I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday. This isn't the kind of thing I generally do--not because I think I'm too masculine for it, but because it's practically a 2-hour drive to the nearest Hobby Lobby, and as much as I like their collections of fake vintage bottles and drawing supplies, it's just not worth the trip.
Even when I lived in real civilization, however, I avoided Hobby Lobby as much as possible after October. I'm assuming you all know what Hobby Lobby is, so I won't go into details about what the store sells. What I will go into detail about, however is how the store is set up.
I feel like when they designed the interior of the craft store chain, the conversation went a little like this:
"Holy shit, you guys, I had no idea how many crafts were out there. I mean, sure I knew there were enough to fill a store, and that's why we're in this business in the first place. But look at all this crap--there's way more than knitting and scrapbooking!"
"There's an entire aisle here for ribbon. What the hell kind of hobby is ribboning? Wrap your Christmas presents, put it in storage, done until next year. That's no hobby."
"Apparently it is, Trevor. There's an entire aisle of this stuff. How are we going to make it all fit?"
"Okay, look--the only people who buy stuff like this are old ladies, right? So we make the aisles super narrow, we'll get tiny shopping carts, no big deal. They'll mosey through the store, all nice and polite, it won't be an issue."
So that's what they did.
If you've ever stepped foot inside a Hobby Lobby, you realize how wrong Trevor and the other guy--his name is probably Chad--were.
Hobby Lobby clientele is a mixed group, ranging from the aforementioned old ladies to packs of roaming college girls, pissed off middle-aged ladies with eight kids that they have interest in controlling, and people on their cell phones. Also, dudes who need to take horrible, horrible dumps--more on that later.
I feel like the 90% of the customer base could be summed up like this: rude, slow-moving people who are in a hurry, and don't pay attention to what's going on around them.
I want to take a moment to say to all Hobby Lobby employees--I'm sorry. Not for my behavior, but for you. Having worked in retail, I feel your pain, to an extent. I feel like pretty much all retail sucks. And at every store, you're going to wind up with a certain kind of customer, I imagine.
I worked at Circuit City, so the people I had to deal with were people who felt like they were special because they had enough money to spend way more money than they should on electronics. Also, they were dipshits, because people with intelligence get their stuff online. Don't get me wrong--I understand the appeal of instant gratification, but if you're buying you electronics at a Circuit City or Best Buy, you're just doing things wrong, plain and simple.
I imagine that you have a different type of customer at Hobby Lobby. I've personally witnessed the angry arguer and the clueless old person. The angry arguer is the person who swears that everything in their cart is on sale, and no matter what the cashier says, they won't be convinced otherwise--they'll just get more and more heated, while the already-enormous line behind them grows by the minute.
The clueless old person gets up the counter, and asks anywhere from three to a hundred and twelve questions about everything that they're purchasing. What does it do, will it work with this other thing, what's the internet. Stuff like that.
I'm sure there are more, but those are the kinds of customers I've witnessed on my HL adventures.
And then, as in any retail work, you'll have you're average problem customers--in the real world, they're referred to as "assholes." Just rude condescending pricks who treat anyone behind a counter as if they're inferior.
There's a special place in hell for these people, and there's a special place in heaven for retail workers who have to deal with them, and from their special place, they can see right down into that place in hell. They won't want to look much--after all, it's heaven, so I'm sure they have better things to do than spend all their time watching those people suffer in hell. But it's probably like a coy pond or something, where you go and just sit and feel a little bit better for awhile.
Be nice to people in retail, that's what I'm saying. I know that there's a lot of times where they're annoying or practically useless, but it's a shitty job, and just getting dressed in the polo and going back day after day is more of a challenge than you could ever imagine.
And as bad as retail in general is, I can't imagine how awful it must be at a place like Hobby Lobby, once the holiday season arrives. The Lob does this thing where stuff is always on sale. So like right now, if you walk in, chances are, you'll see huge signs for 50% off Christmas stuff. I don't care what time of year you're reading, this either--I'm writing it in the later part of November, but if you're just seeing it in July, it's probably just as accurate.
We were barely able to find a parking spot today, and if I hated myself even a fraction less, I would have just waited in the car. Fortunately for my girlfriend, I've done awful things in my life, and deserve punishment, so I soldiered through those sliding doors right along with her.
Here's a weird thing about Hobby Lobby: you never know what it's gonna smell like when you go in. You walk into almost any Target in the nation, it's going to smell the same--you're greeted by popcorn, and then there's the smell of new clothing, and maybe a slight plastic smell. I'm sure there are some run-down stores somewhere in America, and they probably just smell like any run-down building: mold and days gone by. But for the most part, when you step into a Target, you know what sort of olfactory experience you're about to encounter.
