Excess Baggage
 >>> Edited For


By staff writer Mike Forest

July 20, 2005


Why is it so hard to find a piece of affordable luggage? One piece. Decent quality. Affordable. Is that so hard? You’ve probably figured out from reading this far
that it is.

I drove all over town today looking for a small carry-on to use for all the work-related traveling I'll be doing this year. I can’t
afford much, so I’m not looking for anything fancy. I figure I should be able to find something in my price range at a JC Penney or Kohl’s. So I hop in my
trusty Taurus and head to south St. Louis.

All I can find are 3- and 5-piece sets. I don’t want 3- and 5-piece sets. I have no need for that much luggage right now. I mean, fuck, my apartment is so small that
there’s literally no place to put all of it. Like throwing a hallway down a hot dog.

“After wading through the standard 47-piece-of-shit luggage sets with lower-quality workmanship than X-tina’s sex change, I find a
shitty pilot’s case.”

Amazingly, I can get some low-grade, shitty 3- and 5-piece sets for less than $100. Fine. But I can’t get one piece for less than
$90. I’d rather pay for just one piece, but the price discrepancy is mind-boggling. Can’t you just give me the 22” pull for $30 and we’ll call it

Of course not.

The only bag I really like isn’t on sale. I try to explain this as delicately as possible to the 100-year-old cashier, who then pulls out the next three months worth
of ads and shows me when they’ll be on sale. Fine. I don’t need to get this bag today, but she isn’t helping very much. Her “I help” nametag is
obviously speaking of days gone by. I thank her, because I’m a nice guy, and get the hell out of there. I think it was time for her to put more super glue on her
dentures anyway. They were starting to rattle.

I go to my next stop. I had forgotten how much I like Kohl’s; they ALWAYS have great stuff on clearance. I browse through the men’s department looking at some
slick new duds for awhile before I remember my initial reason for coming here: luggage. Right. I’m on it. I walk by the underwear section and get side tracked there again for a few.

Buy 2 get 1 free? This could be a great deal. I love great deals. I’m on a budget okay? Beer and heroin don’t pay for themselves.

Astonishingly, there are no prices on any of the packages. Call me cheap, but I like to know what I’m getting into before I walk to the fucking register. I’ve
been shopping for all my own shit for years and I know how much I like to pay for things. I hate looking stupid at the register if things end up costing more than I want to
spend. I don’t understand what’s so foreign about the concept of price tags. Everything has a price. Just tell me what it is!

It’s like that hot chick at the bar.
You want to talk to her, but (a) you’re a big pussy and (b) ideally, you’d like to know a bit about her before you waste your time going over to her. Maybe women
should have tags:

• High maintenance.
• Delicate care only.
• Do not mix with colors.
• Damaged goods.
• Returned. Sold as-is.
• Inspected by Inspector # 13, 22, 7, 105, 69 and 87, 13 again, and 6.
• Herpes infested.

If you’re wondering, mine would read: Easy maintenance. Used gently (sometimes). Inspected by your mom. Hung like a horse. Okay a small horse. Tumble dry. Herpes

I finally go to the last bastion of Americana: Sears. Everything there is made in the good ol’ USA, except the workers they hired to remodel
their store. Come on, sue me. It’s fucking true. Besides, the whole store smelled like mildew and I almost walked out. Those comments aren’t really related to
each other, but neither are you and your “real” parents. Ask them. It’s about time you knew the truth.

They cleverly hid the luggage in a dark corner in the basement of the store. It only took me three sets of directions to find. After wading
through the standard 47-piece-of-shit luggage sets with lower-quality workmanship than X-tina’s sex change that I have no use or space for, I find a shitty
pilot’s case. But the price is right.

(In case you were wondering, the metaphor above is meant to infer that I have no room for a 47-piece luggage set, which in itself is hyperbole intended for humor’s
sake. However, I have no room for “X,” or “X-tina,” as she prefers to be referred to now, either. Yes, that joke infers that she/he had a sex change. For gosh sake,
she’s a Skechers spokesmodel now; does any one even remember who he/she is? Didn’t think so.)

Am I still fucking talking about luggage? Holy shit this column is boring. Well, I guess you could go read Nate’s instead…yeah I know, and I don’t blame

I got a new wallet a few weeks ago. I hate buying new wallets, but my buddy Eric convinced me that my old wallet was “unprofessional.” Yeah, I had a big George Costanza

I hate the fact that everything says something about you. It’s all about image, no substance. Apparently if I have a great wallet, doors will open for me. But
if I have a big brown wallet stuffed with Taco
receipts, I’m a social pariah. I thought it mattered how much cash was in the wallet. If I buy new wallets all the time, much less cash will be
available. It’s true, spending money on a wallet is one of the great paradoxes of the world.

I also hate buying new wallets because it feels weird pulling cash out of my old wallet knowing that as soon as I get home, I’m taking all the stuff that matters out
of the old wallet and putting it in the new wallet. It kinda feels like asking your girlfriend if you can borrow a condom to have sex with some slut.

Or maybe it’s just a piece of leather.