Posted by on May 5, 2020

A few weeks ago I visited our local Sam’s Membership Warehouse ISO Charmin toilet paper.  It was my third attempt, with the same result: crickets on the shelves.  I arrived there either later in the morning or early in the afternoon; either way, it didn’t seem to me that so much time would have passed that the store would still be sans Charmin.

On my way out of the store I asked the receipt-checker if they were even getting any more Charmin deliveries.  She assured me that they restocked the shelves every morning, but there was a line that began forming at the entrance at 7:00 AM to wait for their 9:00 opening.  By the time that horde (interesting homonym, now that I think about) of people made their way past the t. p. shelves, they emptied really quickly.

So it was that I went to Sam’s over the weekend — early — to see if I could be among the lucky ones to return home with a large package of Charmin.  (By the way, I keep specifying Charmin intentionally.  We have found that other brands, even well-known names like Scott, are irritating and actually do more harm than good.  I’ll leave it there without going into graphic detail.  Doing so in a public forum is just gauche.)  As I approached the door, the guards who were monitoring entrants asked me immediately, “First responder or firefighter?”  (They were obviously programmed to ask that question at the sight of an approaching body, much the same way that McDonald’s employees are wired to ask, “For here or to go?”  I mean, one look at me and they should have been able to tell that I was neither a first-responder nor firefighter.)  Anyway, in answering honestly, I was turned away.  However, they were nice enough to inform me that senior citizens were given early entry on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:00 AM (why they didn’t ASK if I was a senior citizen still remains a mildly insulting part of that brief exchange).

So, armed with that new-found information I made a point of getting up early enough this morning (Tues., May 5) to join the line that had already begun forming before 7:00 at Sam’s.  Figuring that I’d be waiting a few minutes, I took a New Yorker magazine to read (I hate to waste time) and took my place behind the two dozen or so old people who had arrived even earlier than I did.

The doors did, in fact, open right at seven.  An employee walked along the line asking that we have our membership cards ready, and once inside, we were shown that carts had already been taken inside the store for our convenience.  As expected the line headed directly to the back of the store where the toilet paper shelves were located.

Imagine my TOTAL disappointment when I got back there to discover that the only toilet paper was their own “Members Mark” brand!  The section where the Charmin should have been was still bare.  I wanted to find that receipt checker lady — the one who assured me that the shelves were restocked every morning — and give her a piece of my mind.  Thank the good Lord that he has given me the capacity to keep my anger under control.  I had already wasted over half an hour driving to the store and waiting in that line.  And then to be “rewarded” like this?  To make matters worse, I also needed tissues.  They had none.  I wasn’t about to waste the trip entirely, so I bought a bucket of kitty litter.

Walmart had been selling smaller packages of Charmin.  I learned that after a recent visit where I found the gutted cardboard boxes marked “Charmin” lying on the shelves, devoid of any contents.  So, figuring it was early in the morning, I drove there.  Once again, my efforts were rewarded with squat: the only two packages of “bathroom tissue” there (as the aisle is labeled) were Great Value brand.  Again, not wanting to waste the trip, I bought orange juice and bread.

What is one supposed to think when one follows the rules only to come up empty?  I hate to think that Amazon is the only place to buy Charmin, because I’m sure the prices are ridiculously jacked up.  Perhaps I’ll try again on Thursday, but if I run into the same empty shelves, I may have to write a stern letter of protest to the manager. 

That’ll rattle him, I’m sure.

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