The art supply scene in Austin is inept. Many times when I've visited art supply stores, they didn't have what I wanted, in the size that I needed, in the quantity that I desired. When I moved from Des Moines, Iowa to Austin, Texas, I thought I'd graduated to a bigger and more sophisticated commercial art community. I didn't.
Earlier this week, I walked into a Hobby Lobby art supply store. I was looking for turpentine and wasn't able to find it, so I asked a sales associate for his help. He was busy sweeping floors, wearing an iPod. "Excuse me!" I said loudly. "Where can I find the turpentine?"
He ignored me, trying to act like he didn't hear my question, so I asked him again, louder, "WHERE CAN I FIND THE TURPENTINE!"
"What's that?" he asked, removing his ear buds, and picking red matter from his teeth with his fingernails. I didn't bother to explain; it was late and the store was getting ready to close.
I approached another sales associate, a very young woman. She gave me a mean look, and scrunched up her face as though I'd requested something profane. "Frupenshine?" she asked, eyebrows pushing up wrinkles into her forehead. "Do you know where we keep the frupenshine?" she asked another associate.
"Turpentine!" I said, returning a mean look. "It's a very basic art supply, stocked at most art supply stores." I couldn't believe these people had never heard of turpentine.
Finally I gave up, cursed the dingwits under my breath and went to the grocery store where I found some turpentine.
The next day, I returned to Hobby Lobby. I needed a tube of sepia water color paint. As I kneeled down to look at the bottom shelf of the water color display, I smelled something fowl. Geez, I think I stink, I thought.
While I continued to rummage through paint tubes, the smell got stronger — poop. I smelled like poop! I was shocked and embarrassed. I'm a vain brotha; I keep myself groomed and clean and smelling halfway decent. It's not like me to smell like the back end of a sick dog. I planned my strategic exit. My goal: Get out of that store without anyone knowing how bad I really smelled.
I turned, headed for a side aisle, and that's when I discovered it — somebody's (or somethings) poop, splat on the floor. Yes, indeed, somebody had pooped, but, no, it wasn't me!
As of today, I'm swearing off Hobby Lobby and shopping online for my art supplies.