I don’t consider myself a snob. I don’t think that the name brands you wear or the kind of car you drive says anything about your character. I think some of the nicest people in the world shop at thrift stores and live well below their means. I celebrate those people. So, I am clearly not a snob.
Having said that, I have always refused to shop at Walmart. The mere thought of driving through the parking lot gives me anxiety.
And don’t even get me started about Kmart. Something about the lighting in there has always depressed me. It’s not that I think it’s dirty; I really think it’s just the lighting. And the dim lighting makes it seem dirty and drab. I wish they would hire me as a consultant to come in and revamp the look of their stores, spruce things up a bit.
However, since our move to St. John in the Caribbean three months ago, I’ve changed my tune. Instead of avoiding Kmart like the plague, I run to it like a long lost friend. I dream of my next visit. I make long lists of everything that I should be able to find at the Kmart on St. Thomas. I board the $50 car ferry. (The Kmart I’m telling you about is not down the street or even across town; it’s on another island altogether!)
I fight the crazy traffic. I walk bristly into the St. Thomas Kmart with purpose and excitement. And then I shop. I shop for body wash. I shop for rugs. I shop for trash cans and trash bags and beverage glasses and yoga mats. I buy baking tools and towels and shower curtain liners. I find coffee makers AND filters. They have it all. Did you even have a clue? I guess I’m late to the party.
Life on St. John has changed me in many ways. I’m still the same, down-to-earth person I always was… but now I truly can say I appreciate the little things… An island yard sale, a decent cell phone signal, car ferries that run on time, good beach chairs left by the dumpster, and definitely a nice, productive trip to the St. Thomas Kmart. For me, island shopping in the USVI is refreshingly different than shopping stateside.
Have you ever surprised yourself by falling in love with something you least expected. Were you traveling when you discovered a diamond in the rough or a Super Center in the middle of nowhere? I would love to hear of your exciting discoveries!
Ashley Cates, St. John USVI blogger.