WE were at Walmart the other day looking for those 50-pound sacks of Great Value mac & cheese when the twins, Breanna and Brandon, saw the Halloween aisle. Technically, they’re not twins nor even related and they’re a year apart, but the foster agency dropped them off on the same day (and I can only remember so many damn birthdays).
Anyway, Breanna’s little face lighted up when she saw this costume…
…so I bought it for her, but I cautioned her, just as you would, “You don’t just go as a witty leopard because the costume’s ‘pretty’ and you ‘like kitty cats.’ There’s a certain expectation that goes with such an outfit.”
I gave her a list of eighty or so clever bon mots, cutting remarks and pithy aphorisms from Dorothy Parker that I pulled off the internet, sent her to the nursery to study them, and told her I’d begin drilling her on them the next morning.
Seems the five-year-old bit off more than she could chew – turns out she hasn’t even learned to read yet. Obviously, there’s no way in hell she could pull off a “witty leopard.” She began crying hysterically despite my assurance she had nothing to worry about, that instead we’d throw a sheet over her with a couple of eyeholes cut out (which was somewhat fitting because that godawful wailing is perfect for a ghost).
Little Brandon did his best to console her. “There are only two tragedies in life,” he told her. “One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it – Oscar Wilde.”
So guess who gets to go as our witty leopard!
IT SEEMS that everyone’s favorite home improvement superstore/juggernaut, Home Depot, was in the news this past week.
No no no, I’m not referring to the embarrassing spectacle of the guy proposing to his boyfriend in the lumber aisle of the Salt Lake City, Utah location…
Hey! Hold on there! Let me finish!
It’s embarrassing because – settle down! – it’s embarrassing because we now live in an age where a guy can propose to his boyfriend in public with an elaborate choreographed dance sequence…
…and that boyfriend’s first thought is not to cherish the moment, but rather – despite the obvious presence of cameras and boom mics capturing the entire affair from multiple angles – to take out his cell phone to record it.
No, I’m talking about this other Home Depot story.
Here’s the gist: A guy and his pal (to whom he presumably didn’t propose) were getting lumber at Home Depot, put on some $3.99 work gloves to handle the wood, took them off before paying and placed them on top of the cart of wood. The cashier rang up the rest of the $1,445 worth of merchandise (but missed the gloves) and when the customer pushed the cart outside, he was stopped by security and accused of shoplifting. Now, according to a lawsuit, the law firm that represents Home Depot is shaking down this guy and other alleged shoplifters for hundreds of dollars (thereby settling the claims rather than making them face litigation).
What a headache! Believe me, pal, you don’t need that kind of trouble!
Regardless of who did what in that situation, I’m here to offer a little primer illustrating just what you can and cannot take from Home Depot so as to not run afoul of their security guards and battery of attorneys!
Let’s get started!
Paver stone ‘inspiration book’ – FREE!
Paver stones – NOT FREE! (Unless you’re wearing cargo pants with really big pockets.)
Plastic bags – FREE!
These neat PVC fittings that you can put in plastic bags – NOT FREE!
Bird Repeller – NOT FREE!
Bird – FREE! (But ya gotta catch ‘im first, and brother, if you can, you’re eatin’ well tonight!)
128 ounces of Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover – NOT FREE!
Little 4″ x 4″ carpet samples you can tape or glue over practically any stain – FREE!
Salt – FREE! (Outside, by contractors’ exit at the food truck that sells gyros)
Salt – NOT FREE! (Inside, along the back wall. I know, it makes no sense whatsoever. Make up your mind, Home Depot!)
Free-standing shelves – Despite the name, surprisingly NOT FREE! (Exception: when they leave them outside by the nursery area after they take the plants in for the night, it’s three a.m., the store’s closed and it’s pouring rain, like coming down in sheets. I mean, seriously, who’s going to come after you?)
