If there is ever a zombie attack I think the staging ground or headquarters will be at a Home Depot.
Five years ago I could walk into a Home Depot without a clue where anything was or even how to install it, and there would be a handy, knowledgeable staff member to not only point me in the right direction but suggest what else I might need or perhaps what the best way to install something would be.
Fast forward to today and it's a very different picture. Today if I walk into a Home Depot and have no clue what aisle the nails are in, it would be easier and faster for me to actually melt steel and forge a nail myself than to find someone to ask where they're located. I was told by a staff member doing his best impression of a deranged homeless person, randomly wandering around in a daze, that "I don't think we carry nails at this store." True story!
Now if I was looking for an actual tool then I know I would have to go into the mini-store located within the Home Depot store called the "Tool Corral" which has its own separate cash register. I'm not sure what made all these tools so unruly that they needed to be herded up and corralled into a separate store altogether within the main store, but I'm sure they must have been way out of line…except maybe the laser levelers. God forbid you need assistance in the "Tool Corral" because you have less of a chance of getting help in there then you do of getting out of Home Depot sane, which is a long shot at best. The only person in the "Tool Corral" is a creature resembling a human being at the register who's staring into the laser scanner like a mesmerized moth.
I also know that if I needed lumber of any kind I would have to get it myself using a handy dolly with only one functioning wheel, of which there are two in the whole store. Unfortunately, one of them is being used by a staff member to transport items to be stocked later, once the staff member remembers where they left it, which likely will never happen. So unless I just happen to be building something with the exact lengths and widths of the lumber in stock, invariably I would need it cut.
Clandestine rallies outside of makeshift trailers are on the rise. CUSTOMERS ARE URGED TO REPORT ANY SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY TO 911, NOT THE MANAGER.Of course, since there's no living person in sight, I have to cut it myself at the "cutting station" with something vaguely resembling the sad memory of what used to be a saw, which if you look closely has a few drops of blood and some hair on it. To make matters easier, the sad, now long dead saw is attached to the same kind of chain they use to anchor aircraft carriers to the dock….apparently so the saw doesn't walk away. I guess this is all part of that whole tool imprisonment corral theme.
Occasionally there is the random frightened older person who actually asks me in desperation where something in the store is, not because I'm wearing an orange apron, but because they are old and wise and know they have a much higher probability of actually getting a correct answer from a total stranger who doesn't technically work there than finding and asking an actual employee (of which we've already established there are none).
"Paint? Oh, that's in aisle twelve," I reply to the scarred and intimidated geriatric person, all the while thinking of my own grandmother who would need the same help.
Big mistake! Now that I've demonstrated a functioning brain cell in this vast warehouse of vacant minds, no less than eight people (on their way to zombie conversion) immediately descend on me like they've just realized they forgot to eat my brain and I somehow slipped through the cracks by accident. In a desperate act of survival I instantly throw my arms out in front of me, perpendicular to my body, palms down and level with the floor, and start chanting in a monotone vapid tone:
"This isn't my section…..this isn't my section….this isn't my section……this isn't my section."
Looking dejected, the crowd disperses and I aimlessly Frankenstein-walk away to the next aisle just to escape the inquisitive, wrinkled horde. Lo and behold I have found all of the actual Home Depot staff standing there in the "Hardware" aisle staring blankly up at the wall of nuts, bolts and nails, more then likely because they are shiny and bright. Wait….the nails….they're here!! Without any sudden movements (a hazard around so many obvious undead creatures and a wall of sharp pointy objects) I quickly locate the box of nails I need and stagger out of the aisle so as not to draw any attention to myself as a living being.
I find my way to the main set of cash registers which seem to be opening and closing in mayhem, akin only to the movement of piranhas devouring a cow that wandered too close to an Amazonian stream. The cashiers seem to be randomly leaving their stations and other registers are opening elsewhere, creating a Thunderdome-like atmosphere amongst the customers.
People…..or what are now the empty shells of once vibrant people, are clamoring over each other in a mob mentality to get to the newly opened registers before they close unexpectedly once again. I suspect this behavior is to create a Gauntlet situation that discourages anyone from ever leaving the store and thus trapping them there forever, only to be later devoured by the staff.
Several of the "people in line" (and I use that phrase loosely for many reasons) are blankly staring at the wall of batteries strategically placed at every register, if only to slow a stampede of the almost living with something that they have all been told they need lots of, in case of a survival emergency. I grab a handful of batteries off the rack and throw them in the other direction to divert their attention as they go mindlessly chasing after them, moaning something about the apocalypse.
I then take the scanner out of the hand of the dazed and confused decoy statue that has been placed at the register instead of an actual human cashier and scan my box of nails and swipe my card in the little machine. When the machine asks for my signature I scratch it quickly and violently with my finger to closely resemble what would have come out had I actually signed it with that electronic pen, missing of course…likely gnawed away and swallowed by one of the employees.
I sprint past the creature standing by the exit that only wakes and flinches when the alarm goes off, clearly indicating not that a tool has escaped the oh-so-secure corral, but rather that a customer was about to escape the building with what they actually came for.
Leaping over all the empty propane canisters blocking the exit, I somersault onto the sidewalk into a ray of warm sunshine. I pick myself up and clean off the layer of dust covering me—a layer most people think comes from just being inside a Home Depot but few realize is actually a sign of how LONG you've been inside.
I confidently stride to my parked car, mentally noting all the people going into the store happily talking about their exciting new projects. As I get in my car and start to drive off I realize just how many people are going in, and how few are coming out.
And I'm just happy to be a survivor.