Does anybody remember that old Far Side cartoon about the inconvenience store? It only had a couple shelves and they were way up high and out of reach, a play on the whole ‘convenience store’ idea. I was thinking about that cartoon and remembered a similar store in a bad neighborhood I once lived in. Really, it wasn’t much different from Gary Larson imagined.
Take a look at the cartoon to refresh your memory:
Now, the store I’m thinking of was actually some kind of package liquor store, but the idea was pretty much the same. The store was in such a bad neighborhood that the clerk and register was behind a wall of Plexiglas. Of course, that alone wouldn’t indicate that bad of a neighborhood, except all the items for sale were behind the Plexiglas as well. You had to slide money to the clerk through a drawer and then the clerk had to slide what you were buying back to you.
That’s right, you walked into this big empty store. Literally, everything in the store was behind the Plexiglas wall with the clerk. Liquor, cigarettes, everything. The vast majority of the store was in front of the Plexiglas, but everything you could buy was behind it. The rest of the store was entirely empty.
It just looked so weird to have all that empty space. I can understand that the neighborhood was bad enough to need to keep all their stuff locked up, but if so then why not move the Plexiglas wall out? Why give the clerk so little room and the customer so much room if all the stuff was going to be behind the counter? It just felt weird, like standing in some ominous, empty cavern.
I kind of wonder if Gary Larson ever went to that package liquor store. I don’t think he would have thought his idea quite as original if he had. It certainly wasn’t that funny in practice. Really, it was kind of creepy…but it was real.