TJ Minn

Save by spending!!

For over a year and an half I did all of my errands by bike. This meant that, in very short order, I wound up with not that many errands, especially when you live at the top of a steep hill that it takes a couple of miles to reach.

The last few weeks, since returning from Texas, I’ve been riding as a passenger in my girlfriend’s car to do things like buy groceries. I never thought too much about it, except this one little detail: In a car you always buy more stuff, because on a bike you have to haul it all home on your back or your rack. How many potatoes and what size milk carton are real issues.

Yesterday she and I were talking. “I need a new cutting board,” I said.

“Let’s go to TJ Maxx,” she said.

“What’s that?”

“It’s the shop you’ve walked and ridden by about 10,000 times that says ‘TJ Maxx.'”

“Yeah, but what is it? A kitchen store?”

She looked at me like she often does. It’s a look that says, “He’s fucking with me. No, he’s a moron.” She took a breath. “TJ Maxx is a store that sells stuff that everyone wants. Everyday stuff. It’s cheap and the stuff is usually really nice.”

“Cheap and nice? I smell a rat.”

“Well we don’t have to go. I just can’t believe you’ve never been inside a TJ Maxx.”

We got in her car and drove up to the store. It was 10:00 AM and they had just opened; the store was empty except for us. At first it looked like any old Target-type box store. But when we got to the kitchenware my mind was blown. Pots everywhere. Twenty kinds of spatulas. Twenty kinds of mixing bowls. Glass food storage thingies by the zillion. Everything you could want, and tons that you couldn’t, in infinite variety and color. Want a Minnie Mouse spatula that’s too tiny to even flip an egg? Check. Seven kinds of iron teapots? Check. Eight different varieties of wooden cutting boards, all for less than $20? Check.

“This is sick,” I said, happily.

“Yes, she said. It’s TJ Maxx.”

I got my cutting board but did not stop there. There was a great little saucepan with a lid. There was a cool wooden spoon. There was an electric water pot. I kind of lost control, and blinked stupidly at the $75 bill at checkout.

“Are you okay, sir?” the clerk asked.

“Uh, yeah.”

We got back in the car and I realized what had happened. I’d been car-ed. That’s what happens when you go to buy something and come back with a bunch of stuff you didn’t need and only vaguely wanted. Never happens on a bike. Ever.


12 thoughts on “TJ Minn”

  1. Love it! Amen

    I traveled over 200 nights per year for business for over 20 years (until Covid) and a similar rule applies to luggage when traveling. Folks who have to travel frequently, city to city, carry less, because we know we will forever be hauling it from place to place. Folks who travel rarely, carry much because what’s the big deal? If you don’t need to pack and repack your suitcase 3 times in 4 days and hoist it over your head on 6 flights, then why not more? There is a correlation between these phenomena.

    A 3rd manifestation of this fuzzy rule might be “the amount of shit you own grows to be somewhere just beyond (in well managed people) to significantly beyond (in hoarders) the capacity of your abode or tool box as the case may be.

    I look forward to reading somewhere down the line when you yard sale / give away / throw away the stuff just acquired but likely not really needed

    1. It’s amazing how possessions fornicate and multiply while you are sleeping at night. I used to have only five cardboard boxes of possessions and a bike. Now I have eight boxes, and loose ends that would probably make it a total of 10. Victim of consumerism!

  2. And that looks like a TJ Maxx on LA County Steroids.

    Cheap AF me, I just sanded my old cutting board down, gave it two applications of mineral oil, and now it is like new. Supah Dupah!

  3. Not just TJ Maxx but Marshalls and Hobby Lobby and Home Goods and World Market and Pier 1 and Bed Bath & Beyond plus dollar stores galore. Add to that thrift and vintage stores and we’re buried in CCC (cheap Chinese-made crap), most of which we never needed in the first place. The older I get, the more it appalls and saddens me to see the excess we produce and consume. It’s like a food buffet on steroids, destroying ourselves and the planet.

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