Driving home from skiing today–it was a gorgeous day in California, by the way–I saw a Bass Pro Shops in a city called Manteca. I had only seen it advertised on TV, but had never seen a real one. On TV it looked so huge that I thought the real ones could not be that big. Wrong. It really is that big. The place is a toy store for both adults and kids, especially for males.

I went in and went straight for the motorboats. When I was a kid, we had so little money that I learned just to appreciate looking at things I couldn’t ever imagine being able to buy. I remember during the long winter months in Canada going to the same page in our Eaton’s catalogue and looking at and dreaming about motorboats. Today, I can easily afford to buy a boat but I’m not planning to and I still get that same enjoyment out of just looking at the boat and run my hand the whole length of it. Indeed, I taught myself so well when I was a kid that I can go through a store and see lots of things I love, leave empty-handed, and still have a good time.

But the deals at Bass were so good that I actually did buy three things. I love collecting caps but, with rare exceptions, won’t buy them unless I can get them for well under $10.00. Their own Bass Pro Shops cap was priced at only $5.99: I’m sure it’s because of the free advertising they get when people wear their hats. The next thing that I put in my cart was a beautiful head lamp for only $20. Then I found a part of shorts made of nylon and tried them on: they fit perfectly. Also, one of my big frustrations with shorts in the last 10 years or so is how long they make them: I don’t like shorts that come close to my knees. These were actually shorts. Price? $15.00 (actually, $14.99, but I round.)

I love capitalism.