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Blue Remembered Hills

I don’t have a lot to say about either, so I am writing today about Hills and K-Mart.

K-Mart first, since it is still in business. I just checked.

I don’t have a lot to say about K-Mart. K-Mart has always sort of just been “there”, like cabbage. Not anybody’s favorite, but with few detractors. I know I must have shopped there a lot, but the only thing I remember is the time my dad bought a Zebco fishing reel, and when my mom bought me my Texas Instruments TI-81 graphing calculator. Sadly, it doesn’t play Munch Man.

My mom worked at K-Mart for about a week. It’s not there anymore. It was the first K-Mart I ever personally saw ran out of town by Wal-Mart. A church bought it and runs their ministry there. I hear they built the altar by the Blue Light.

Now, there’s only one K-Mart left in my area. I went there a few years ago. I didn’t buy anything.

Hills was our somewhat local chain. Think of a slightly upscale K-Mart. Or a smaller Sears. Anyway, what set Hills apart was their big TOY AISLE!

Hill’s had a toy department maybe 60% as big as an entire Toy’s R Us. But the prices were much lower. Duh, it was a discount chain. I thinkĀ  almost all of my Christmas gifts came from Hill’s. Except the nerdy stuff I got from Radio Shack. Your begging goes further at Hill’s!

I got my first electric guitar there (a Synsonics Terminator, with built in speaker!), my Nintendo, my Genesis, and all my games. They also had a bunch of computer games. I remember being pissed that all they had were Commodore 64 games, when all I had was a PC. Then, after I got a Commodore, all they had were PC games. Damned Amiga 500!

Hill’s had been struggling for years. They were eventually bought out by Ames, which was also struggling. Like two drowning gerbils in a clothes washer, they latched on to one another and rode themselves into the briny deep. Worst present ever.

Maybe I should add something about Heck’s. It was a smaller retailer, sort of like a 1/4 scale model of a Hill’s or a K-Mart. But the merchandise was full size! The only reason to shop there is that you felt like you were saying something dirty. At least you did when you were 8. It was driven out of business by K-Mart, the same way Wal-Mart is driving out K-Mart. But Heck’s went much faster due to being smaller to begin with and serious management fuck-ups. Yes, I’m still bitter about the Lucite paint.

I also remember Big Wheel. Never went there. And my parents went to Murphy Mart once. It was in Dunbar? Near Kroger. And my aunt worked at JC Penney. Too ritzy for my blood!

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