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My top 5 most hated stores

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A couple of days ago I was given the unenviable task (by guess who) of buying something from The Home Depot in my lunch hour. This has been one of the worst summers in my recollection in terms of Home Depot trips. I feel like I'm in the store every other day aimlessly walking about looking for something I can live without.

Anyways, searching in the Home Depot isles looking for hinges, it occurred to me that there are a few places that I really hate to shop or dine, and so I decided to make a short list. Now, let me make it clear that this is just one man's opinion. If you disagree, leave a note. I can handle opposing views just fine. So here's the list from worst to less worse:

1- Wal-Mart - If this store was as famous as K-Mart when the movie Rain Man was made, you would have heard Cruise telling Hoffman, "Wal-Mart sucks." And does it ever. I'm no pretentious snob (at least I don’t think so), but looking for lowest prices in a warehouse full of Chinese-made junk isn't my idea of fun. But lest you think I'm judgmental, I actually defied my wife a few times and tried Wal-Mart. The result was items that I disposed of quickly, or leaving the store empty-handed with a headache.

2- Taco Bell - I'm not much of a fast-food diner, but my last visit to Taco Bell was six years ago and I haven't been back since. What I experienced was bad food and no sanitation. Yeah, run for the border and don't come back.

3- The Home Depot - This is one of those stores that I hate to shop at, but I keep finding myself in there over and over. They have decent quality and selection, and prices are fair. But finding what you want and paying for it takes immense patience. The omni-present crowds, especially on weekends, is a test of endurance. I always have to mentally prepare myself before shopping there.

4- Neiman Marcus - I told you I'm not a snob, otherwise I would have loved this store. Want to rub shoulders with a bunch of pretend-wealthy people? Then that's the store for you. I can't find anything in there that even my daddy can afford, and fur isn't my style anyways.

5- Car dealers - Okay, I couldn't come up with a particular one because they're all the same. Pushy salespeople and that feeling of being taken for a ride (no pun intended) no matter what. The last time I bought a car from a dealer was over 15 years ago when I had just graduated from college and finally had a job with a steady income. Being giddy with my whopping 30K salary, I succumbed to the obligatory ritual and bought that semi-new car, a demo VW Golf. What I really ended up with was inflated financing, inflated insurance, and inflated tax. The only good car is a used car you buy cash from a dealer you really trust.

If you work for one of these places or are a loyal customer, feel free to disagree. Like I said, it's just one man's opinion, and, needless to say, subject to change.

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