Saturday, August 7, 2010

4 BUCKS? You Can't Possibly Be Serious!

Comet removed the grime from the stovetop, as well as the base of the toilet and bathtub in the apartment I am subletting. Photo by Yours Truly.

I was growing up one could keep the house spic and span with any combination of, say, Spic and Span, Pine-Sol, Mr. Clean, Vinegar mixture and Comet. All good stuff cheap.

So it is no surpise that when I needed to give the bathroom of my August sublet a good, old-fashioned scouring, I would turn to Comet. (Without going into any great detail about this whole sorry business, I’ve had to move apartments and must move again – hopefully for something longterm – in September).

Anywho, my old container of Comet was dangerously low and I was in need of another. What a traumatic experience, the moral of which is that Comet should always be cheap. It should never cost more than, say, $1.25.

First stop, Duane Reade pharmacy. I don’t normally shop at DR because I find it too expensive, instead preferring CVS pharmacy. I knew not of one near me east of Lexington Avenue in the 90s. But there was a DR just a few short blocks away. In the interest of time I decide that DR is better than nothing. Besides, Comet is cheap, so it can’t be too expensive. Moreover, I was incented by the image of the base of the toilet and bathtub in the sublet.

While I am a bit taken aback that the Come costs $1.59, I reason that I should buy it because I have both tidying and unpacking to do before I dress for the evening. Time is of the essence, I remind myself; this is not the time to quibble over 50 cents. I grab a package of three sponges, too. The total is almost $7. On general principle, I simply cannot do it.

Rushing now and walking too many blocks to CVS. I hate what corporate has done to my CVS. Not only did the suits (or hoods) put self-checkout registers in the store, they ordered that the store be reorganized. No doubt, so one such as Yours Truly will wonder all about and purchase things she doesn’t need. After a fruitless search for Comet, I turn to the manager who informs me that the Comet is on aisle 8. He walks me over to where I was only moments before. No Comet.

“We are out,” he says. “Several people have asked for it and I have told corporate but they haven't sent any. We have the liquid.”

As calmly as you please, I strongly suggest that he inform corporate that if several people are asking for powdered Comet, it should stock it. To add insult to injury, there are no sponges. What kind of joint is this?

On the way back to DR where I will have my head high when I re-enter the store, I pass a locksmith shop that makes keys and sells various sundry items. Comet is among them. Just as I am about to grab sponges, I ask the salesclerk the price of the Comet. It’s $3.99! Yes, $3.99. I repeat: $3.99. I could not get to DR fast enough to pony up $1.59, plus tax.

Later that evening, I share this tale of woe with my buddy, DJ. Am I certain that the locksmith shop Comet was $3.99, she asks. I am and later stopped by to reconfirm. It’s $3.99! She also informs me that she buys Comet at the supermarket where it is much cheaper. Rarely do I shop at supermarkets anymore and certainly not for cleaning products. That’s what CVS is for!

Kicking around a day or so later after a turn in nearby Charles Schurz Park. The park is home to Gracie Mansion, the mayoral residence, though the current hizzoner, Michael Bloomberg, lives in his swanky townhouse on East 79th street, on the west end of the very street that was my home in fatter times.

Anywho, after the park I stop by a Gristedes and later a D’Agostino. Both stock Comet. Gristedes sells it for $1.19; D’Agostino, 95 cents. I’m sure it can be had a little cheaper, but neither price is out of the question. Even if the locksmith shop owner buys the Comet retail, as another with whom I share the story suggests, it is inconceivable that it should be so costly.

$3.99 for Comet? Surely, he jests.

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