Sunday, November 13, 2005

Country drive to urban hell

There's no Sunday Shopping in Nova Scotia, so the week's worth of errands have to be crammed in to a Saturday. Last week, we endured a trip to Bayers Lake Business Park to pick up some necessary bargains at Wal-Mart and do the week's grocery shopping at the Atlantic Superstore next door. This place is like any other car-dominated big-box retail strip anywhere you can think of, 'cept instead of being surrounded by low-density subdivisions, it's surrounded by trees. It's familiar and weird but aggravating nonetheless. If you've been to Wal-Mart on a Saturday, you know. Imagine going to Wal-Mart on a Saturday when there's no Sunday. You dig? Parking was insane. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The inspiration for this post is the Armdale Rotary. Now, I'm not much of a driver. Straight lines are good. Right turns, I can handle. Left turns aren't too bad if there's a light. But Halifax has this thing called the Rotary. It's not like a traditional European roundabout like the ones we saw in France during the Big Spring Trip. Those were actually kind of cool, especially the big one in Paris. They made sense, and actually made me think Toronto should have some. Well, somewhere along the line, someone must've misinterpreted the logic behind a roundabout and in 1955 built the Armdale Rotary. I've been through it a few times as a passenger and still have no idea how it's supposed to work, except that there's a lot of yielding, some stopping, and white-knuckled cutting across multiple lanes of spinning traffic. Another mind ponders the tao of "Yield and Proceed" with pictures and poetry. But they're not done with it yet. Last year, the CBC reported a provincial committee was set up to look at changing the rules for the Rotary. With my luck, by the time I finally understand the rules, they'll change 'em. Which reminds me ... I gotta get a Nova Scotia driver's license. And health card. Been here a month and a half and I'm still just crawlin' through the days!

Anyway, back to Wal-Mart to return an under-the-sink trashcan solution that solved nothing. Customer Service was mercifully quick in handing over the loot. Bought new trashcans, bins for my socks 'n undies, new dishwasher-safe saucepans and a more sensible map book. By the time we got to the checkout, our will to live was fading like the daylight outside. Nice checkout lady asks "And how are you today?" so I respond, "Entirely sick of being here, thank you." "Me too," she says, "I've been here since 10am and haven't had a lunch break yet." By now it was nearing 4, I think, so I reponded, "Oh my. Did I hear someone say 'unionize'? Or do sirens go off if that happens?" She looked kinda grim.

We got outta there and hit the Atlantic Superstore. They're like the Real Canadian Superstores in Ontario, 'cept they're Atlantic, dontchaknow. Hrm. No major complaints aside from it being crowded to the point of traffic jams in the aisles, and little rugrats were running through the isles just beggingto be run over by my cart. Highlight of the trip, though, making a list of stuff-we're-not-buying-today-but-I-wanna-try. Love the BlackBerry.

The trip also included a visit to Future Shop. I hate Future Shop. Maybe "hate" is too strong a word -- I don't hate it like I hate my arch-nemesis Smokey Robinson, or Nickelback, or Brussels' Sprouts. But as retailers go, I don't like shopping there. I feel dirty when I do, but sometimes the deals are too good to pass up. But much like when I order KFC and feel remorseful upon finishing the final drumstick, I ask myself -- why the hell did I come here? They had Maxell CDR 100-packs on sale for $34.99. Good deal. If they had them. They didn't have them. I managed to find the shelf tag, where there would've been room for about four spindles if they had any. The bad-breathed staff guy who someone from another department tracked down for me wanted to help, but they stock no other 100-stacks of CDRs, so he couldn't make a substitution. The only other thing I wanted to buy isn't available 'cuz I neglected to read that it doesn't come out 'til later this week, so, my bad. I rejoined Amanda as she shopped for clothes.

And the adventure at Bayers Lake began with attempting to satisfy our hunger with our first meal at McDonald's in nearly two months. I've had Wendy's and Burger King since moving, but this place isn't crawling with McDondaldses. This one looked new and different -- it's a movie-themed, shoebox-shaped/sized McDo's. Marquee out front, and "movie" lights and filmstrip-themed decor inside. Big screens showing YTV. Clearly not for adults. Big line-ups, too. Giant ad for Rolo Triple-Thick Shakes on the menu board, but they insisted they don't have shakes. I believe 'em, 'cuz they don't show up on the menu anywhere else. Nice environmental effort, though -- three garbage bins, for paper products, organic (compostable) and plain ol' trash. Not that the patrons followed, but, whatever.

By the time we got home, it was dark. And we really miss Sunday Shopping. I'm glad these big box stores are here, but I really hope we don't have to go back to them very often.


  1. I'd go NUTS without Sunday Shopping. That's crazy, man. Is Nova Scotia particularly religious? It must be if this is still on the books...

  2. 2.5hr drive up here to Moncton for Sunday shopping.

    Probably save you time in the long run, if you factor in line waiting time.

  3. I don't think it's a really religious thing. I've heard it has more to do with the rural areas having a bigger say than the people in the cities. They had a plebiscite (sp?) on the issue not long ago, and 55% voted against Sunday shopping. Ridiculous. Seems even crazier now that cities in NB are activaly advertising for NS shoppers.

  4. I broke out in hives just picturing Walmart on a Saturday when there is no Sunday shopping.