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Texas | Columns | "Quips and Salsa"

Big Box Blues

by Jase Graves
Jase Graves

As I have mentioned in previous columns, I look forward to bathing-suit shopping with my daughters almost as much as major dental surgery without anesthesia. But that's exactly where I found myself recently when my youngest daughter informed me that we were a few days away from an upcoming high school end-of-year swim party, and if she didn't get a new swimsuit, she might have to wear a modified Hefty bag (which didn't sound all that bad to me).

Needless to say, I soon found myself in Target. Yes, this was before the Satanist clothing designer-Pride display debacle officially "hit the fan." I do think I saw a Pride display out of the corner of my eye, but I could have seen President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin mud wrestling—in the nude—and not been distracted. I was on a mission to find a modest bathing suit for my daughter—and then find the exit as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, I didn't consider the fact that a dad doesn't just take his daughters into a big box store like Target and purchase only one item. To complicate matters, I also brought my middle daughter, who is home from college for the summer, for moral support.

I spent the first part of this expedition leaning against a display of men's briefs while my daughters argued in the dressing room about which swimsuits I would reject for revealing too much elbow. In fact, they were in there for so long that I could have crocheted them an appropriate 1800s-style bathing gown myself.

Instead, I began pondering the potential loss of another big box store since Bed Bath & Beyond recently filed for bankruptcy. I really enjoyed shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond. It was one of the few places where I could choose from a wide selection of toilet brushes, spatulas and Mother's Day cards—sometimes all at once. Besides, the whole store smelled kind of like my wife's shower soap, which I may or may not use when I get the urge to feel refreshed and moisturized.

Once the girls came out and assured me that their swimsuit choices would be suitable for a Sunday night hymn sing at church, I tried to head to the checkout line—but they redirected me first to the pool toy section, then to the grocery section, and then to the toiletries and cosmetics.

Here is a list of our purchases (Mind you, we went in for one dad-approved bathing suit.):

-Two swimsuits (including one bikini that I told my youngest daughter I would be wearing before she does)

-Two jumbo inflatable pool floats (that someone will puncture within the week)

-A pack of strawberry lemonade green bubble tea (I'm still not exactly sure what that is.)

-Two enormous bags of gourmet popcorn with Himalayan salt (I didn't think it tasted Himalayan at all.)

-A sparkly-purple ergonomic woman's razor (I didn't ask questions.)

-A large jar of birthday-cake shea sugar body scrub (Huh?)

-Some "blush fantasy" tinted lip balm (Whatever happened to Chapstick?)

-A giant container of Extra-Strength TUMS (for me)

Once I recovered from the shock over the total on my receipt, I resolved to be grateful for the time spent with my daughters. I also promised myself that the next time someone asks me for a new swimsuit, I'm heading to Walmart for some Hefty bags.
Jase Graves
"Quips and Salsa" 5-30-2023 column



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