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Caveat emptor

RANGE: Suburban shopping centers, inner cities, across the river, over the tracks, under new management, out of stock. Long ago, the Giant En-celadus loomed o’er the isles of Greece. Today, the Giant (Economy Size) looms o’er the aisles of grease, down at what used to be called the grocery store. There she dwells still, within a vast, windowless and weirdly lit cave, where music of a brain-softening blandness plays eternally. Into this so-called supermarket, unwitting victims are lured by means of bright colored circulars, coupons and bonuses, promotions featuring capering clowns, free samples of the mayonnaises of many lands; seduced by ads featuring amorous butchers, tissue-squeezing floorwalkers, Colombian coffee tasters; and bombarded with talking tuna, bullet-proof paper towels, one-cent sales, discounts, bargains, and other hallucinations.
HABITS: Unit pricing, metric measures, house brands, and electronic cash register Universal Product Codes are merely the latest vile wiles of this spellcasting consumer cozener. She hovers above the pyramids of cans and smiles, wickedly, as mesmerized shoppers wander in a trance, heaping their carts with jeroboams of Bog-O-Cola, firkins of freeze-dried cod tongues, familysized Treasure Chests O’ Cheese Food, and that special Stampede O’ Weenies from Hard Ridin’ Frambs’ Famous Frank Ranch, over by the sundries. She hides surprise bonus tarantulas in the bananas, Italian nose hairs in the frozen lasagna, and tacky dish towels in boxes of detergent. Customers have been known to wander, lost or confused, in her maze of merchandise for weeks; when their minds are utterly addled by the shameless display of useless products, the Giant then employs these idiots as cashiers working her express checkout counters.
HISTORY: Anyone who has had contact with the Giant (Economy Size) will have guessed at the creature’s canny and frugal Scottish heritage. Her ancestors once stomped the fog-shrouded hillsides of Scotland, dining on whole spitted sheep, oat gruel, and the occasional side of crofter’s cottage. In America, the Giant (Economy Size) presided over the white man’s early trade with Indians, in which backfiring rifles, neuro-toxic brandy and plaid bow ties were exchanged for gold bars, mountains of beaver pelts, and millions of acres of bottom land. Her motto has always been, “Manny a mickle maks a muckle,” which, translated, means, “Small things come in big packages.”
SPOTTER’S TIPS: Look for Redtide Seafood sales, buckets of turkey byproduct bargains, low quality discount purchase offers, celebrity scandal sheets, and breath mints near the cash register. You can be sure you are in the presence of this Jolly Green Giant, Economy Size, if the facial features of your fellow shoppers and those of the supermarket staff are indistinguishable from the smile buttons pinned to their lapels.


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