For sale sign – FREE! (Offering a ‘for sale’ sign for sale is like a paradox that cancels itself out or something. I read it in an Asimov book once. Either that or the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that selling them was illegal. One or the other. Exception: When you explain all that and the cashier looks at you dubiously and says “I have to call a manager.”)
Temporary use of this handsaw – FREE!
Permanent use of this power saw – NOT FREE! (A shame too, because it’s a real beauty, isn’t it? Yep, a reeeal beaut. Wouldn’t that look great on my work bench? You know, Christmas is just a few months away…)
Cell phone app – FREE!
Donuts so you can get the premium characters and buildings – NOT FR— Oh wait, wrong app.
Overpriced snacks – NOT FREE! (Unless you manage to eat them before you get to the checkout. No easy feat, because they’re at the checkout. But who cares – you’re having squab for dinner, remember?)
Reasonably priced carriage bolts – ALSO NOT FREE! (Unless you manage to eat them before you get to the checkout. You’ll have a little more time here – they’re in the middle of aisle 37, but chew quickly!)
Well, I think you get the idea.
The fact is, while the folks at Home Depot may seem like real hard-asses for making people pay for, oh, the majority of their merchandise…
(including these yard sticks featuring their name which the local Mom & Pop hardware stores they ran out of business used to give away for free)
…they still do offer a bunch of magnificent freebies – you just need to know where to look!
Brochures galore! FREE!
In-Home Installation! FREE! (Just make sure the installers don’t see that back patio you built with all those paver stones.)
Paint chips! FREE!
Estimate On Your Windows! FREE!
Flooring samples! FREE!
Shlate Shingle Shamples! FREE!
And there’s stuff all over the store like this! I mean, just look at the haul from just my last visit!
It’s like Halloween and I’m trick-or-treating in the good neighborhood!
Anyway, now that you know what you are and are not expected to pay for at Home Depot, shop with confidence, friend! And now I can get back to work installing hardwood laminate in the kitchen!
If my measurements are correct, just 1,697 more trips to their flooring department and this project is done!
AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, I like to leave you each Friday with a little something to consider over the next few days – an idea, a prayer, a hope for you and yours, or just a good thought to keep positive energy flowing your way.
I was in a shopping center recently and I came across a business that really made me stop and think.
“Miss Donuts”?! Yeah, that’s all I do ever since I been on that diet, hoo boy!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!
Listen, you toss that one out this weekend during a lull in conversation at the Kritchmans’ annual Labor Day cookout and you’ve cemented your place as the Patton Oswalt of the neighborhood! You’re welcome!
WELL, we were fresh out of chandeliers this morning at home, so it was up to me to pick up a new box at Costco on the way home from the gym today. Boy, nothing says class like a chandelier from a warehouse club, and buying ‘em in bulk saves us time and money.
Costco makes it easy! Just heave it off the pallet, strap it to your pack mule and start back on the long trek up front to any one of two open registers! (Three if Yolanda’s back from break!)
On my trip there, I must admit I was surprised – at first, anyway – at what I passed along the way.
Then I realized, yes, of course! It’s August!
It’s 100 degrees in the shade!
Why the hell wouldn’t they have the Christmas stuff out already?!
We got your postcard last month!
And the other one arrived last week!
However, you addressed them to a gal who – thankfully for her! – never lived in the filthy toilet that is Los Angeles. Nor has she ever used my post office box as her mailing address.
See, turns out you’ve sent ’em to me sainted mudder who perhaps surprisingly does not fit Justice’s ideal demographic: a girl who is between the ages of 7 and 14 and not dead.
Not quite sure how Mom ended up on your mailing list – and with a California address, no less – considering that when she was alive, she lived 2,200 miles away and most recently was in her seventies. And that was over four years ago. Did you get bad information from NSA?
And when she was still with us, Mom tended to shop for clothes during the Senior Discount Days at the Bealls Outlet in the shopping center next to Publix (right by the Elephant’s Trunk Thrift Store that her creeepy son used to like going to when he visited).
