I understand. It IS more fun when I bitch and am not annoyingly aglow with happiness and shit.
And so thank god there's Michaels.
Yeah, never thought I'd ever say that sentence either. For the same reason YOU never say, "Thank god there's Michaels." and that is because the place fucking sucks.
Like in the actual real sense of the word, "sucks", because it sucks the ever-loving life force right out of you just thinking of going into the store. Does it not?
I know it does for me.
And then there's the actual going INTO the store and then shopping there and then trying to find something that YOU KNOW they have because you've bought it from them before but OH they've decided to rearrange the store in order to make room for the all-encompassing Christmas bullshittery that has expanded into every corner of the store regardless of the time of year and you can't find it but for the searching to the bone you're doing and you'll be good god damned if you're going to ask any of their homicidal/suicidal/hating the ground you stand on "customer service associates" since they don't know anything more than when their next break is so all they're going to tell you is that they "don't carry that. Sorry." as they jam a cigarette into the corner of their mouth and eyeball the front door.
Yeah. You see what I'm getting at here. This is a rant about Michaels, which I believe should be "Michael's", with an apostrophe indicating possession because I doubt there's a big group of men named Michael all bought in on this one soul-crushing craft store chain, but whatever. That's just one reason that this store may be the first one in the history of my shopping to have all of its employees punched in the face during a single one of my visits and I'd feel fully justified in doing so just for not being able to use an apostrophe like a normal person.
Let's take last Sunday, for example.
I needed some small Kraft paper envelopes, handled boxes and some plastic zipper bags for an event I'm doing next weekend and they're the only ones in the whole wide world who typically carry these things aside from Amazon where I wouldn't be able to lay my hands on the items to make sure that they were the right dimensions, etc.
So, over the course of the week leading up to the weekend, I came to terms with the fact that I was going to have to go to Michaels.
Drags a person down, that thought. I mean, the word, "dread", doesn't even begin to cover it.
So, I did what any normal person would do - I hunted for any possible way to avoid having to go to Michaels.
I contemplated just buying Ziploc bags at the grocery store. I considered taking two of my products off the roster for the upcoming event. I thought about driving Duchess into a bridge abutment.
You know - the normal things you might do to avoid having to do something that you know you're going to hate.
Alas, I made it to Sunday - my last possible day to get this done before the busy work/school/work some more week began - without procuring my supplies by any alternate means.
I became sad. Despondent. Pathetic, if we're being honest. And then when Bubba so kindly offered to take us to lunch, I asked if he would be willing to make an extra stop on the way home.
"Uh...what's the stop?", he asked with eyes darting to the exits.
"Well, you don't have to go in. Just wait for me in the parking lot. I just need to run in for three things really quick.", as I smile innocently all the while knowing that Michaels is to him what Fry's is to me. Which is to say that it is the most annoying pile of shit with a lid on it that's sure to break your spirit and send you home bald from the hair ripping.
"Uh...what's the stop?"
He was on to me. I had to just give in. Say it all casually as though I hadn't just prefaced the stop with an offer to just stay in the car.
"Oh, just Michaels, babe. But you don't have to go in."
I am pretty sure I saw his gag reflex activate.
"Uh, no thank you." Smart man, that Bubba.
"Yeah. I don't want to go either. Fuck it. Let's not go. I'll figure something else out. I hate it there so much. I'll go later by myself so that the murder/suicide rampage I'm sure to go on won't also be on your shoulders."
Well, long story shortish - we went.
And it was awful.
They had full shelves of every kind of handled box EXCEPT the color I needed. No, that shelf was completely bare bones empty because they can't stock the store for shit and you can't find anyone to get a stock box down from the tippy top shelf unless you have the gall to start dragging over one of their rolling ladders and then they'll just have you arrested for...I don't know...ladder hijacking.
They did have the Kraft envelopes that I needed, so I hungrily grabbed three packages of them because I knew KNEW that next time I came back they'd be all, "No, ma'am - we've never carried anything like that. Are you sure you're not looking for a really expensive and shittily constructed custom picture frame? Because those are over there in the Christmas section that's all around you." Then when I got to the cash register, after wading through the queue lined with candy from the 1900s and Cheap Crap Bonanza items, I realized that because they can't stock their shelves for shit, the middle package of envelopes I was holding was neon green instead of Kraft colored because they can't stock their shelves for shit, etc.
Then there were the bags. OH THE MOTHER FUCKING BAGS.
People, they're just clear plastic zipper bags. They're not fancy. They come 100 to a package, they're, like, 5"x8" or something and they've always been in the aisle with the adhesives and shit (though, why?) hanging there in 6 or so sizes.
It's historically been the easy part of my hell trips to Michaels. I save "Get bags" for last on my shopping list because at least that way I'll have something to look forward to after fumfering around the fucking store for 45 minutes looking for something they should totally have but apparently don't, like a small wooden crate (which they now stock, by the way) or small glass jars with cork stoppers.
But now they've taken this away from me, too, along with my spirit, sanity and faith in humanity.
To say that I went on a ranting, raving, arm-throwing, aggravated stomp through the store looking angrily and aggressively for the bags/a person to punch in the throat is only a minor exaggeration. I mean, it was basically all of that without the arm-throwing because I was carrying everything else I'd rustled up and I sure as shit wasn't going to lose it and have to go back for it.
Finally, after many trips up and down all the aisles it SHOULD have been in, then the aisles parallel to those aisles and then the aisles where it's NEVER been - I finally spotted the bags on a sort of corner end cap next to the wedding stuff.
Because apparently all brides-to-be need a wide selection of clear plastic zipper bags from which to choose. For their wedding. OF COURSE WHATEVER JUST GIVE ME THE FUCKING BAGS LET'S GO.
But no. Nothing was hanging in the right spot, so I had to check the actual bags for sizes and then settle for the one bag of the right size that had a ripped open package because it was the only one left in The Store That No One Stocks UGH.
I stood in line for a while, as one always does at Michaels, and to the tune of every Muzak version of soft rock song from the 80s, I contemplated this shitshow that they like to call "Where Creativity Happens".
You know what kind of creativity happens here, for me?
I imagine creating nooses out of festive fake autumn leaf garlands.
I fantasize about crafting gallows out of balsa wood and decorating them with all of the horrifically pungent faux flower arrangements garishly stuffed into the aisles where real shit that people want to buy should be and then marching the employees down said gallows to their merciless deaths.
I visualize burying the staff in overpriced Martha Stewart hole punches and wine tasting party glass markers and four-to-a-package notecards for $25 and making them beg for their lives while I stand over them on a pedestal constructed from stacked $1 bins waving their biggest metal knitting needles.
I also think about building a fort out off all of the off-brand old-timey candy boxes in the checkout line (Rootbeer barrels? Ribbon candy? Oh, really.), lying down and taking a nap in the inexplicably empty shelves and riding the rolling ladder to freedom - just so that you don't think I'm a total psycho.
I mean, I would never do bodily harm to someone in the name of hating a store, but MAN DO I GET CLOSE at Michaels.
So close, in fact, that I'm sure that one day I'll be able to come home and tell Bubba, "Bubba - I just punched everyone in the face at Michaels."
And he'll just nod knowingly and give me a high five.
Phew. I feel better. You feel free to release your Michaels demons, too, now.