It wasn’t until Nick Klinkenbergh and Nathan Connor had walked all the way through the crisp fall night to the bus stop that they realized they didn’t know if the bus was even coming.
“I figured one of you guys had it under control,” Nathan said, looking up and down the road as if the bus would appear if he looked hard enough.
Their destination was the holy grail of college shopping. The place where two weeks of meals could cost as little as four dollars. Where psychedelic graphic tees in the wrong size could entice a fun-loving, money-blowing, young adult to use that new debit card.
These freshmen were headed to Walmart.
Eventually figuring out that the bus was, in fact, not coming anytime soon, the pair began the cold walk back the way they came. They would get a ride with a friend’s roommate, who happened to have a car on campus. Lucky break.
“Bruh…This place is huge,” Nick said, laughing and gawking as he cleared the sliding doors.
“That’s Walmart for you,” Nathan said, grabbing a cart then quickly putting in back in favor of one with nicer wheels. He was clearly the more experienced of the pair when it came to grocery shopping.
As the pair began to stroll through the aisles, a realization seemed to set in. They didn’t really know what they were there for. They knew they needed some food, but what kind? And how much?
“Fruit roll-ups are a truly quintessential college snack,” Nick said, his phony academic accent justifying the junk food.
He added a package to the cart.
“Woah, woah, woah, jelly-filled donut Oreos?” Nathan said, disbelief and joy mixing on his face like a child receiving that long-shot toy on Christmas.
He tossed the package in the cart.
Aside from the seemingly random snacks and easy-to-make dinners accumulating in their shopping cart, Nick and Nathan also set their sights on some other items available at the superstore.
As Nathan pushed the cart down the main aisle, Nick would frequently pop in and out of sight. He wandered ahead, looking at everything on the shelves from 99-cent DVDs to toy guns, which he would fire sporadically at his companion.
“What I really need is a scooter,” he said, promptly disappearing toward the sporting good section.
“Why does he need a scooter?” Nathan asked, laughing to himself. “He already wears those damn Heelys everywhere.”
Nick returned a second later, smiling from ear to ear, with a scooter box in his arms, raving about how its big wheels were going to be good for navigating sidewalk cracks.
Having filled their cart, the duo headed back toward the registers where their variety of food, none of which was extremely healthy, stacked high and began to flow across the self-checkout kiosk. The machine beeped and chirped indifferently as it added dollar after dollar to the boys’ receipt.
“Sixty dollars!” Nick said in alarm, seeming to just realize that all the things he picked out were going to add up. “Damn, that’s like six trash cans…”