Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Kingdom for some Sticky-Tac!

If you've looked at the title of this blog and read my first entry, it should be fairly obvious that I am of the opinion that I have moved to another planet, despite in reality only moving sixty-five miles (via highway). I'm quite sure you're thinking why I would think that. Perhaps you're saying to yourself "Meh, Loren is some sort of highbrow fellow who thinks he's too good for a little town like Franklin (Population 8,354)!" Well, let me tell you--it isn't like that at all.

You see, I moved from a town called Gueydan, Louisiana. Population 1,598 (According to the 2000 US Census). Unlike Franklin, Gueydan does not have the following:
  • A Pizza Hut and Domino's
  • A McDonald's, Sonic, and Burger King
  • A Wal-Mart
  • A chain grocery store
  • A chain gas station
  • A middle school
  • A radio station
  • A red light
So it isn't as though I've moved from New York, Houston, or even Lafayette and look down at the humble residents here. No, it's rather what Franklin does not have for a town of its size, which I found out in all too painful of an episode on Tuesday.

The theme of my classroom is Dr. Seuss--since not only do I think Mr. Geisel was a fantastic writer and advocate for keeping a child's sense of wonder as an adult, but most of my students listed him as their favourite author (something which I am not sure what to think of yet)--and one of the showpieces of my classroom is a giant Cat in the Hat that I wanted to stick to the inside of my entrance door, because since he's so big I could affix him to the door at the students' eye level and he would almost touch the floor. A fantastic conversation piece for sure. The only problem was sticking our hatted friend. I found a roll of double-stick tape in the classroom, but alas it was so old that it wouldn't come off of the roll for me to use it, and the pack of sticky-tac I had received from my principal had grown legs and walked off, much to my chagrin. "No problem," I thought, "I'll just go to Wal-Mart here in town and pick some up."


First off let me dispel an urban legend. Wal-Mart did not convert all of their existing stores into Super Wal-Marts. I am sure of this because Franklin has a Wal-Mart without a grocery store built in. Instead, it has a bridge across a drainage ditch to the local Winn-Dixie. Apparently the fine residents here spend their Saturdays running from Wal-Mart to Winn-Dixie or vice versa, waving at each other along the way. After observing this once and waving at about twenty people I've never met in my life, I think this is some sort of tradition.

Anyway, I walked into the Wal-Mart and within thirty seconds I was wandering around the store in search of the office supplies...just like how I spent twenty fruitless minutes the previous week searching for a water filter until I found it "on the back wall," as one associate flippantly directed me. I looked high and low until in the back corner of the store was a small sign entitled "Home and Office." Clever these Wal Mart folks are. I can see it now: three store layout designers are standing over a set of blueprints saying to themselves "You know, the best place to put the office supplies is in the back corner behind the shoes! They'll never find it there!" They were right, as I would have never considered going to find office supplies next to the shoes.

However finding the department was just the beginning of my woes, as I searched high and low through the three aisles wondering why tape could be found in three different places on one row and notebooks could be found on all three aisles, I failed to find my prey. Rather than spend another chunk of an hour walking around in circles, I sought out the nearest employee to help me. I found someone in the electronics department and I asked them if they sold sticky-tac.
Er, I don't think so. I think we stopped selling it about a year ago.
Hmm... Are you sure? I mean, I don't want to be rude but you guys are a Wal-Mart. I'd think you would sell something like that.
Well, we're not like the other Wal-Marts as you can see.
Well that's obvious. OK, well, surely there's an office supply store here in town--even a local outfit, right?
How about a pharmacy chain store, like a Rite-Aid or CVS?
Oh, well, they're building a CVS in Morgan City now!
Well that's helpful. But what about here?
No. We're not a big town you know.
Yes, but I used to travel to Abbeville for my shopping and Abbeville isn't really significantly larger than Franklin, but they have all of that.
Well, we're just here. But let me make sure we don't sell what you're looking for before you drive to Morgan City.
Who said I was driving to Morgan City?

So the helpful lady called, and called, and called, and finally found a manager to help me. It wasn't just any manager. It was the store manager. After shaking my hand we set out to find my sticky-tac. It took us four trips around the department but we finally found it--hidden between stacks of sticky notes--which were hanging on racks on all three aisles also.

So I escaped with my prize brimming with anything but confidence. I'm here in what is purportedly a larger town than the one I moved from with actual amenities, but despite them, I'm still having to drive thirty minutes to get stuff like I did when I lived in Gueydan. I still was intrigued at the fact they apparently did not have an office supply store in Franklin. I just hope the day doesn't come when I'm stuck without a red pen. I'd be really up a creek then.

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