My wife's cousin is having a baby soon, and somehow it fell to me to procure a gift for the shower.* I don't have kids, I don't want kids, and I don't particularly like kids.** Consequently, I would rather shop for feminine hygiene products (and I have) than for baby gifts.
Friday night, I drove to the nearest Babys "R" Us, which appropriately is located beside my least favorite corporate villain, Wal-Mart. I entered with trepidation. Although I wanted to complete my mission quickly, the bright lights and unfamiliar merchandise overwhelmed me. I fell into a daze.
Fortunately, the registry business is huge at Babys "R" Us. Therefore, it merits lots of square footage. Right in front where no one could miss it was a long, curved table with several comfortable chairs. A woman behind the table stood ready at a computer. I told her the mother's name and that I didn't want to spend a lot, and she printed the registry for me with only the items under $50.
Okay, this shouldn't be too hard. I picked out two $12.99 items to fit our $25-30 budget. Aw shit, where the Hell is this stuff? Confronted with aisle upon aisle of assorted baby goods, I felt like an illiterate in a bookstore.
I tried, I really did. I was even in the right department, but I couldn't find a darn thing. Shit. Maybe I'll get something else on the list instead. I started walking toward the back of the store. Then it hit me. Oh my God, somebody give me a knife! I'll do it now! No, I wasn't feeling suicidal. I've been putting off that damned vasectomy for too long. I swear, someone should open a clinic right next door to Babys "R" Us.
Fortunately, an associate recognized the mix of horror and confusion on my face. He set aside a couple of stock carts and asked if I needed help. I replied that I had no clue what I was doing here, but (pointing at the registry page) I was looking for these. Then he not only told me where the items were, he walked over there with me and picked them off the rack. I was done shopping in two minutes, and I thanked him profusely.
After a very short wait in line, a friendly clerk rang up my purchase and sent me on my way. So although every fiber of my being resisted Babys "R" Us, I have to admit they have really great customer service. But I still hope I never have to go there again.
* Since I work at home, I leave the house as frequently as the post-Vegas Howard Hughes. But I love to listen to CDs in the car. So whenever an errand comes up, I figure the quality CD time -- in this case paired with a visit to the Corner Bakery for a club panini --makes it worthwhile. Besides, this effort excuses me (as far as my wife is concerned) from having to attend the shower, a fate slightly worse than being post-Vegas Hughes' favorite enema giver (Hughes needed help with his plumbing due to codeine addiction -- and yes, he did have a favorite enema giver). When I heard my wife R.S.V.P. on the phone, I could barely suppress my laughter as she said, "Um, no, I don't think Dave will be able to make it that day." Yeah, I'll be washing my hair or something.
** I don't hate kids; I'm not that much of a bastard. But I do hate my in-laws when they drop unsubtle hints about grandchildren. Anyone who knows my ambivalence toward kids ought to realize I'd make an awful father. If birth control didn't exist, I'd be a virgin. And while I'm being overly dramatic, curse you Jennifer for getting me into this ridiculous footnoting habit.