Coffee heat rising

Shopping Adventure in the Absence of Instacart…

In the “How Dumb Can You Get?” department, today I believe I scored a gold medal for Olympic how-dumbness.

This morning I decided nothing would do but what I must drive up to Costco so as to purchase, among other things, two pair of size 12 blue jeans in my favorite brand: Gloria Vanderbilts. My usual size 8s and 10s no longer fit, after the extended period of sedentary solitude occasioned by covid confinement and then by the broken shoulder.

I had tried to put an order through Instacart to achieve this purchase, but ran into an Olympic-sized snafu, and a chucklehead who barely spoke English as their excuse for customer service. After this jerk put me on hold with obnoxious Muzak blasting into my ear at high decibels, I hung up and went on about my way.

Now, if you had been here, you would’ve reminded me that today is Good Friday. And yes, that would be the Friday before Easter, the first big holiday we’ve had in over a year for which large numbers of people imagine that it’s probably-sort-of-kind-of safe to get together with their families. Right?

Pissed as hell with Instacart — whose employee has now become aware that I have checked out and has begun to harass me with nuisance telephone calls — I clamber into the dog chariot and head on up toward Costco, over Phoenix’s homicidal surface streets.

There must’ve been a thousand people inside that store along about 11 AM. I exaggerate not. This store has an enormous parking lot and almost every space was filled. I parked next to a sporting goods store that occupies the pad just to the north of the Costco’s. Under the best circumstances, any given Costco is crowded and hectic. But when the stores are really crowded, they morph into Sites of Nightmare.

So there I am inside this concrete cave trying to get from point A to point B through churning mobs of people, each one of whom believes that she or he is the only person in the place  and navigates accordingly.

Turns out that it was a good thing the scheme to deploy an Instacart runner was foiled. If any such soul  had been sent forth into the fray to try to find a pair of Glorias, they would’ve been flummoxed. Apparently, Costco has decided to quit carrying Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, one of the very few brands that accommodates the rear ends of aging women. All that was left were the sad dregs of their last shipment, clearly meant to be the LAST shipment.

Hell and damnation!

Eventually I decided to experiment with a couple pairs of Buffalo jeans by David Bitton. These are made of stretchy tencel — no, not the desired denim, but the stretch might give them an outside chance of sorta-maybe-kinda fitting. I buy denim jeans for a simple reason: I do not want to live in stretchy athletic tights! I like saggy baggy comfortable jeans. That is why I like Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.


An hour of banging from one wall to the next wall to the next wall to the next wall inside the Costco eventually elicits the dog’s treats, a roast chicken, no make-up of any interest whatsoever, a bottle of cheap Portuguese wine, a box of grapes, a box of Campari tomatoes, a chunk of cheddar cheese, a chunk of blue cheese, a box of blueberries, and…some other stuff, I’m sure. A lengthy stand in line transfers ownership of these items to me and finally I am out the door.

Escape into one’s vehicle is most surely not escape from the madding hordes — this is being, after all, lovely Phoenix: capitol of the lunatic Arizona driver.

I’m making my way home by surface streets, electing not to risk my fellow homicidal drivers’ lives with a one-handed jaunt down the freeway. Incredibly, the southbound I -17 has been detoured onto Conduit of Blight Boulevard! No kidding: four lanes of 70-mile-an hour-traffic is pouring onto a surface street best described as “annoying” during its better moments.  Conduit of Blight is aptly named in the map of my personal geography. It passes through some of the dreariest agèd ticky-tacky in the city. Naturally, the residents are out and about, and — typically– one of them is tooling along blasting everyone around him with his boombox. Literally, the bastard has got the thing blasting so loud that even with all the windows in my car closed, each THUMP from his bass speaker causes my rear-view mirror mirror to vibrate!

This lovely serenade follows me all the way down to Gangbanger’s Way, where I hang a left, dodge away from the bastard, and whip into the ‘Hood. This, need I remind you, is why I do not carry a pistol in my car.