Not so with Hobby Lobby. Sometimes, they smell like cinnamon. Sometimes like eucalyptus leaves. Sometimes like old lady perfume. Sometimes, they smell like old lady farts.
Don't act like you don't know exactly what I'm talking about when I say old lady fart, either, because you know. You know.
Today, that's what greeted us when we walked in, was overly-strong perfume, and old lady fart.
And the store was absolutely packed, so I knew it wouldn't be the last time I encountered that particular smell on my visit. We made our way through the checkout line--which had stretched around in front of the doors--and back to the discounted Christmas items. We were there on a mission for props for a Christmas photobooth.
I feel like in a setup like Hobby Lobby, there should be some understood guidelines to follow--don't park your cart diagonally, don't let your children fill the entire aisle, and don't pass gas.
None of these guidelines are followed.
The thing about shopping at Hobby Lobby is that it's essentially like joining a conga line that moves at three feet per minute. Except instead of music, the air is pierced by high-pitched cries of, "That's so cute" and "Alexis will love that!"
And instead of going in one direction, people stop randomly, turn around, or sometimes even just walk backwards.
I'm old enough to realize I'm wrong 80% of the time when I make blanket statements. But I'm going to make one. If you walk backwards in a Hobby Lobby without looking, you're a dick or you're in some way brain damaged. There's no other excuse for that kind of behavior. Because if you step backwards, you're going to run into someone. There are no exceptions. Which means your brain just can't learn, or you just don't care.
I guess if this is your first time ever stepping foot in a Hobby Lobby, that would also work as an excuse. But just barely, because most people, upon entering will survey the situation and understand that this is not the sort of environment you can walk around in backwards, especially without looking while you're doing it.
I think a great reality show would be this: you gather all the assholes who take backwards steps in places like Hobby Lobby, and you screen out the ones who have brain damage--people are going to die in this reality show, and I don't want those ones on the show. So you take the ones who are left--the assholes who are so self-centered that they'd rather crash into someone than have the courtesy to actually turn around--and you put them on an island filled with deathtraps.
And that's it, that's the show. They all die. There is no prize, and the only winners are the rest of society.
During sweeps week, bring in special guests form America's Top Model, or whatever that show is called, because those shallow bastards need to be taken out as an evolutionary step, as well.
Here's the other thing about Hobby Lobby that gets me--there's always a dude taking a shit in there.
As I mentioned before, it's a 2-hour drive for me to get to Hobby Lobby, so usually, by the time I get there, I need to pee. I drink a cup of coffee or a bottle of water on the way, and if that's our first stop, I have to empty my bladder so I have the stillness of mind I need not to murder anyone in those tight aisles.
The men's restrooms I've used at various Hobby Lobby stores have been very clean. I want to mention that, because I feel like whoever has to go in and do that cleaning is a fucking trooper.
Because every time I have ever gone in to those restrooms, there has been a dude in there taking a shit of demonic proportions. Every. Time.
I'll be honest with you--sometimes I go in to pee even if I don't really have to go that bad, just to see if there's someone in there take a dump. And there is.
The curiosity is driving me out of my mind. Because as I mentioned before, I understand that the Hobby Lobby has a wide selection of shoppers. I know that there are plenty of guys in there. But what I absolutely cannot figure out is, what kind of a guy takes a shit at Hobby Lobby?
I just want to know.
Is it an old man, who is at the mercy of his bowel movements? Because I would almost get that. Except that I never really see old guys in Hobby Lobby. I feel like by the time you're that old, you've already made it known to your wife that you will not be accompanying her to Hobby Lobby. "Look, Brenda, I know that they have those crafty wooden snowmen on sale, but I only have a certain amount of time left to live, and I'm going to spend it at here, pooping in the comfort of my own home, rather than in a public place where some jerkoff will probably write about it on the internet."
And if you tell me it's the guy who is in picking out wedding stuff with his fiance or the dude who's looking for a great way to tie his living area together, I will not believe you.
The only theory I've come up with is this: some lady makes her boyfriend go with her, and he's just bitter as hell about it. So he takes his phone and goes in and plays games for an hour while he craps, and since he doesn't really have a time limit, he's just unloading everything, man, from the steak he ate three days ago, to the cereal he had for breakfast right before his journey to the Hobby Lobby restroom.
I can't think of any other person who could bring that type of sorrow to a craft store restroom. I just can't.
Anyway, we bought our props, waited in line for a year, and then left.