Monday, March 7, 2011

Small Town Girl in Tiny Town

I was born in a small town.
(Me and John Cougar Mellencamp)

This one had the least bullet holes...

I used to travel A LOT for work, and actually, a little too much, which is why I decided to go the consulting route. My travels took me to fun and interesting places like Houston, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe (a favorite!), etc.

But mostly, my travel took me to tiny towns, even smaller than the one I live in. We are talking, 10,000 population towns.

With no malls. No escalator laden department stores (OK, maybe one, but it was sad, with no escalator..and no public bathroom)

Not me, but it probably should be. 
With no Walmart. (Who am I kidding? I think they all had a Walmart.)

But most sadly...

had no Starbucks.

I have built a weird quirk about visiting small towns. I like to shop there. Its so random. They have everything...and nothing.

In last week's jaunt, I stoked my quirky obsession of going to obscure discount stores, like Pamida, Alco, etc. (Do they have these or DID they 20 years ago in your tiny town? Holla..) There is something so pleasingly depressing about these crowded, dingy retail finds. Especially when there is no bar in your hotel.

I half expected to see the Brady Bunch in here..

As I was heading into the store among a gale force wind (typical), I overheard a woman talking to another couple in the wind break entryway of the store. I smiled as I eavesdropped:

Hugely pregnant lady:  My guts had been killing me, y'know?

Couple: ((Nodding))

Lady:  So the doc said he would take a look. He put the ultrasound thing on my belly.

Couple:  ((More nodding))

Lady:  "So, I tell the doc "are you kidding me? and the doc goes "look right there...and you could see the head, the legs..EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT!

Couple:  "No way..."

Lady: I said "Oh my Gawd...get me the phone, I need to call my husband.."

sllllooooooowwww smiiille as I strolled by..

The first bit of creepy goodness is that the place is just PACKED with shit. Stuffed. Seasonal junk is stacked hip deep much too early or way too late for the season. This past week was lawn furniture and Easter baskets, during a blizzard. Most of it half unpacked. It looks like a tornado came through here. From Mr. MacGregor's

Some other tidbits:

 - There is food available in brands I have never heard of before. I recognize the food, it's regular things like brownies, and pancakes, but they appear to have been 1978.

 - There is one crazy messy sale aisle that has everything from tampons (from 1978) to lawn sprinklers...

 - The place is bursting with match and the whole place would go up. It makes me feel itchy.

This lighting is perfect!
The two teenage boys hanging around in there were the only pulse that existed in the whole place besides mine and theirs were a tad on the slow side. I am guessing weed, or just complete and utter boredom. It was eerily quiet. I think they thought I was a strange bird, scouring every section in the store as if I had been living on an island for the past 10 years. I was a Caveman from 1978, coming to claim my brownie mix, and see what's new in power tools and cheap thread count bedding. says Pamida
I bought a couple of comic books for the Baboos and some licorice sticks (from 1978) and got out of Dodge.   But not before i winked at the check out boy. You know I did it........


randune23 said...

We went to a basketball tournament in Worland. I don't think we've ever craved a Wal-Mart more to just kill time between games. Pamida seemed so 1980. I was for certain I was going to find an original Luke Skywalker action figure from STAR WARS (circa the 1970's). Too funny

The Onion said...

Randune, I have shopped Worland as well. It is a gem. Worst hotels ever, but not a shabby downtown.

Nicki said...

Pretty sure we still don't have anything remotely close to a coffee shop in my little ole hometown. You talk about paying more than a dollar for coffee and people cock their head and back away from you slowly.

Jumble Mash said...

In my town, we have not a single coffee shop, no Wal Mart, no grocery store and certainly no mall. We do have a dollar store that people think it the mall and gather to on a daily basis.

The Onion said...

Shazam Jumble! Have I been to your town? :-)

Ute said...

I LOVE small towns! And I love John Cougar Mellencamp(love that you still used the 'Cougar')..

I currently live in a small town, that has less than 1,000 people.

Before that, I lived in a rural farming town called, Jamestown. Which is in the Mid North of the state, near the Flinders Ranges in South Australia.

I was born in a small town too... moved around to a few different ones.

Kitchy goodness of small town stores are wonderful! So are the people.... you feel like you've stepped back in time! :o)

Hannah said...

My hometown had less than 1,800 and a town with 10,000 is HUGE in my mind. (Even though I now live in a town of about 26,000 I feel like I'm in the big city. lol)

My hometown has the best. downtown. ever. It's got a bunch of cute little shops with stuff you'd never find in big stores. Sometimes handmade stuff. The next town over had (well, it still does have) a Pamida. I used to love shopping there. I felt so metropolitan when I did. About the only store, aside from the little knick-knacky shops, my hometown has is the grocery store. *sigh* I love that town.

The Onion said...

I live in a state of small towns. Our largest town is just under 60k. We are one of the largest states, with one of the lowest populations, so everything is very spread out. I don't think I would mind a small town if I knew the next town over was larger. It is around a 2 hour drive to get to a town with a Target. That sucks. I would love to say we have a bunch of quaint shops, but we lack the tourist populations for such. Our town has a lot to offer, just not as a merchant. :-)

Lazarus said...

Never heard of "Pamida," sounds interesting...loved what you bought and the post was great, thanks!