So last night, after a delicious dinner of Coffee-Brined Chicken Drumsticks with a side of diced cucumber dressed with rice vinegar (the chicken is oh so good, though I usually use less salt than it calls for), I got it into my head that I wanted to go to Walmart.
Before you chastise me too greatly for visiting the evil, evil empire that is that big blue box store, let me remind you that I live on an island. A tiny island. In a tiny state. We have a sum total of four Target stores in the entire state — and one is closed because the mall in which it is located is still recovering from the flooding that occurred back in April. They’re hoping to open the mall back up sometime next month. Let’s see, since that mall is closed, I think that leaves us with one true mall in the entire state as well, way up in Providence. There just aren’t many options for us. Granted, we live very near to Massachusetts, which is where we do most of our shopping. But even still, our choices are limited.
And sometimes, honestly, I do not feel like driving half an hour to get off the island to do a little window shopping when there is a Walmart a mile from my house. So shoot me.
However, Kurt decided it was not to Walmart that we needed to go, but instead to a few stores in the opposite direction. First up, Ocean State Job Lots.
That store cracks me right the hell up. It’s like the sad little sister of Big Lots, the one who tries so hard but just can’t measure up to her better, prettier, more well-known sister. When stores can’t sell their stock, they sell it off to stores like Big Lots and Job Lots so they can recoup some of their expenses, and then those stores sell it for much cheaper than you’d be able to buy it at a normal store. Some things are good quality, like the Speedo swimsuits for women I saw for sale for $10 yesterday, instead of the $70 they run in department stores. Others are not quite so nice. There’s always clothing of questionable quality and design that looks like it’ll fall apart the first time you run it through the washer. So you just have to be careful what you buy from a store like that.
We managed to spend about $20 in Job Lots last night. Kurt found a tool he absolutely had to have, while I contented myself with some really nifty postcards (10 for $1!) and some Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. We also managed to find quite a bit that we wanted in the food department. I’m usually somewhat nervous about buying food from Job Lots, but I checked all the expiration dates before I put the items in our cart. We like to buy these Indian shelf-stable ready-meals that we normally get from the health food store for $3 a piece, but at Job Lots they were just $2. It’s the easiest dinner ever; heat and serve over rice. The ones we get are pretty good for you too, with no artificial or unpronounceable ingredients. We just have to be careful we’re getting ones without nuts, due to Grace’s allergy. I also found some bitter orange soda — NOM.
But the best deal of all was some steel-cut oats by Bob’s Red Mill that was just $2.79 for 12 ounces. Usually steel-cut oats can be pretty darn expensive, running more than $5 for a tin at most grocery stores. It’s so worth it, though; the flavor and texture is nothing like instant oatmeal. I usually make it in the crockpot overnight, and it turns out perfectly. In fact, Grace has asked me to make it for her on her next school day.
I also noticed that they had agave syrup for super cheap as well, which made me a little irritated as I had bought some at the health food store for three times the price. And it was the same brand! Grr.
Oh, well. At least now I know I can get it at Job Lots, even if I always feel a little dirty and strange when I come out.
And then it was off to the pet store. What better way to spend an evening than to let the kids go nuts in a pet store?? Apparently the pet store guy fed the piranhas some goldfish right when Kurt and the kids got inside. I’d gone back into Job Lots to pick up some toothpicks (1000 for $1.25) and some peppercorns (88¢), so I missed all the excitement. Another couple came in right after me and spent most of their time near the birds at the front of the store. I tell you what, the parrots did not like the woman. At all. Every single time she came near one of them, they would squawk their heads off. I didn’t know parrots could be so loud! I jumped each time one went off.
One of the parrots could talk — but never when you were standing right in front of her. We kept trying to get her to say something, but as soon as we gave up and walked away, she’d mutter, “Hello” — and it’s creepy how human she sounded.
We also got to see teeny tiny baby hamsters, still pink and blind, curled up in a mass in a corner of their cage. So cute! Grace wanted to take one home, but I haven’t had good experience with hamsters. They tend to die on me. Yuck.
I had a dwarf hamster when I was eleven or twelve, I guess. No, I had to be older because I was living in Nebraska. So…. Thirteen? I loved my dwarf hamster so much, but I guess her cage was too close to the window because she caught a chill and died of pneumonia. Then my parents replaced her with a large teddy bear hamster, which promptly gave birth to a litter of baby hamsters. My parents were less than pleased. We sold most of them back to the pet store but kept one as company for the momma hamster. At some point the momma hamster died, and I guess I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to my hamsters because the other hamster decided to snack on his momma. It was not a pretty sight.
So I suppose hamsters are off the list as potential pets for us. Besides, we have two cats. What more do we need? Nothing, that’s what.