Getting all hyper |

Getting all hyper

Jon de Vos / The Friday Report
Fraser, CO Colorado

Just as science discovered the ultimate particle that makes up the universe, advertising agencies are on a holy-grail quest for the ultimate hyperbolic phrase. The ultimate phrase would be one that, when uttered, makes the product’s competitors wither and perish.

Take markets, for instance. Simple markets aren’t good enough, we needed supermarkets. Next hypermarkets were devoured by ultramarkets. Then we started all over with marts. Market lost a syllable and begat marts like K-Mart and Wal-Mart.

A mart is a trading center, making Wal-Mart well named because that’s where hopeful people trade poverty-level jobs without benefits for rich people’s profits. For years we all thought the ultra-wealthy were endorsing the “Trickle Down Theory.” In the recession we listened closer to their aristocratic nasality and realized they were saying “Trickled On Theory.”

CRASH! (Long pause). Whoa! Slipped off my soapbox.

I was about to talk about big grocery stores before I interrupted myself. Let me play the husband sent to the store for dish soap and instant mashed potatoes.

Let’s see. Dish soap? Big aisle, easy to find, lots of similar items, bright colors, pick one and we’re half out of here. Wait. Lemon-lime? Fresh Scent? Original Scent? What if Original Scent is an old family formula from East Ukraine that stinks like wet chicken manure?

Should I buy the 13 ounce Convenient Size, or is it smart to get the 124 ounce Economy Size? Maybe my wife could pound the dishes out on rocks.

Bug-eyed in front of an endless array of dish soap for a significant portion of eternity, I weakly flagged down the next cart, “Lady, you gotta help! When I turn my back, would you throw a bottle of dish soap in my basket?” She looked at me nervously, grabbed a bottle without looking, threw it at me and sped off towards the produce section.

OK, one down, one to go, just get a box of instant mashed potatoes and I’m on my way home. Couldn’t be simpler. Hmm, they are not by the instant powdered milk, which is where I would put them. They’re not by the flour, or even the potato flour, and they’re not near the yams, not that I really thought they would be.

They are seemingly not in the baking or the produce section, but I better check again just to be sure. My wife thinks I’m unobservant and loves to tell strangers about the time I overlooked the frozen turkey behind a jar of mustard. Must find potato flakes. I better check the pasta section again.

On the way I pass a guy, quietly sobbing and curled fetal by the refrigerated section. He clutches at my pants cuff, one eye staring out with the intensity of a lighthouse. He croaks at me, “Must find condensed milk.” I jerked my leg free and doubled back to recheck the flour section. I hardly notice that he’s weaker than the last time I passed him.

Those husbands who go to the store to buy a couple of things and never return? They’re probably still there, collecting dust in the dish soap aisle.

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