is a bit unhealthy. But hear me out before you judge. Take a look at some of the assorted craps I found in Daiso and why me going to Japan would be a dangerous, dangerous proposition.

First, upon entering the Daiso, I discovered that J-Pop was being piped into the place and could be heard all over the store. My shopping experience was already at a 5-star level. As I made my way through the store I started to notice why I love crazy Japanese craps.

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Here we have a pair of training chopsticks with some kind of animal face on the top. Hey, whatever gets a kid to learn how to use them is fine with me. But look at the packaging! Aside from “Training Chopsticks” there’s no other English on it and that’s what I find so intriguing. Sure, I would know what they were if not for the English but still, the packaging on all Japanese items is insanely pristine and damn near perfection.

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And what do we have here? Oh, nothing but some kitchen sponges SHAPED LIKE CAKE SLICES! Note the precautionary “Do not eat” on the bottom right of each sponge-cake.

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Enjoy the softness! Aside from the “WTF?” factor, here’s another reason I love Japanese products: Engrish, which is Japanese translated into English that produces humorous results. What you see above isn’t the best example of it but still, it’s pretty funny to read on the pack of…grape candy.

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Now this here is some great Engrish. Historically, kings have worn crowns and as such, were…well, kings. Maybe he was Super King.

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These happy little guys will make sure your mundane task of sweeping up that pile of spilled Yan Yans will be a joyous event!

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I almost slapped this on my face and started singing Music of the Night.

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The “frip-top” made me laugh so hard that I had to buy this. It is now my daily container for the snacks I take along with me to work.

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Aside from the chuckles I was getting, I did buy stuff that wasn’t amusing and too cool to not pass up. I ended up grabbing two of these really bitchin’ battery-powered, color-changing LED stars which we used as décor that night for the Supermoon viewing from our front yard. I love goofing around with artificial lighting and taking pictures with my phone. The results are always interesting.

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But I’ve saved the best for last. While walking down the aisle that had party goods, Ann pointed this out and almost fell on the ground laughing.

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This place has everything, even inflatable boobs that, according the package, are “Sopresa Bomba Sexy”! Well, maybe not on a guy with a necktie around his head or any guy in general but you get the idea. I think.

But sadly, as strange as this item was, it has NOTHING on the next one which is still leaving me, for the lack of a better term, curious.

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You know, there are some terms I never thought I’d search for in my life. But after seeing this item, I had to go to Google and search for “inflatable swan penis” to find out exactly how this thing worked and what it did because the instructions on the top of the box didn’t really help me.

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So after researching it, here’s what you do.

  1. Peel off the adhesive backing and stick the flaccid swan-penis to your crotch.
  2. Squeeze the swan’s neck-testicles which will activate the inflation mechanism.
  3. Stand back and watch the swan-penis become erect.
  4. Stand around like a perverted old man with a sheepish grin on your face.
  5. That’s pretty much it.

If you follow the instructions on the box cover, you can also opt for putting on a tutu and sticking the swan-penis to the outside. This would obviously be my choice. Go big or go home, yo.

(Note that the bewbs also inflate using the same kind of chemical reaction.)

Man, I don’t know what kind of partying they do over in Japan but I’d wager that they are pretty crazy, which kind of scares me and excites me at the same time.

In the end, here’s what we hauled home.

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Candies, bike reflectors I didn’t need, cookies…but nothing inflatable.

And this, my friends, is why I should never visit Japan. But do you know what the sad thing about all of this?

We’re going back on Friday for more.

My name is Dave, and I have a problem with Japanese craps.

And music. Now everybody do the Monkey Dance! Berryz Koubou, take it away!

Crackdown, Anyone?


Here’s an endcap at my local Target store filled with copies of “Crackdown” for the XBOX 360.

Anybody want one? There are just a few left!

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UPDATE 3/16/08: Note that the image above was taken on 3/05/08. I went back today and the endcap looks just about the same, but the price is now $14.98.