Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bass Pro in Olathe: Why free food is a bad idea, praying to the gods of consumerism, free t-shirts and a little skin.

As I hunched once more into the fake bushes to vomit out the remains of free food I had eaten less than an hour before, I realized that Bass Pro was now a full spectacle.

All I needed now was the paparazzi or one of our photos editors lackey’s snapping my picture at this awful event. But I should have known it was going to be bad from the beginning.

More a mile away from the store I could already see the television news choppers flying over head jockeying for the best position – it was only 5 p.m., the store still would not open for another two hours in its orgy of a grand opening celebration.

The crowds that amassed at the 140,000 square foot Bass Pro’s front doors would almost be comical if they all weren’t so dead serious about their huntin’, fishin’ and NASCAR.

Then again, it is amazing the kind of people you can bring out when you promise free t-shirts and food – not to mention the mere idea of glimpsing a piece of skin from Miss Kansas or a gaggle of Chief’s Cheerleaders.

Whole families came out with cameras slung over their necks and maps of the store ready to go.
People do not take picture of their three-year-old daughter at the opening of a Wal-Mart

Fuck, no. That would be weird.

Bass Pro, on the other hand, is an American institution that has harnessed the power of a church tent revival to pump up its soon-to-be customers in the parking lot.

Shouts of amen and halleluiah have never followed the ribbon cutting of a Jones Store or a Macy’s – that would be obnoxious. But they seem to fit right in with the crowd of camouflaged dads and hunter orange clad moms.

"We thank you lord for brining us here together to celebrate the goodness that is commerce."

As Trout fishing king Jimmy Houston commanded the crowd bowed its heads of a Jesus-laden prayer blessing the store he commented that it was probably rare that a store receive such a godly blessing.

Well, Jimmy, boy, you would be wrong. Olathe is the kind of town that makes the GOP proud. It’s the kind of town that ensures right wing nut jobs like your self and the whole NACAR electorate remain in power.

But this is not about power. This is about consumerism.

This is about selling hotdogs for a buck and saying a “portion” of the money is going to conservation. Maybe I was being punished in hunting section’s fake bushes for donating that dollar earlier.

This is about the all might dollar and it looked like the dollar was king in Bass Pro tonight.

But Bass Pro has sold itself – and done it will I might add – on making a show out of everything.

Every aspect of the store has some deeper meaning – from the god damned fake flies that sit on a fake pile of crap that is supposed to look like it came from the fake bison over the men’s apparel section all the way to the smiling faces that attracted huge crowds, the media and the hovering cameras to capture it all so we can be amazed at their finery and class – or maybe its to point and laugh.

God, knows I was.

Either way they succeeded and took us for a ride. Now that they had us in their sights all they had to do was pull the trigger and mount us on one of those wooden shelves in ther basement.

“Look what I caught today, ma,” they say around board rooms tucked away in Springfield, Mo. “It was just staring at me all glazed over – I think it was because I jingled my keys at it.”
Well, jingle away, Bass Pro, because from my perch here over this bush, you caught me exposed in the open.

The hot dog was a bad idea.

Now I know, so is Bass Pro.

No comments: