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Rick's List — Business Plans for Dangerous Times Edition

It's been a few years, but my wife Eileen and I were driving through the Deep South and stopped at a Walmart in South Carolina to re-up our supply of road snacks and drinks. Wondering if we'd forgotten anything, we strolled around the expansive floorplan and beheld, against a far wall, a HUGE area allocated solely to the sale of guns.

Several folks were milling about there, and I'd spare you the predictable observation that they all looked like Charlie Daniels or "Deer Hunter"-era Robert DeNiro if he'd just emerged from a bit of sporting fun at a deep-jungle Russian Roulette tournament — except that's what they DID look like.

The reason I bring it up is because I was reminded of that experience by the recent upswing in gun vioence and angry scofflaw-lessness in general — and, also, the realization that nothing's going to change.

Now, before you call Lee Elci and complain about my anti-gun screed and ask him to beat me into marmalade — this is not an anti-gun screed. Rather, I thought, well, I sorta like the idea of having a perfectly normal company with one small aspect of it devoted to Meanness Possibilities spinning off from the original, innocuous business plan. I assume the Walmart visionaries didn't start off with the idea that customers could buy some Kleenex, shoes for the kiddos, Mountain Dew and, oh, yeah, some automatic rifles.

But that's progress! Similarly, how about:

1. Fireworks season approaches. I like those mom 'n' pop roadside stands that sell harmless explosives, but why not expand inventory? "I'll take a dozen bottle rockets, two Roman Candles, and five of those Taurus KEPD 350 surface-to-air missiles!"

2. Landscaping and gardening center. Worried your neighborhood has become inundated with folks you'd rather weren't creeping across your property? Land mines!

3. A pet shop. SO many opportunities.

A. Up front, of course, because of the instant thrill factor, would be the Viper Display. I foresee a helpful clerk approaching as we peer at the reptiles. "Hey, there! We've got a nice deal on Gaboon Vipers, just in from the sub-Sahara, so you'll want to keep the heat on so they'll be comfortable until you hide them in someone's mailbox."

"That's nice, but we were hoping for something more, maybe, punishing? One can't be too vicious these days, right?"

"Ha!" the clerk chortles. "That's the world we live in. OK, how about a fer-de-lance? They're two-for-one this week. And, talk about a necrotizing and painful bite!"

B. The toxic spiders section. And scorpions! And you can certainly pick up a few cartons of genetically engineered ticks farily bursting with Lyme Disease.

C. Don't forget the Rabid Pets section with a "Catch of the Day" based on what maddened animals have been delivered to the store by the Animal Control folks. Drop them off in your (perceived) enemy's yard for foam-mouthed fun!

4. Stores that sell cigarettes and harsh European cigarettes.

5. A looting-supply company. Why should you have to sneak around jury-rigging the gear you need to loot businesses during riots even though they have nothing to do with whatever you're angry about? Similarly, if you're going to drop by the U.S. Capitol to overthrow the government, you'll need more than just bear spray.

6. Reverse Walmart — 90 percent guns and one box of Cheerios.

7. Christian bookstore with one section of "how-to" material for those curious about theistic Satanism. 

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