Geetings From Stockton
Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
45Trip End Dec 01, 2007
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Where I stayed
I had a pretty ironic and interesting morning and I will get to that later. But first I want to write about the afternoon I spent in the newer Downtown area that has all of the major stores that include Walmart, Target, Home Dept, Hometown Buffet and about 20-30 other small to large chain stores, where you can find just about anything you might need.
For those who are reading from another Country, the idea of all of theses chain locations popping all over the place, and being located with a few short blocks of one another is yet another controversial issue involving big-business moving into town and forcing all of the mom-and-pop stores such as hardware, restaurants, and many other types of businesses out of business. Some are boycotting, but the fact remains that the smaller stores cannot compete with the volume sold, and invariably, that is winning over. Another point about this, there are many, is that the CEO/employee degree of pay is so lopsided, CEO's make enormous profit, Billions, and employees at the entry level make very little according to the cost of living and infinitesimal amounts compared to the CEO's Additionally, rarely do they have benefits. I read last night actually, about the climbing void between the two and found some interesting statistics. "It takes a typical employee 215 days at 8 hours a day to make 10k. It takes a CEO 1.75 hours to earn the same amount." Appalling.
If the "People" are boycotting, it did not show as I spent a few hours buying necessities as I waited for Mark the Minister to pick me up from Stockton as had been arranged All of the stores were packed and I was able to find a lightweight, small, simple camera that c.n either store pictures on a small disk or can upload approximately 3 using the provided memory.
I am all for the mom-and-pop place, and I am sad to see the owner of a hardware store that stood at basically the same place for 35 years, greeting me at the front door of Walmart, when he or she should have been retired by now, with his son running his store. The scenario sucks, but I see the trends and with common sense, pragmatism usually follows. Lets use my inexpensive, probably foreign produced camera, in which I paid a grand total of 90 dollars to walk out of the store with and use in a matter of minutes. In the idealized by some, I would have search for a small camera shop, maybe placed an order and waited a couple of days to get or by chance it was in stock. Maybe I would have paid the same amount but probably I would have paid more, and in this Fairytale world, camera's such as mine are locally produced, contain better components and last longer although they are probably heavier. Ok, I have done my deal, I have supported M&P(mom and pop)from now on, contributed to local labor, local shipping etc. However, I no longer have a 5 minute turn around, buying a camera, a Phillips Head screwdriver and 3 other unrelated things. In the Fantasy World, I am directed to 4 other shops, which may or may not be close, and need to be driven to, hence, removing my "Green" aspirations, where they may or may not have my items, and some, it may be necessary to order. Understandably, I have created a complicated scenario, but a possible one if the big stores had not moved into town and the picket, organizations and possibly the lawsuits had been successful.
These would have contributed to the town of Tulock in many ways, thy are all possibilities. I would have stayed in a M&P motel for a few days. I would have shopped and eaten in M&P markets and restaurants during my stay. However, in this backward, bizarro world, I would have probably went to the local M&P theater where they are just starting to show "talkie's or advanced enough where I can see the newest innovation called Technicolor," this is how far a repressed and failing to adapt society may have progressed.
The drawn out point is that "progress," is not always a bad idea. Unchecked development without a plan to provide for both the citizenry and the environment, including the now as I understand it endangered "Delta Smelt," are. For those of you who have continued down my little trail of "rant," congratulations and the moral of the story is that I will wade through the hoards and buy my five items for a small amount, fill out my little warranty card, save my receipt and if anything goes wrong, I will will bring it back to one of the many Walmart's, get a refund or replacement, depending upon what I want, and be enjoying a Sirloin Steak in the "Hometown Buffet," in walking distance from Walmart, where my expensive traveling gear is locked up safely behind the spacious return desk. I was so happy with the convenience, and if it was not so packed with people, I would have taken a seat, also offered, quickly figured out how o take snap-shots and taken a photo of the local wildlife. That of course would have been the overly happy staff at the return desk at the Walmart. They were up for the suggestion, safely behind the desk and I fit were not for the "Sirloin Steak" sign, which was calling my name, I would have complied If I had not been hungry.
With my rig now restock and with my camera, my choice of restaurants was either "Applebees," a chain, or "Hometown Buffet," where the the sign made my decision was made I will not, at this time comment about the patronage of each restaurant, other than the Buffet attracted a certain type of person, an the other attracted a different "body-type." It is interesting the looks I got while standing in line with the others in the buffet. I am generalizing of course, but I was there because I knew that I was low in calories having not eaten during the day. I knew that the only way to get the required calories was through a reasonably priced buffet. I cannot say the same for the others and I was surprised that some of THEM were staring at me as an oddity, with my layered long sleeve shirts, holding a bike helmet, wearing a backpack and wearing well worn sweatpants that had a liberal application of chain oil/dirt on my right leg. In the real world, I was not the one who looked ridicules.
The time was 4pm, I had received a call from Mark, the episcopal Minister/boat owner, who was on his way to pick me up from Stockton with a generous offer to stay in his home with his wife. As you can maybe tell from my writing, that it was quite late in the day and I had traveled and accomplished little as I had checked out of the motel at 12:30 pm. The Sahara Motel I believe on Golden State and 1st st. There is a reason that I will briefly share and save my meeting with mark, and enter some pictures later in the day as I am about ready to leave nd see the boat.
Last night when I checked into the motel, the Hispanic couple who owned the place had turned a dirty motel into a nice travel motel, and I had a nice chat with both of the owners and they were impressed at my level of Spanish speaking, which is getting better every day.
The next morning I was ready to go as Golden State looked clear to Modesto and I was thinking that If I left at about 7am, I would have decreased the mileage that Mark needed to drive to get me. At 7, I knocked at the front door to return my key and remote and to get my 10 dollar deposit back. Well, the place was deserted, and their vehicle was gone. It does not take a genius to figure out that these people were "old School" locals and as it was Sunday and they looked traditional, they were probably in church. This is no big deal, as the sign said open from 7am-10pm Sundays. I figured that they would be returning soon. My gear was packed, my door was open, and my bike rig was staddling the threshold, it was obvious that I was ready.
At 12:30, the whole family returned, dressed in their Sunday best, and yes they were Catholic and yes they had been in church all morning. I returned the items, got my 10 dollars and noted that their sign should be changed to indicate that they are not open on Sunday morning, or they should hire a clerk. I then mentioned that I should be compensated for their inattention and my inconvenience. It that point, things changed dramatically. To make a long story a bit shorter, it ended with several Spanish expletives, that I cannot repeat, other than they had to do with my mother and her birth. I learned a long time ago that most people do not know my mother and statements with no knowledge do not effect my world. They also told me to leave, which I did.
I thought it would end there, but apparently not, as this family has other local relatives that are young, "gangish" looking and owned the typical vehicles that accompany that appearance. They made a valiant attempt to harass me as I continued n/b but made no obvious attempts to hurt me other than references to my heritage. I knew that the big shopping center was nearby, so I continued until I reached Walmart and secured my bike inside. Apparently, this was as far as the family wanted to go in their attempt to intimidate me. I found no reason to include the police which would mean a lot of translation probably, no crimes were committed and this was a Civil matter to top it off. No harm no foul. Excepting my time, which is flexible and my feeling which were not hurt. My laughing all the way probably did not help, and my sense of danger is warped anyway. All in all it was intertaining.
I will stop now, see the boat an get familiar with my camera a prepare the pics I had taken of me, plus a really nice Israeli family I met at Starbucks Coffee house, who were nice enough to take pictures and have a picture taken of them, which filled the storage capacity of my camera, I need to buy a disk.