The Old Coot is thinking outside the box

All I buy are boxes. I’d rather buy “stuff” but stuff isn’t for sale. Just boxes. It’s a new world; I can’t even guess how long it’s been this way; it’s been a gradual change. You can’t buy things – you buy boxes, packages and hope the things inside are what you want. Not everything is like that; you can pick up an apple and examine it. You can try on clothes. You can test drive a car, but a lot of merchandise is boxed up, often with insufficient information printed on the carton. “How wide is it?” No answer. “Are the handles rubber?” No answer. Then comes the BIG question, to yourself, “Should I open the box and find out?” 

I go that way sometimes, using the principle, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” I can only do this if the merchandise is in an agreeable container or I have the equipment necessary to open a box that is glued and stapled or to take on an item in a shrink-wrapped body suit. That’s when I’m forced to start the “get permission” process and try to find a clerk. I swear they hang out in a break room, watching us on security cameras and falling out of their chairs laughing as we hold a “locked” box and impatiently look around the store for help, trying to decide if it’s worth the risk to free the item from prison or to buy it as is and return it later if it doesn’t meet our needs. Even at home, with an illegal burglar tool-kit, it’s hard to get something out of modern-day packaging, especially if you are trying to preserve the prison, so you can return the item to the “Box” store.

If you go the other way, and decide to open the box in the store without permission, you feel paranoid. At least I do. So, you go about the breaking and entering process like a thief, hoping you don’t get caught and the store doesn’t have a “You break it, you buy it” policy that applies to both the merchandise and container. 

You’ve got options. But none come easy. “Get a clerk to open it. Buy it and return it. Open it yourself.” Or talk yourself out of making the purchase entirely; saying to yourself, “I don’t need it that bad.” The country is full of Big Box Stores, full of little boxes. That’s made my favorite shopping choice, the ever-present national chain outlet called, “Garage Sale,” or its subsidiary, “Yard Sale”. They let you see, touch and try out sale items. Someone is right there to answer your questions and best of all; they are often willing to negotiate the price. There is one problem with these merchants – they don’t accept Visa. But nothing comes in a box!

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