photo by EfrankE

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Walk to Remember

Last summer, after months of suspense, Target - excuse me, Tar-zhay - finally opened in Kona. While the building was under construction, the buzz of anticipation had been pervasive, the excitement barely containable, at least concerning the women around me.

The lead-up affected men differently: Target? What? Some kind of store? Where? Will it have a hardware department?

I forgot about and missed the Grand Opening in July. Around October though, I dropped into the store to see if I could pick up a set of replacement headphones for my computer.

I had just left from an early-morning, Saturday, workout class at the gym. Walking into Target, the first thing that hit me was the smell of ... pizza cooking? At 8:15 a.m.?!! Sure enough, they built in a pizza counter next to the Starbucks, right off the entrance. Garlic smell mixed with coffee smell on an early-morning empty stomach. Blech!

I cast a sweeping eye around the store, trying to take in the basic layout, at least for as far back as the naked eye could see. It gave me that overwhelming feeling you get walking into the exhibition hall at a trade show, except without the funny-smelling carpet.

An employee was nearby, walking in my direction. “Excuse me,” I said, where is your electronics section?”

“It’s toward the back, in the middle. Walk straight ahead and turn left down there. Continue on until you see the TV’s.”

My feet were already sore from the gym. “It looks pretty far, is there some sort of shortcut?”

“Not really.”

“Well, do you know if the store carries headphones?”

“No, not really.”

“Uh-huh. Okay.” In spite of the cooking odors, I drew a couple of deep breaths before starting off, thinking maybe I should’ve stretched-out the quads again, first.

I made it to the electronics, found the phones and made the hard-floor hike back to checkout, wishing that big-box stores would provide free Segway use for deep store-penetration shopping. If I have to take a long walk, I’d rather do it on cushiony grass at the fields at Old A’s.

This last week, while my folks were visiting, my dad called up from the condo to ask me if Target had a grocery section. I didn’t know for sure. I’d never ventured all that far into the store. What about a men’s department? I didn’t know about that either. I didn’t recall seeing either one from along the route to electronics. I wasn’t much help.

Call me old-fashioned, but I like mom & pop, general merchandise-type stores better. You can see over the aisles, you’ll stumble upon whatever you’re looking for within a minute or so, it’s easy to find your wife if you get separated, you don’t have to walk a quarter mile to get back to the door, and you can park curb-side, rather than stadium-distance away.

I mean, could you even set up a store better than this one?

I’d like to see more stores like this, ones that cater to those of us who are part of the short-walk shopping demographic and who prefer the simplicity of fewer choices and more limited selection.

I expect though, not too long from now, you’ll only be able to find one in a walk down memory lane.

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