Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Target, Kmart Super Center, and Albertsons Score

On New Year's Eve, Mom's birthday, at Pacific View Mall in Ventura, we turned toward Target after leaving Calendar Club, where Mom had been looking at page-a-day calendars, looking for a new one since Wonderword wasn't published as one for the new year.

I wanted Target because this wasn't the one in Valencia, nor the one in Golden Valley that I still haven't been to to see what Matchbox cars they have there. This was also a Target fitted to the mall, with two levels, with us entering the second level which had electronics and the toy aisles.

I fairly breezed to the toy aisles, finding where the Matchbox cars were, and a lot of what I already had. I didn't need the desert vehicles, I didn't need an ambulance, I didn't need a police car, because the former was a different from what I wanted and the latter two are fairly typical of any city. But I did find a green Matchbox flatbed dump truck, which is what I count as a working vehicle because it can be driven distances, unlike a tractor or a backhoe, as I mentioned in yesterday's entry. Plus, the orange flatbed lifts up to its highest angle toward the back. I still marvel at that only being $1.09.

Yesterday, on the way back to Pacific View Mall for Mom to pick up a calendar she wanted at Calendar Club, we stopped at Kmart Super Center because Mom wanted to try the Pepsi Icee that Kmarts seem to have. By now, you can tell what I was thinking when we parked in that Kmart lot.

I went to the toy aisles, and saw a "Camping Adventure" five-pack that had a camper transport vehicle, but not enough true working vehicles. I couldn't get used to them. At the same time I found that, I also found a gray "Quick Steam Cleaners" van, with the slogan, "Call the Professionals First!" I could imagine the equipment in the back of this van, and so it was mine.

There was also a clearance section in one toy aisle with bins you could dig through for toys at 50% off. There were a few Tron: Legacy figures, and I remembered going to Big Lots the day before and seeing many of them, turning one to the back and finding that a figure had apparently been made of Castor, Michael Sheen's delightfully charismatic club owner and one of my favorite characters in all of movie history. Researching online, I learned that either the figure was rare or had never been made. My theory is that the first wave of Tron: Legacy toys came out before the movie's release, and then when it didn't do as well as Disney hoped, there were no more toys made, with Castor being the second wave if the movie had been more successful according to Disney's standards, which were understandable with an estimated $170 million dollar budget, and a $172 million dollar gross in the United States, though it did make $400 million worldwide. But I would have loved to have that Castor figure, though I guess I'll settle for the film strip bookmark I have with Castor on it from a seller that used to reside on Etsy, but now sells her bookmarks on Artfire. I use that bookmark now for all the Las Vegas books that I'm reading one after the other in anticipation of always-hedonistic days ahead.

Even knowing about the fate of the Castor figure, I still looked through what Kmart had and found nothing of Castor. In one of the bins, though, I found a diecast model of the Recognizer, those flying upside-down wide U-shaped machines that hunt and capture rogue programs in Tron City. The yellow tag on the packaging said "Reduced - $2.00." I got it for $1 (50% off, remember), and with the Matchbox steam cleaning service van, the total was $2 and minor change. Can't beat that for a collection. I'm thinking of keeping the Recognizer in front of me when I'm researching and writing because though the machine is used for malevolent purposes, I'm hunting for what I want to profile in my next book and just like the Recognizer brings the rogue programs on board, I'm bringing all that I learned into my mind and into notes, swirling it around, looking for the combination that works for me. I've got the skeleton of the book down, but now need to make a proper outline to figure out the path for each chapter. To me, the Recognizer is a reminder of tenacity, of unceasingly working to get what you want. I can't do "unceasingly," since I need some time for other things, my working vehicles collection notwithstanding, but I embrace the same spirit for better purposes.

The end of our hours of errands brought us to Albertsons after dinner at nearby Chronic Taco, where I had the breakfast quesadilla with chorizo that I had been craving for a week and a half after having it for the first time two weeks prior. They serve it all day and it's worth it at any hour of the day. At Albertsons, since this wasn't the usual Albertsons we go to, I went right to the toy aisle and found resounding success. At the other Albertsons, there was a five-pack of vehicles belonging to a car repair shop, including a white tow truck, and two regular trucks that I didn't want. The set was $7 and change, and I didn't want to pay for two vehicles I didn't want. That same day, before this Albertsons, Mom said I could buy the pack and donate the two trucks to Goodwill. Leave it to mothers to instantly find the logic that didn't seem so obvious at the time, particularly since I donate a lot of books, some that I had just bought but had read them and determined that they wouldn't be part of my permanent collection. In this Albertsons toy aisle, I found a "Service Center No. 12" pack with a black tow truck with a blue hook, far cooler than that white tow truck I thought I wanted so badly.

There's also a tan "Service Center" truck with a hitch in the back, a blue "30 Minutes or Less Tune Up Service" truck, a green "EcoFuel Intl." tank truck with a black tank, and a nacho cheese-yellow "JC Body & Paint" van saying, "We take any make or model" under the logo.

None of these five vehicles will go to Goodwill. I paid $7 and change and got exactly what I wanted and more. I'm deeply satisfied with every single vehicle I have, and can admire them, play with them, and enjoy them, thinking no further of expanding my collection until we move, and that includes big rigs and Hess trucks that I had when I was little that I want to have again. If there happens to be another working vehicle I find before we move that I really want, of course I'll snap it up, but I don't have that electric desire for any other working vehicle like I did for the tow truck.

I love that what I did as a kid never faded, just waited patiently in the background. To think it all started again with that flour truck I bought at Smith's in Henderson.

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