Sunday, September 16, 2012


Some combination of having a kitten, the novelty of a new kitten, and possibly the allergy medications I am on to keep said kitten from strangling me to death have changed my mind somehow. I feel less able to abstract my thoughts and very firmly rooted in my present sensory experiences. I am smelling more, I am feeling more which is a good thing (?) but it is much harder to think creatively and to write about the privations of the wanderer when I, here and now, have a full belly and a sweet, fuzzy kitten. Not to mention the fact that she is fascinated by the clicking of the keyboard and is insisting on helping me type. Perhaps this is all transitory and the blog will return to what it was last week. Perhaps it won't and I will return to being a wholly consumptive force on the web.

How do grocery stores decide what to stock? Is it purely a guess and check sort of thing (you stock kidney beans and see how they sell for a week) or is it demographically based? If it is the latter, what does it mean that I find the best selection (for me) to be at an HEB a good ways away from my apartment? I just went down there and passed another HEB and a Walmart on the way. Of course, the marginal cost of driving another two miles to get to the farther HEB is minimal, so maybe the stock with that in mind?

The point is that I went in there and for some reason, nothing I could point at particularly except to say that this HEB, as opposed to the two closer grocery chains, has all the stuff I like, I felt that I was in a place built specifically for my demographic profile-- single, young, with a good job and a cat. Maybe it is the allergy meds, but maybe that is credit to someone knowing their target audience.

Walked out through the HEB parking lot and saw a bumper sticker that said "I like Obamacare" with the Obama campaign website at the bottom. No photo because there were other people around an I felt like it would be weird to take a picture of a bumper sticker, but it is a real thing. I think this is absolutely genius. I was talking to my father who absolutely doesn't understand that huge swathes of America still think the president is doing a fine job, since after all my father doesn't like what the president has done and none of his golf buddies or work buddies (a combination of oil-men and entrepreneurs) like the president, so how could Romney not get 90% of the vote? This sort of bumper sticker reminds people who live in bubbles that there are people-- normal people shopping at the normal HEB-- who radically disagree with him. I have never seen an effective bumper sticker before, so this made me take note.

On the way home their was a billboard that said "tell a Goodwill employee that they rock." I don't understand the point of the sign. If they wanted to increase Goodwill name ID, they could just put up the logo. If they wanted to let Goodwill employees know that they are appreciated, they could A) tell them, B) reward them, or C) put up a sign saying "Goodwill employees rock". C would also work to let me know that the employees are quality, though I would prefer that to be perhaps a subheading to a larger statement like "Goodwill employees help people: therefore they rock" or some such. After all, I am not going to make a trip into Goodwill just to tell the employees that they are good people, and if I am in a Goodwill store then my interaction with the employees, no matter how brief, will be more informative than the billboard, meaning that I will offer praise not based on the urging of the sign but on the details of our interaction.

The point is that the Obama sticker was pretty good, even if I don't agree with it, and the Goodwill sign was dumb.

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