Sunday, November 25, 2007

J.C. Penney's- the horror

We're heading back to California next weekend with a stop in Santa Fe for the Film Festival there. Jon's movie Searchers 2.0 is playing there, and Jon's supposed to do q&as after the screening. Our clothes have gotten pretty ratty over the last two months, and he thought maybe he could get a nice sweater at J.C. Penney's when we were in Montrose for groceries.

The store is brand new and we hadn't been in it before. I'd heard that Penney's has more stylish clothes than in the old days. Where did I hear that?

There was an old fashioned red ambulance parked out front of the store, and a Salvation Army woman ringing her bell. I thought maybe the ambulance was some sort of Santa thing, maybe Santa comes in an ambulance at J.C. Penney's.

We entered the store and were greeted by a very wide young man who urged us to go to the left, around the sparkly cosmetic aisle. That was because a thin Scandanavian man with a beard was lying on the floor surrounded by emergency technicians. His eyes were closed and he was moaning and something was dripping from his mouth. I don't stare at things like this, but one quick glance over and I took it all in. Families were standing around watching the scene.

The store made me think of my own line from "Quasi at the Quackadero": "There certainly are a lot of weirdos out today." This was a whole different crowd from the Target shoppers seen next door, even from the Walmart shoppers across the street.

An obese woman with a ring in her lip walked with her scrawny country grandma, feeling merchandise. "Isn't this cute?" "It sure is." Again, where's my camera hat? Her pants drooped down in back so you could see more than you wanted.

I saw a guy folding pants, with a tag around his neck, so it was likely he worked there, but not a sure thing. I asked him if they sold digital camera memory cards.

When he turned to look at me, I swear he looked just like the guy in the picture above, from a 1977 J.C.Penney's catalog that's circulating the internet. (thanks Sally G) except the top of his hair was dyed light puke green.

I wondered if he'd stopped to help the guy on the floor.

He was totally unsophisticated looking, a farm boy, with this puke green hair on top. He told me where the digital memory cards were sold, and I wandered along and found out they don't sell them.

The clothes were so ugly in the store that they were almost appealing. I saw this cowboy type wandering around and thought maybe I'd follow him to the more interesting men's clothes. He was wearing a cowboy hat that seemed to fit him, but not boots, running shoes, and later I noticed he was carrying a woman's shoulder bag and was quite alone.

It seems men don't even wear nice sweaters in Montrose. They don't sell them. Everything is sweatshirts tshirts and hoodies. This one tshirt of a Mexican wrestler with tattoo swirls and sticky plastic trim really had me touching and feeling. eek. I spent some time reading the t shirt messages which weren't so clever. "Here I am Now what were your other two wishes?" "every day is game day."

As we were leaving the store, the man on the floor was gone, and someone was pushing a modernistic mop machine which looked a lot like the Hoover shoes and might be fun to drive, if you weren't cleaning up who knows what.

The ambulance was gone, Santa hadn't showed, and there was a new Salvation Army bell ringer on duty.

disclaimer: not meant to mock the people of Montrose- the whole world is observing casual 24-7, but this was one ugly store.


Namowal said...

When I first saw that picture I mistook it for a wall mural and thought, Nooooooo!
In Montrose the J.C. must stand for "Junk Cluster" or "Jerkwater Circus"
What a strange crowd!

Sally said...

Ha, funny about the mural. Looking at it again, it does look like a mural.

sally g said...

Glad you found the catalog! I was going to send you a link if you needed it.

Katy said...

You described the shopping horror....thank you. I do love a shopping story because I don't like shopping. Sweatshirts rather than sweaters....Country punk sales associates...Sick customers...

Linda said...

For Tom, "J.C. Penney's-the horror" was the fact that his dad was a career J.C. Penny's store manager. In jr. high, Tom could never wear Bass Weejuns like everybody else; he had to wear J.C. Penney knock-off's. In high school, he had to work in the boys' dept, where all the mothers would try to squish their sons into slim pants, no matter how round their sons were. (Remember Slim, Regular and Husky?)
p.s. Did Jon ever find a sweater, or did he decide to field questions in that tshirt of a Mexican wrestler with tattoo swirls?
I kind of like "Here I am Now what were your other two wishes?" (Sick! In a GOOD way!)

Sally said...

funny how J.C. Penney is kind of a hot button for people.

Linda, I think the boys department has long expanded past Husky! (cute term.)