Sunday, October 7, 2012

Shopping for the Hunter/Gatherer Stereotypes

I never considered whether or not I truly fit the "gatherer" stereotype...until today. It fully encompasses why I hate the hardware store, and all of that dawned on me today.

The Grocery Store is a safe haven for gatherers. You don't hunt at a grocery store, you gather. You go over to the produce section, and you gather what produce you need. You go over to the dairy section and you gather what dairy you need. Once you've gathered up all you came there for, you are done, and you go home.

The Hardware Store, on the other hand, The Hardware Store is hunting grounds. No one ever goes to the Hardware Store to gather. No woman tells her husband, "Oh, I passed the Hardware Store on my way home today, so I swung in and picked you up some nuts and bolts! I just put them in a baggy with a little twisty-tie thingy. Only $75!" That never happens, and I think the Hardware Store remains that way on purpose to help avoid such things.

So there he is, the brave, hunting caveman, needing to hunt down a gazelle for his family. But today, he is running low on time, so he must bring along his berry gathering wife.

Wife: Where are we going?
Caveman: We need a gazelle, for meat.
Wife: Should I pick one up at Wal-Mart?
Caveman: They don't sell gazelles at Wal-Mart, we must go to hunt one, on the plains, also known as the Hardware Store.
Wife: This won't take long, will it?
Caveman: It'll be five minutes, no problem. Lots of gazelle on the plains.

So the Caveman and his wife venture onto the plains, or to Lowe's, you know, whatever. And the Caveman announces to his wife that what they seek is in the Hardware section. This to me would be the same as traveling to the plains to be told once there that you need to go to the plains. For the record, there is no "Grocery" section of Smith's. That would be asinine. Regardless, the Caveman and his wife make it to the plains, and then the plains section of the plains. And then, they hunt. They can't just go and find the gazelle where they know it should be, no, they hunt for it. They walk up and down each isle, slowly, quietly, looking up and down, near and far, stopping suddenly to just listen or smell for something, or who knows what, to continue again. And they must remain silent during this whole endeavor, lest they scare off the elusive nut or bolt they are searching for. "Damnit! You sneezed and is scared off the last remaining phillips screwdriver attachment I needed for my drill!"

Due to the hunter nature of the Hardware Store, the worst part is if your hunt in unsuccessful. Then you have to contact the elder gods, and there are only three ways to do that. The first way to contact the elder gods to beg for assistance would be to have a seance and hope they show up, except that usually just leads to a lot of waiting, and far as you know, no one has ever received an answer that way, save only for a few myths you don't know to be true. This is the same as waiting at customer service while they page someone to come help you. No Caveman will approach this tactic, and will become angered when the gatherer wife suggests it. No, rather, he will use the second, and more vastly used way of contacting the elder gods, and that is to hunt one of their spirit animals. This is basically when you hunt for the worker in the blue apron, stalk him, trap him, and eventually, force him to answer your questions and hope they are within his realm of expertise. The problem with this tactic is that it is as difficult as the Caveman hunting down a lion to ask the lion how he hunts gazelles. How is the Caveman to hunt down a lion when he is already inept at hunting gazelles? The third, and today our fated approach to contact with the elder gods, is to be the lost soul, stranded and helpless in the plains, so reproachable that the elder gods send a familiar down to you, lest you be damned. The problem with this tactic is that the familiar, much like the scene from Wayne's World 2 where Jim Morison and the Naked Indian give Wayne a message in his dreams, never make a goddamned bit of sense. Today, that conversation went like this:

Familiar [Employee that Stopped us to "Help" us]: For what do you seek? [What can I help you find, sir?]
Caveman [Jeff]: I am hunting gazelle, but having no luck. [I am trying to make a projector mount.]
Familiar: For that, you will need to go to the plains, for that is where gazelle roam. [You'll want to make that out of metal, anything else will not be sturdy enough.]
Caveman: Yes, that is why I traveled to the plains. [That's why I'm currently looking in the Hardware section.]
Familiar: It will be a difficult journey for you to the plains. You will want to gather a large group of hunters, and forge tools from the fire. [Yes, definitely needs to be made of metal. You will need some welding tools. A place that sells sheet metal can bend the metal for you.]
Caveman: I am already at the plains. I don't want to gather more hunters, just an old or sick gazelle will be fine, we don't need the whole herd. [No, I don't want to craft one myself, I just want to find some clamps or something and rig one together.]
Familiar: Well, the old and sick gazelles travel on the plains. I hope this will assist you on your journey. [Well, you'll want to make it out of metal parts for sure. I hope this helps!]

At this point, the gatherer in me can't take it anymore. I do not want to hunt any longer, and tend to try to run back to what seems more natural to me.

Wife [Me]: Please, there are some bushes here, can I just go and gather berries from them? [Can I look at some paint samples while you finish looking for what you need?]

But the hunter is only angered further by this request...

Caveman: No! We have plenty of berries back at the cave. You must suffer this with me. You must endure this so you can appreciate more fully where your meat comes from! Growl!

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