Today was our trip home, big fun on the Interstates for our family of 5, plus Lucy the basset hound. Right before we hit Alexandria (or as northern LA people say "Alec") Scott asked if we should stop to eat and I said we could wait until Lafayette. He stopped, pulled in to a Cracker Barrel.
I have a history with the Cracker Barrel. It was a fun place to go in college because our friend Bryan would ask the server for a "40 minus 8 root beer" and we'd have a grand old time. For those in the know, Cracker Barrel serves a 32 ounce root beer in a bottle. I always got tea, sweet tea, as God intended iced tea to be. We'd all eat too much and make fun of the place, as I tend to do anywhere I go, generally. So, I continued to enjoy the Cracker Barrel until Scott and I had children.
For some reason, the Barrel of Crack is a mecca for bad behavior and has tons of crap for sale that no
one needs. I'm thinking you've never been sitting at the kitchen table and said to your spouse, "you know what we need? Some candles that look like small logs, people will get the irony — that it's a log on fire." No, really. No one needs these.
The best of the worst at Crack le Barrel (my fave of my nicknames for the place) are the knock-offs of actual decent stuff you'd find at real stores. This is where the retail part of the joint goes beyond average and kicks it into high gear. I'm thinking it's to tick me off. I'm pretty sure the big
-wigs are thinking of stuff I have that they can
replicate and sell for cheap, knowing I'll come in and get all pissed off at it. I can spot a knock-off of most anything at (and I'm bad a measurement, cause I missed that day in school) 50 yards. The place
loves to copy Vera Bradley bags. I love a VB bag, especially my new one, a cargo-satchel wool plaid limited edition I carried all weekend. Guess what I saw today. Go ahead, guess. I'll wait. If you guessed a cargo-satchel wool VB knock-off you win one of those wooden triangle golf tee games that's missing a few tees. Just for fun, I held up my bag (which is way mo better 'cause it's mine) and took a pic. Want to play spot the fake? Hint, it's the one with the price tag. My VB is the pretty one on the bottom, looks like something I'd carry my gun in I were hunting, if I carried a gun or hunted. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those. Still, the knock-off is pretty damn close. I'm sure lots of gun toting Crackle Barrel customers will be buying those for loved ones this Christmas, 'cause it would fit a pistol, cell phone, keys, and a lipstick. And a silencer, duct tape, and maybe a body bag if folded properly.
The absolute worst part of the retail side of the Crackhead Barrel is the toy section. There are many new versions of old toys, like Raggedy Ann, Slinky and the like. Now they also carry Webkinz, which are crack for kids. There are stupid games and those weasel ball things. I detest the toy section, because I know my girls love that crap. My kids have expensive American Girl dolls, but show them a weasel ball and they're mesmorized. Almost instantly, Molly starts asking for a stuffed parrot that copies what you say. I told her we have 3 small people in our house that copy what I say, so, no, I don't think we need anything
like that. Then I saw this. Yes, that would be a stuffed possum on the right. I can think of no good reason for a human being to own a stuffed possum. I can think of no good reason for a child to have one of these or for an adult to purchase one for a child. Well, maybe if it's to complete your stuffed roadkill collection, but that's it. People, I'm sure I don't need to point out that the stuffed possum is being sold in the Crackle Barrel, where there may very well be possum on the menu. I'm sure I don't need to point out that there were dead possums on the side of road before turning into Crackle Barrel. I'm really sure I don't have to point out THAT IT'S A DAMN POSSUM. This is the very reason I should be an Ambassador of Good Taste for the Obama administration so it would be my duty to remove items such as this from stores. I have a feeling I would have had to clear out half the Cracker Barrel. Seriously, does anyone reading my blog have connections? I'd really love that job. I'm the perfect candidate.
Finally, I have not mentioned that I am allergic to the place. They sell virtually every smelly odor-producing thing known to man. I'm shocked the possum's tag didn't advertise "now with authentic possum scent!" When I walked into the store my nose started twitching and my eyes were itchy. During our 30 minute wait, while taking pics of ridiculous products, I was on the Kleenex hunt and heard more "bless yous" than in Sunday service. I was out of Zyrtec, no Benadryll, I was a sneezy, eye-watery mess. Now, I'm a mess occasionally, but I hate being an allergy mess. We had a chaotic lunch and left without any weasel balls, talking parrots, or possums. And my lunch was possum-free, or at least that's what I'm led to believe.