I was interested in purchasing a television set, to use the archaic term. No one says “TV set” any more, do they? It’s a TV. A “set” suggests a box that has four legs and a clunky dial that changes stations manually. Chunk-chunk-chunk.
The very term “television” seems to be fading, which is a pity; I love that word. We used to say “what’s on cable?” to indicate the process of paging through 400 channels with a slack expression, but never said “what’s on the satellite?” If you say “I want to watch some TV” you generally don’t mean Netflix, because saying “I’m going to watch Netflix” indicates a different cosmology. Unless you’re my wife, who just calls it all TV.
All of these are distinct from watching a movie, which is probably in disk form. If you rent disks, that is. Fewer and fewer people do. Except for people who got 4K TVs and want 4K programs. They will buy disks. They get 4K Netflix but suspect it’s not really 4K. Could be, like, 3.62K. DAMMIT
Note: you might watch Netflix on your computer, which uses a monitor. Or a display. But computers do not run TVs. There’s really no word that covers it all, except “screen,” and no one likes that word. It suggests empty, brain-draining mindless entertainment. Oh, screen time. You should limit that.
I shoot a lot of video in 4K now, and would like to see what it actually looks like, so I was looking at TVs at Best Buy. It’s the flagship store right by the corporate HQ, so it’s the best one in the world. It’s where they try everything new.
It was the first Christmas shopping night. I had hopes.
I’d already been to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get something for my wife that was tennis-related. There’s nothing tennis-related to be had. There’s racquets, but I’m not going to get her one of those; that’s a personal decision. A ball caddy? She has one. Bags? Ugly. I was coming down the escalator, and noted that the store was A) huge, and B) mostly clothes. I mean, 83% clothes. A kayak or two. Hockey sticks. Nine thousand pairs of socks. Socks with wicking action!
Across the highway is a big-box complex, The Shops At Lyndale. Opened during a recession, and always seems to be an interesting barometer of where the business climate was a year ago. There’s a big pet store, full of toys and clothes and cuttlebones and gargantuan sacks of food; considering that the dogs of the 50s had to do with a sack of Tuffy from the A&P and maybe a plastic Nylabone, this just shows how insanely prosperous we’ve become. The store does good business. Next door is a vast empty space that used to be . . . a sports clothing store. It’s gone, and it checked out a few weeks before the shopping season began, which really suggest Super Extra Bankruptcy.
There’s a Don Pablo restaurant that just went out of business. The chain’s dying. There used to be almost a dozen around here. We went there when Natalie was young, because it was loud and you could bring small kids. The usual pseudo-Mex glop. There were almost a hundred around the country. Nineteen remain.
There used to be a Borders book store. It went away and left a big hole. I was sad to see it go, but it’s not like I did anything to help them. I was always more of a Barnes and Noble guy. If I had to choose a place to introduce me to a book I would subsequently buy on Amazon, it was B&N. Borders was an also-ran in the market. But - but we, too, have 216 laminated bookmarks with quotes and tassels! There’s a huge Harry Potter lunchbox aisle! Tiny little books of quotes you can give to someone and they’ll open it once and the spine will make a sound as the glue cracks, and then they’ll put it aside and never look at it again! Please! Come here!
Anyway. Best Buy had some spectacular TV sets, but they didn’t have any on the floor to answer questions. I wandered back and forth with that expression you get when you want a salesperson to approach, as if your face is a movie-premiere searchlight casting a circle on the clouds. There was one guy at a counter ringing someone up, and a woman with an empty shopping cart; her expression told me she had been there a while and was not happy about anything in the world including the young men over in the high-end stereo department who were testing the expensive speakers for distortion.
So I left without buying a TV. On the way out a manager-type said “thanks for coming in!” or something, and I said you know, I was interested in buying a TV, but I walked around for ten minutes trying to find someone to answer questions, and there’s no one.
He looked concerned. He offered to get someone.
“I have to go,” I said. There was a ten-minute window, pal, and you blew it.
Then I went to Macy’s to look for stuff for my wife. I had something in hand that I was considering buying; a clerk walked past.
“Can I help you sir?” she asked.
“Yes! I’m looking for something like this, but -“
“You’ll have to wait until I am done with this other gentleman.”
“Uh - okay.”
“Were you looking for a particular line?”
“Michael Kors? Coach?”
I thought I had to wait. “No. Anything.”
“Fine.” And she walked off. I stayed close to the area, feeling as if I had been commanded to loiter until she could get back to me, but eventually I drifted away. Another clerk came out of the back, checked her reflection, adjusted one (1) strand of hair, then looked at me and “Are you good?”
“I’d like to think so,” I said. “But that’s for Santa to say.”
Utter confusion. Never make literal replies to salesperson banter. After I was done at that counter I went to house wares, and had a question about one item as it pertained to another similar item.
“I don’t know,” the salesperson said. “I literally started three hours ago. You could Google it.”
I bought some things and they loaded the boxes on a cart. “It’ll probably set off the alarm,” said the salesperson. “Just ignore it.”
And so it came to pass that I went out the door of Macy’s with a cart loaded with unwrapped boxes, and the alarm went off, and the other salespersons looked up, and I waved, and left the store.
On the way to my car I considered the savings: the item I bought, it turned out, came with a free gift that was part of the same general set of things, and cost $39.99. They had also given me a card of Magic Money with a $30.00 value. So I was seventy dollars up, somehow.
When I got home I checked the TV I wanted to buy at Best Buy on other sources, and found it for sixty dollars more.
If I buy it, I’m still up ten.
Yes, it's rather square, and it does not exactly soar.
But that's not the point. It anchors the corner, and I think it'll do that well enough.
Back to music cues for "The Little Things in Life," Peg Lynch's last continuously running sitcom.
I almost apologize for this whole thing; they're so ordinary and 70s. But part of studying an era involves looking at the mediocre elements of the culture, since they were more common than the good stuff.
The milkman, in 1976?
This one's quite long.
We've heard shorter versions of this one, but it really does wind it up here:
Unresolved yet resolved. Or vice versa
Believe me, LISTEN in 2017 is going to be 10X better.
Let us hear the story of Mrs. Gates.
She hadn't heard.
The ending music should tell you what the show is. If you're up on such things, or care.
Up to know we've been doing 1959 - 60; the style of the early decade was a bit more relaxed.