Capitalist Jungle Safari

I had occasion yesterday, after my medicalist engagement, to accompany FD SCP on an expedition to a Sam’s Club. We do not have such in Greater Metropolitan Arab, nor even in Marshall County. There are two, perhaps three, in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill.

The first thing that struck me was how much nicer the staff was to couples than to unaccompanied men. Usually I visit the SC on my own and it is rather like wandering through an ice cube tray, if one can imaging one large enough. (I hope that metaphor is not too exotic and reactionary for any passing GEN Y.) Since I normally visit as a solitary man, my ambulations are very hunter in nature. I go to where the things on my list are with no rubber necking – alright, very little. With FD SCP present, we ambulated in gatherer nature and so I was exposed to an order of magnitude more information than normal.

This led me first to contemplate the differences between SC and MalWart. Volume is the most obvious. In MalWart the most common thing is the individual item/container, although admittedly that is a sometimes ambiguous taxonomic state. In Club S the most common thing is, barely modal, a container of containers. I was reminded of the ditty about the chap at the fish cannery on cannery row, about not being able to can a can. It’s an alliterative nonsense for those unfamiliar.

This led me to compare the MalWart with the department stores of the Communist countries during Containment. The commonalities were astounding. Somehow they can operate at opposite ends of the spectrum – blatant, overt capitalism and worker paradise socialism – and end up almost the same. Both are stocked with lots of a few things. The differences arose in the absences rather than the presences. In MalWart you can usually get what you want so long as what you want is desired enough by other customers. If you deviate too much from the mode of the distribution, then what you want will not be available because it will not sell fast enough to satisfy capitalist demands. In a People’s Cornucopia you can get what you want so long as it is on the list of things to be manufactured and the manager of the factory had enough made that month.

I hope that difference is clear.

Anyway, upon arriving home I spent about as long unloading and stowing goods as we spent buying them, mostly because I had to make several trips to and from the motorcar. Somehow that seems punishment for the effort?

, , , ,

About these ads