We’re all familiar with the supercenter, those ridiculously large stores that stock anything and everything you can possibly imagine. I’ve never been a fan of these monstrosities.
When I was in college, I went to my first supercenter. They weren’t called that at the time. It was called Harry’s. I’d been shopping at Harry’s for about a year before I realized that they sold groceries there. I’d been going to the store for my clothing needs, completely ignorant of the frozen food section that lay hidden behind the men’s clothing. Sometimes I’m not very observant so I never noticed the people in line behind me with carts full of groceries.
I’d gone to Harry’s with a friend to buy a t-shirt. After a few minutes of sifting through piles of shirts, she said, “I want to buy some apples.”
I thought she meant that after we’d paid for our shirts she wanted to go to the grocery store. That’s not what she meant at all. She walked to the back of the store. There was a whole grocery store back there! Not a few food items, it was an entire grocery store with canned goods and produce and frozen foods.
My friend walked purposefully to the produce section and started picking through a pile of red apples. I was immediately repulsed. “You’re going to eat those?” I asked.
“What else would I do with them?” she laughed.
I just couldn’t get over it. How could you trust food from a store that sells bras? I just couldn’t do it. Clothes and food shouldn’t be sold side by side. I know it’s supposed to be convenient, but it just doesn’t feel right. I never shopped for anything at Harry’s again.
In the UK they have hypermarts. A hypermart is an impossibly large store that never has what I need in stock. I can’t figure out how they have so much and so little at the same time. I tried to buy a bar of soap at one the other day and they only had five choices. How can that be? The store lasts for miles and they only have five different kinds of soap!
If you can’t find something in your local hypermart don’t bother asking the staff because they’re about as lost in the place as you are. One day I went there to buy an umbrella and had to ask four staff members before anyone could tell me anything helpful at all.
I don’t frequent hypermarts because I still have a problem with buying food and clothing in the same place. If I went to them more often I’d probably start to like them. For now I’m all right with letting others have the convenience of one-stop shopping all to themselves.