One of my personal weaknesses is a tendency to favour the new over the old. Put something in a shiny new wrapper and call it “new and improved” and you’ve got a good chance of suckering me in, whether it’s “New Improved Huggies with Barrier Leak Shield” or “New Improved Motomaster Titantium Alloy Wiper Blades with Wind Cutting Action.” Indeed the dirty secret of my penchant for world travel is that world travel delivers a whole new set of “new and improved” (at least to me) in every city.
Fortunately this is a tendency that Catherine and I share, both with travel and with variations of Swiffer, Glad, Saran and Ziploc products. While I may mock Catherine for falling prey to the “Press and Seal,” this is simply a cover for my own glee (something I used to similar effect with New Teen Titans comic books, purchased by Johnny and Steve but secretly devoured by me with just as much fervour).
All of which I offer as explanation of, if not excuse for, the fact that Oliver and I are pictured front and centre on page A5 of today’s Guardian as two of the crowd clamouring to get into the new Sears store in Charlottetown.
I realize that this sort of incautious consumer behaviour places any future “that Tim Banks certainly is a dink, isn’t he!” posts here on the blog in danger of being dismissed. But that is a risk I must take to feed my lust for the shiny.
Of course the inevitable result of this passion is the let down that comes from the new and shiny being not so new and shiny and wonderful and transformative as expected. Weeks go by of anticipation about the wonders of the new version of OS X; once it has arrived and is installed, well, it’s just an operating system, isn’t it. I thought riding a Segway would be like riding one of those hoverboards from Back to the Future; it wasn’t (and it tried to kill me, to boot).
And so I am ashamed to admit that I bought the whole “bold and radical new Sears concept” line entirely: I was convinced by the APM and Sears propaganda that the new Sears here in Charlottetown — the “first free-standing off-mall format in Canada” they crowed — would be unlike any Sears I’d ever seen. I imagined robotic product butlers, Italian espresso in the cafe, mens fashion in colours other than brown and blue. I imagined a cross between Ikea and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
In other words, I am an idiot. A whore for the shiny and new.
Post-clamour at the door of Sears, Oliver, G. and I did the complete loop of the aisles. We witnessed frothing Islanders giddy at the sight of pillows on sale for $2.99 and a 5-piece luggage set for $24.99. We toured the Mastercraft (or is that Craftsman?) aisle, the Kenmore aisle, and the toy section.
And it was just a Sears.
A plain old boring Sears with the same old boring Sears crap that every other Sears in North America has, presented in the same old boring fashion. Indeed because the new Sears store has no windows, the effect was oddly similar to being at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut: you could be in any department store in any city at any time of day.
I can’t imagine why I would ever return.
So consider that I have performed a public service for you, preventing you from the need to go and visit yourself a place that you would emerge from only feeling moribund and depleted.
Sears, especially without the clandestine allure of escaping to Moncton for off-Island shopping, is, in the end, just Sears.
Hey, did you hear the Gap is coming to Charlottetown…?