But I appreciate the heads up on the 40% off sale – I’ve been meaning to pick up another coupla pairs of those Striped Super-Cozy Soft Butter Socks.
My feet thank you!
SOME of the most enriching times of my life are the hours and hours and hours I spend each week answering online surveys for market research companies. My input helps the real movers and shakers of the business world fine-tune old, trusted products and gauge the market for new ones.
Not only that, but I do just a couple hundred of them or so and I earn enough points to redeem for a $5 gift card for Red Robin!
How do I find the time to make my valuable opinions known? Well, this actual question (and my answer) from a recent poll about sausage of all things may be able to shed some light on all of that!
AND the list continues to grow.
Today a seventeenth woman has accused embattled San Diego mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment.
Janet Wood, a florist from Santa Monica, California, has stated that Filner once “chased her around the kitchen table” and directed her to “slow down so I can catch ya.”
She offered as proof photographs of the ordeal.
Update: Whoops! Thanks to eagle-eyed reader Arlene H. who pointed out that these are merely screen caps from the Three’s Company episode “Jack’s Graduation” which features the similarly (allegedly) lecherous character Dean Travers, the headmaster of the cooking school attended by Jack Tripper.
Travers was played by character actor William Pierson who bears a striking resemblance to San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.
That’s Pierson on the left, Filner on the right. I think. You can see how I’d make such a mistake.
We regret the error.
CONTRARY to popular belief, Mr. Whiskers, though old and gray, can apparently still move fast enough to take down one of our fine feathered friends.
And how nice of him to leave the leftovers on the back stoop, where I walked out this morning, barefoot, and, eh, found it. Oh, believe me, there was more to my gift, but Mr. W’s the modest sort, and so he asked I not photograph the legs and entrails, which I understand is a delicacy. Just apparently not to cats.
He’s a giver, Mr. Whiskers, is.
Why, just last month he also left one of his trademark elongated hairball/Friskies Buffet vomit sausages for me. On the car.
“What a nice fellow, your Mr. Whiskers,” you say. “Placing it, as he did, precisely where it can be flung free with just a convenient swipe of the wiper blade.”
Oh no. As evidenced by the smear trail on my windshield, he horked it out on the edge of the roof and it slowly sliiiiid down.
DON’T worry, folks – I know these posts are coming a bit erratically lately, but I’m still alive.
I’m down here…on the floor. Finally woke up with my usual Friday morning hangov– eh, migraine, and it occurred to me: oh yeah, the San Diego Comic Con is this weekend. It somehow snuck up on me yet again and as usual, I have no material ready for it.
Join me, won’t you, in revisiting last year’s Comic Con post which my regular, what?, six readers all agree is “the only mildly amusing thing you’ve ever posted on this crap website of yours.” Yes, all six of you made that exact same observation, sure.
Oh, you know things have taken a sad turn over at Ted Parsnips Dot Com when I’ve resorted to linking to old posts! Yep, wonnn’t be long now before this domain is available once again at GoDaddy!
If you’re like me, you don’t have the swimming skills, upper body strength, CPR training or six-pack to become a lifeguard on one of Southern California’s beautiful, trash-strewn beaches. Nor do you likely have the dedication to work towards achieving any of these things. And for what, really? The chance to swim out in cold, polluted water, dodging stingrays and sharks just to drag some fat-ass back to shore who somehow managed to fall off his trendy paddleboard right smack between a riptide and an undertow? Who the hell needs it?!
That’s why I was thrilled when I found this at TJ Maxx the other day.
Two-day lifeguard certification class: $140 and a weekend shot to hell – and there’s no guarantee I’d pass.
Boogie board with the word ‘Lifeguard’ on it: $9.99.
Yeah, I think I made the right choice.
Now I can head out to Zuma with this slung over my shoulder and impress the entire beach-going public without even getting wet. And once those military dog tags I bought on eBay arrive, people’ll really stop and take notice.
This is going to be the best summer ever!