There is no awe in the supercenter anymore. On its face, in its bowels, its guts, entrails, aisles, displays, shelves; there is nothing but a brute facticity that provokes solemn reverence. It is there. No more "Did you know they put the milk in the back so you have to walk through the whole store and end up buying other stuff" or "They arrange the displays by the registers like that so your eyes catch..." No, now things just are as they are. They belong there. There is a fixed coordinate point in space where milk is. This is a truth unalterable and unalienable. A marginal piece of life has been solved in it. 

The old question of how we capture consumer interest has more or less been decided. If there are those questions it's for the new guys with new products to sort out. It's their job to make the boxes for whatever they intend to shove in the greater arrangement. For us, it's just an exchange upon the space that remains. One day on the shelf there is this and now tomorrow that. Little matters, there is no difference. The flavor of change exists only in the box's color, the font that forms monosyllabic gestures at fencing in an inch of the mind's memory. Nevertheless, the kind is decided. The metaphysics of the supercenter is both sophisticated and settled. Its system complete.

“I really don't like doing this. But you can't really tell unless you feel them.”

“It doesn't matter. You don't eat the peel.”

“I guess that's true. Yea, I guess in this case it really doesn't matter at all.”


“Admittedly the optics of standing here for ten minutes fondling them still doesn't feel ideal but you are right that it doesn't actually matter.”

It seems unlikely to imagine ever a great new extension being made. A new quadrant of existence opened up and met. Even when new stores open in malls it is more or less a variation on a theme. I think at one point we took it sardonically as a fact that the great engine could, and would, always produce something new to satiate the desire for an originary consumptive experience–to usurp the old, the stale, and the bland. Maybe this wasn't so. Maybe this is it. Maybe we are in the final days where quibbles of name and font are all that remain for the human experience to sort out. Shifting as they do only in gentle sways between the optimized look, a staleness of presence, the different as new, the return of the old as nostalgic. The supercenter changes none as the aisles blink rhythmically. This is beauty. 

This is what it is to watch your television set as a show accidentally plays on. Its black frame, the grain of hard plastic in subtle curves, a glass bubble swelling out from its opening that casts color every which way bouncing off its own silver reflective logo. It hardly notices the ceaseless changing. Bright shining colors strike it and it dulls them at the moment of their very touch as it stays. This is the power to endure. Your television would make a great fascist. This is so. The supermarket endures. This is its quiet dignity.

This is why malls died. There's something intrinsically gaudy about the mall that could hardly survive beyond the 80s. It insists upon itself as the spectacle. It clings to its acme and suffers its fall ungracefully. This is the maturity of the supercenter that its children, the goods themselves, lack. They must nervously change. Supermarket, like Budda, you hold them not so tightly as to cling. Things come and go and you remain fixed. Your health is but the soft hum of maintenance. To be maintained is to keep as is. To endure in a manner that necessitates change as maintaining, yet preserves the appearance of timelessness. I trust you'll never ruin. Truly I do. I hide away all Romantic impulse when I say earnestly that I will never wander you abandoned and mossy. Never see leaves spring from the crags of your concrete floors. You will never ruin. The sun on your empire may truly never set. I'd sooner imagine the end of the world than your end because only the end of the world could displace your perfect need. Your quiet presidial dignity. 

“Did you see that?”

“Hmf yea.”

“Do you think they noticed?”

“I'm not sure. Neither of them has turned.”

“Maybe they run split plays for grocery shopping.”

“But they weren't talking. and they both turned like simultaneously.”

“Maybe they talked about it in the car.”

“No way.”

“Perfectly plausible.” 

“They would of split earlier then. If you previously discuss split plays you split at the entrance of the store not at the back of it, silently, and simultaneously, and with no verbal 'i'll meet you in the clearance aisle' or whatever. No way.”

“Maybe there's an understanding. Plus if they both needed something at the back why wouldn't they walk together in the interim you anti-social freak? If you do an early split normally it's because one of you is hitting the front corner shit like shampoo and deodorant.” 

“Yea I don't know.”

“Also you said silently twice.” 

You have changed, this is clear. But your changing attests to your power to endure. It is the settling into perfection, that's to where you've changed. We all once thought that perfection was a transcendent goal. That it was something one builds to, slowly climbing up, tweaking and innovating until the great zenith is reached. The irony of optimization is it takes for beauty too much of the spectacle and the spectacle may never endure. The spectacle in proportion to its greatness as unveiled decays severely arousing no nostalgia nor reverence. The timeless is unassuming. This invisibility cannot be designed. No, such invisibility is found only as it is proved as enduring–as a settling unto perfection. It's a humility.

“Where do you suppose it is?”

“I'm really not sure. There's kind of a.. myriad of possibilities. Could be in snacks .. which is kind of categorically amorphous. .. Maybe chips? It is .. I don't know .. like chip associated.”

“Tomato sauce aisle? And company?”

“It is tomato-ee. Ingredient wise it'd be close. Definitely could be. But I don't know if its going more off that or like method of consuming. Hence the whole chip-snack suggestion.”


“could be in the like ‘..ethnic’ category. Not to be presumptuous” 

“a little presumptuous.”

Sheen and glamor fade. Once it was insisted upon. Why were you then open 24/7? There was a day of the supercenter when it was closed only once as the singular event of Christmas. Then, on any usual day, one could wonder at any hour. One could stand below a field of white light, stand at its very great center, alone and solitary, all but only the vague notion of dispersed stragglers and staffed workers shuffling in far away corners. You could be there for no reason other than to bear witness to the possibility, to hear the supercenter prove it could be open. They could leave the lights on just for you and it would make no difference to them. This age of extravagance has passed. As remiss a passing as it may be, it speaks enough. You've matured and you have settled. This is perfection. No longer is that which is possible done because it is possible; no, now the leaner being you are you forgo indulging the spectacle because such indulgence would only tarnish your stature. Spectacle is for he who clamors for recognition. Recognition sullies the invisibility that speaks your true stature. Like road, like air, like any essential element of being, you are among them. You are incorporated into being. Shoppers use you like they use the floor; that is without any thought. That is what your stature affords. Only that which is unthought is timeless because only that which is invisible may ever evade the upturning gaze.

“Which one do we get?”

“I don't know. I think I remember like 'restaurant style' or something. Could be red.”

“Sometimes I like to get a different thing. Than the usual. Cause then you realize like the one Mom always gets sucks.”

“Cause she has bad taste.”


“Sometimes I get a different one than the usual to spite Mom.”


“Yeah. Wel-”

“Do you think medium is spicier than mild?”

“... yyes I think medium is spicier than mild.”

hmf why'd you say it like that?”

“I forgot which order you'd said them in.”




'Chunky' is not a very appetizing word.”