Suwannee Democrat

Local News

November 2, 2011

Jim's addiction - The Suwannee Scribbler

Live Oak — My wife, like most women, is a “shopper.” She enjoys nothing more than browsing in stores for hours on end or visiting dozens of Internet sites…all to search out the “best deal.” And she is very good at it. In fact, I’ve often told her that she has saved us so much money, we’re broke! Lynda believes “the shopping gene” is actually in the DNA of all women. She thinks it dates  back to our days as cave dwellers….when the female wandered the forests, tasting one potential food source after another…all in the desperate hope of finding something---anything---her teething offspring would prefer to her bosom.

I, on the other hand, have historically always shopped like a man. Item needed! Item purchased! Home! Why drag my knuckles over any more parking lot asphalt than is absolutely necessary? Browsing simply wasn’t in my vocabulary. And that was my standard operating procedure for decades…until recently. You see, I have discovered Harbor Freight!

For the uninitiated, I need to explain that this corporation is a national retail chain specializing in cheap tools. In other words, what chocolate is to a woman, this company is to any man worth his athletic supporter. In fact, I suspect management is pumping Essence of Testosterone into the chain’s air conditioning  systems, just to make us poor Neanderthals feel more at home. And this is a company that really understands the masculine psyche. Visiting one of the stores is like gaining access to some male hoarder’s garage. Product displays are more like product “heaps” and we like it that way…thank you very much!

To be honest, I am stunned and confused by my addiction to this company…for that is what it seems to have become. You see, while I am always involved in one construction project or another, that doesn’t mean I am any good. It simply means that I am too much of a penny pincher to call anyone who actually knows what he or she is doing…at least until my efforts have proven disastrous.

But despite my lack of “Do It Yourself Acumen,” I love this chain. I am constantly searching newspapers and magazines looking for the company’s discount coupons.  Heck, as tightfisted as I am, I even shelled-out an extra twenty-bucks for a one year membership in the company’s “Inside Track Club.” Now granted, this unusually liberal attitude with my wallet may have had a little something to do with the cute teenaged girl at the cash register, who assured me a man of my “technical sophistication” really needed to be a member of this elite group…consisting of no more that 12-million other guys. And so, I now race to my computer every Wednesday morning, just to see what new and exciting exclusive sales are being offered to us “special folk.” The fact that I don’t know how to use half the tools being advertised---nor what another 40 percent of them are even used for---is no great deterrent. In my addicted state, I seem to think that I need to own at least one of each.

Having said that, I should tell you that I am now seeking help. My decision was made after I told my wife that I really needed to purchase a barrel hand pump that was on sale… although I own no barrels. (Do you know anybody wanting to sell one cheap? It might make Lynda stop laughing.)

At any rate, I’ve heard rumors that I’m not alone with my addiction. And although I don’t know if this is true---a support group is supposedly being formed over in Jacksonville. I had planned to attend one of the purported meetings, until I heard it would be taking place in the back room of some big box hardware outlet. But honestly now, isn’t that really like holding an AA meeting in a bar?

Jim lives in Live Oak.

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