What a place!

4 thoughts on “Shopping Adventure in the Absence of Instacart…”

  1. I hope Costco does not quit carrying Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. That is all I have bought for years also. In the past I did see them at Penney’s but I haven’t been there in awhile. My problem with jeans has always been if it fits my waist , it doesn’t fit my hips. And vice a versa. So I always measured the waist of a size 12 to see if it was a larger one. It could vary by an inch or so.
    At least you could check online to see if anyone else carries then. But the price won’t be as good as Costco.
    A niece is getting married in May and I just realized I need something besides my casual stay at home clothes to wear. I’m sure anything nice I have won’t fit because of the pounds from staying at home. And then there’s shoes. My feet can’t handle the dressy shoes I used to wear.

    • Yup. Same here. Most jeans are made for young girls, not for grown women. That’s why I love Glorias. You can buy them on Amazon.

      In the shoes department, if you know your size and you have some money, try this outfit: Many of these items are also available, at less bracing prices, from Amazon.

  2. Stayed in an Airbnb (big house with pool) in Scottsdale last week. Came from 29 degrees the day we left home to the most beautiful weather – perfect temperatures. Very impressed with AJ’s Fine Foods – had a lot of fun shopping there and left a lot of our money there as well! We mostly kept to ourselves around the pool, but ventured out once to Best Buy in Phoenix (Tempe Best Buy out of stock of what we needed). As we drove around Phoenix I kept wondering if we were on Gangbanger’s Way or Conduit of Blight Boulevard!

    • LOL! If you were in Scottsdale, you escaped CofB and GB’s Way. 😀

      Conduit of Blight (an accurately descriptive nickname) is 19th Avenue. It marks the easternmost border of the west side, which is largely blight in one state or another of deterioration until you get out around 99th to 103rd Avenue. Gangbanger’s Way is Dunlap Avenue, which marks the border between Sunnyslope (a potentially cool historic district if it weren’t colonized by biker gangs, apartment houses that rent to sex offenders on probation, and welfare clients) and the top end of the ritzy North Central district.

      Realtors will, if they trust you to keep your mouth shut, tell you never to buy west of 15th Avenue, a minor arterial that runs from Dunlap all the way to the area of the state capitol complex, downtown.

      Because housing prices are going into orbit here, largely thanks to the influx of escaping Californians who have NO concept of reasonable prices, the ‘Hood and the two Richistans — small middle- and upper-clase enclaves — have been discovered by young families led by parents who are professionals and business executives. Additionally, probably because of pressure from upscale North Central residents, the high school that serves this area — formerly one that no middle-class American parent in their right mind would consider for the kids — has morphed into the highest-performing public high school in the country. Result: more attraction for young high earners who revile the thought of hour-long commutes into the central commercial districts.

      This makes the ‘Hood and the Richistans, combined, the northernmost and westernmost upper-middle-class neighborhoods in the central city: your basic definition of “gentrification.” This renovated housing now runs right up against 19th. On the other side of 19th Avenue are bank on bank of deteriorating apartment houses, once nice condos surrounding a golf course but now…well… To give you an idea: a police officer was shot to death there, and more recently a young mother died when her crummy apartment caught fire. She was able to throw her two children off the second-floor balcony to a passing man who managed to catch them, but she burned to death. The nearest major intersection to this spot, 19th & Dunlap (where the effing lightrail makes the drug-addicted transients get off the train at the end of the line, whence they spread out into adjacent neighborhoods and shopping centers) has the highest crime rate in the city.

      These, though, are the vicissitudes of living in any centrally located urban area. If you want to live in the middle of everything, you have to put up with a lot of cr*p — and frankly, I think that is true of any major American city.

      That notwithstanding, people who have to work in the central part of the city desire to live here, because commuting around the Valley is a species of Hell. It actually is worth putting up with that crime rate and the bums in your yard and the need to own a German shepherd or its ilk to avoid having to commute from the dreary, faceless suburbs.

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