Have you ever been shopping in a store, any store really, and found something on display that seemed so out of place that it stopped you in your tracks? I don’t mean finding one of the many things people discard randomly from their grocery cart, we’ve all seen that before. And this situation in itself can certainly be hilarious. Hmmmm, you know, I thought I needed a turkey, but now that I’m here amongst all this bread it makes me think – maybe I don’t actually need this turkey after all. In fact, what was I even thinking with this damn poultry? I’m just going to slip this bird out of my cart over here onto this fluffy rack of hot dog buns. There we go, no more of those dastardly turkey problems for me.
But that’s not what I’m here for today. I’m here to question the very sanity of the buyers of some of these stores. And why would I question them? Well, one in particular anyway. For that, I need to tell you about the time I saw a frying pan for sale in a Staples. A haven of pens and paper and laminates and chairs and copiers and hell, even bottled water and toilet paper. They have toilets in offices, makes sense to sell off brand toilet paper that’s triple the price as the store right next door.
But no, a goddamn frying pan. Honestly, in my mind it may has well been a live donkey it seemed so out of place. I don’t know why it seemed so absurd. Maybe I’m completely on my own on this but listen people listen. It’s an office supply store, a school supply store, a pen-porn playground for those amongst us battling crippling stationary hoarding addictions. But it ain’t no frying pan store. At least not to me it’s not.
So my friends, I have some questions, and although I know I will never get my answers, short of calling the Staples head office – and even then……, I need to get some thoughts out. Because this just does not need to be a thing. If you are standing in line at your local Staples with your shiny new glitter pens and duo-tangs thinking fuck yeah I’m gonna nail this presentation on the reproductive cycle fleas, and you go WAIT – it’s the frying pan, just the thing I needed, wanted and never thought I’d ever find is here, and finally that eggplant I’ve been saving for so long can at long last get the proper treatment it has always deserved. Then I need to sit down and have a cup of tea with you. Because I have some questions.
Now, to the purchaser. I have no idea who is in charge of, or how the buying is done at Staples. But I’m assuming it’s similar to other retail chains wherein pretty much everything comes down from corporate, with regional and local products mixed in. You know how those paisley pattered Post-It notes move like hotcakes in Lethbridge.
So you have your meetings and focus groups and conferences to discuss and discern what’s going to be on the cutting edge of the stationary world for the coming year. It’s all very stoic and serious with trend charts and spread sheets, possibly large laminated display boards created at a lucky local Staples itself. Oh man to be the manager of the Staples in the city where the 93rd Annual Stationary and Office Supply Convention is being held. What kind of euphoria could touch that?
Amongst all this very fancy analytic energy, someone, somewhere, in some room, at some meeting, on some golf course, at some urinal decided – holy shit. A mother fucking frying pan. As people are queueing up to pay for their binders and sharpies. This is perfect. I’m going to retire on this moment of inspiration. Because reader, while you think this is all fantasy and unicorn happenstance – This. Actually. Happened.
Now before I chide this poor delusional sap any more I need you to know a few things about the frying pan and the display. There’s photographic evidence on a long since disappeared Snapchat but for now you have to trust me that there was no attempt to have a sort of side hustle kitchen area going in this Staples. That at least could make a modicum of sense. No spatulas, no whisks, no woks, no spiralizers. Just this one type of frying pan hanging along the side of the checkout line up. You know the area – they cram as much crap in there as possible thinking every third customer will be moved into an impulse last second purchase. And indeed, joke’s on me otherwise these sections wouldn’t exist.
And that, I think, is my point. Going back to the eggplant and duo-tang guy above, what on earth would possess someone to make this their impulse buy? Not mini fuzzy dice for your desk, not a pencil in the shape of a hockey stick that doubles as a coffee mug, not a coffee mug that doubles as a cat calendar. Nope. A frying pan.
And not just some random frying pan. One of those fancy pants diamond encrusted copper blue things that you can drive a Hummer over while making a stove top soufflé. Just nestled in there in two rows about five deep hanging from their long metal pegs. Clearly showing that no, sadly, no one has ever taken one of these precious gems home with them. At least not at this location. Maybe in Lethbridge?
Like I said, I don’t have any answers but boy do I have frying pan questions.