Well-oiled shopping machine | VailDaily.com

Well-oiled shopping machine

I went to Wal-Mart across from Mojo Music the other day for new socks and some special “ointment” for my wife (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), and the silly store was closed.

Luckily, a reporter for the LA Times was walking by at that moment and offered to help me if I could supply some “dirt” on a 19-year-old former cheerleader from Eagle. Always willing to help a tourist, I told him of a friend of a friend of my ex-wife’s second ex-husband who once served her a salami (sandwich) at a convenience store on Main Street and, if the money was right, he was willing to talk.

With that tasty bit of info to chew on for the day, he suggested I try the new, improved Super Wal-Mart just down the street he had stumbled upon while searching for a place called Gordy Era.

Slapping my forehead like a Texan in a roundabout, I finally remembered they were moving, and headed that direction, leaving my out-of-town buddy presumably chasing his tail, so to speak.

Lo and behold, there it was, all rectangular and shiny-like, with a few thousand cars fighting for a few hundred parking spots. Either demand was much more than anticipated, causing town of Avon leaders wrist damage from patting themselves on the back, or this was opening day.

Discovering the latter, my 4-year-old and I waltzed on through the front door for a little look-see.

There stood Mike, the never-aging but always present greeter guy, dressed to the Wal-Mart T’s, attempting to say hello to the masses as we rushed by, but actually having just enough time for a quick head nod or two.

“Hi, M-m-m-McDonald’s?” the words fumbled from my lips as my attention was diverted to the miniature Golden Arches instead of Mike.

Sure enough, right smack dab in the middle of the entryway was a Mickey-D’s, complete with two all beef patties-special sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions on a sesame seed bun, and a thick line of hungry and apparently spontaneous consumers.

Feeling obligated also, we picked up two kids meals to-go (I’m pretending to diet) and headed up and down the many stuffed aisles, eating our nutritious lunch while admiring the views.

Even though it’s still Wally World, I must admit the new building is impressive, especially the grocery section, the photo studio, the electronics area, and the self-service checkout lines. But nothing brings the picture into better perspective than the bathrooms.

I notice these things.

Two complete sets, three in the front and three more in the back (the third in each case apparently being some androgynous-styled enclosure for homosexuals-in-training or diaper changing), drive the point home about just how big this place really is.

I mean to tell you this place is LARGE.

It’s so big that you could fit the old Wal-Mart AND City Market both cleanly inside with room to spare for a Starbucks or two on each end. But of course that is a purely hypothetical situation, as one would not do such a thing for fear of hurting one’s neighbors in a competitive, but still small, town, right?

Anyway, it has become such a well-oiled, one-stop-shopping machine for just about anything anyone could ever want to buy that except for a few specialty stores like, say, Shotgun Willies, we’ll never have to travel to Denver again, save for those marketing trips to drum up Front Range business to fill the parking structures.

You can buy oil for your hair in the pharmacy section, purchase spray oil for that squeaky door hinge in hardware, have your oil changed at the lube shop, have your oil cleaned at the hair salon, and ingest the oil at McDonald’s.

What more could a ski resort community possibly ask for?

We headed out with a full cart of stuff we probably didn’t really need, and made one final stop for a treat upon hearing the familiar childhood sounds of THE Ice Cream Truck.

Enjoying our confections, we found ourselves smiling at the local view across the way. It’s nice to walk out from a big city shopping experience and still be home while walking out to the car.

I can get used to this.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net

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