Out Shopping

Get ready for an old man rant. That’s how it sounds in retrospect. Let it fly.

“Let’s go shopping,” my wife said. “Plan a day when we go out so I can get new exercise clothes. I want to go to my exercise class in person on April first, and I’d like to do it in something other than the clothes I was wearing two years ago.”

Yes, I agreed, because I knew what she was talking about. We’ve been strong isolationists, social distancing, zooming, vaccinated, masking, almost living like recluses. Well, recluses who have television and streaming services, computers, telephones, and safe friend pods. Maybe not quite recluses. Maybe, that’s an exaggeration. Maybe.

But we went through this before, where mandates were lifted, places partially opened. We took advantage of that. Our concern is that there will be some sort of new worrying spike and mandates and shutdowns will roll in anew. So we went out shopping and ate in a restaurant. Masks were worn while shopping. We wore masks until we were seated in our isolated, plastic walled table at the restaurant. We went early, to avoid crowds, but risks remain. The masked were the minority by far.

It’s been a while since I went shopping. I think it’s been a year. I saw some blue jeans. Levi’s. I thought, hey, they’re nice. Maybe I’ll buy a pair of denim pantaloons. The price stopped me: $69.50. For jeans? Off the shelf jeans? Levi’s? I remember when they were the jeans of the poor and downtrodden. And that at J.C. Penney’s.

Looking at shoes, I was appalled about how ugly and clunky men’s shoes have become during the pandemic. Lot of red, white, and blue stuff, too. I thought, I’ll have to watch people, see how many are actually wearing these. I suppose I’ll need to focus on the young, those who have not yet counted past forty years.

Wrigley’s gums come in Peppermint ‘Cobalt’ and Spearmint ‘Rain’. WTF? I read their ingredients: they looked like gum with a new name.

My superpower held solid, so I managed to find the worst checkout line possible at Target. It’s good to know that I can depend on that power. I perused magazines at hand. Know how much a magazine costs? $12.99 USD. What? Why, that’s how much a book used to cost. Now, of course, a book is $26.00 for a hardback, $16.00 for a softback. That’s why I buy used books or go to the library. Of course, many used books are now over $10.00

Then there was my beer: $7.25 for 16 ounces of Blue Moon. My entree was $11.99. My drink was over 50% of the price of my meal. That’s frigging stunning. They asked me if I wanted a 22 oz beer, but that would’ve probably topped my credit card’s limit. It only goes into five digits.

I guess it was all a shocker. I’ve seen food prices. We laughed about paying $50 at grocery stores and walking out with two light bags. Filling the gas tank on the Mazda was $45.

Stunning. I feel for the people on the edge. I remember when I had people working for me in the military thirty years ago, and the cost of childcare. It basically almost equaled those young people’s take home pay. I hear it’s become worse. Looking at the small sampling which I experienced, I believe it.

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