K-Mart: Too cheap for me

http://flickr.com/photos/cosmickitty/26455651/As I stood in line at my local K-Mart watching an inept clerk crash the store's credit card verification program, I realized that the store had crossed my line between good and bad bargains. I doubt I'll ever shop there again, because it's too cheap for me.

The signs were everywhere. The exterior is lined with soda machines and unused horsey rides, the parking lot full of dirty, damaged and free-range carts. The doors open onto a box farm of unappealing clearance goods.

Store signage is amateurish, often misspelled or ungrammatical. Aisles are jammed with displays of goods in disarray, often mismatched to the signs above. An amazing percentage of the floor space is devoted to items it can't possibly make money on, such as dry goods.

The products seem to be increasingly shoddy, as well. The last time I bought a shirt, the short sleeves barely cleared my shoulder blades and the tail wasn't long enough to stay in my belt.

Worst, in my humble opinion, is the checkout procedure. I feel like a pig in the chute of a slaughterhouse as I queue to pay. Lining both sides are items so ill-matched to impulse buys that I wonder if they ever sell. In the center was a cooler almost empty of Coke products.

The clerks at my K-Mart are the least engaging, most befuddled group I've encountered in a major chain store, no doubt another result of cheap operations. I can't remember ever going through the checkout process without some problem; a missing tag, wrong price, a card that won't scan.

I love to save money, but there is a line of cheap beyond which I won't tread. Comparing my K-Mart experience to that in stores such as Target and Wal-Mart, why would I ever go back? Life is too short to spend it in the K-Mart line.

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