Menards seems to be some sort of vortex where time collapses into itself. There have been a great number of instances where I’ve entered the store for something as simple as a box of nails only to find myself at the exit hours later. I’ve got my nails… but I also usually have a random assortment of things I had no intention to buy (or even look at). I’ve made lists! I’ve even repeated the mantra to myself, “enter the store, walk to the item, purchase, and leave”. I can’t explain it – there’s just something about that store that begs you to stay longer. I’ve actually witnessed perfectly intelligent people entering Menards and discover them later looking more like a bunch of mouth-breathers; mumbling to themselves, “I’ve never seen this aisle before. I didn’t know they sold 9/32” drive nut-driver extensions.”
Last year, in a brave attempt to keep me on track, the whole family paid a visit to Menards to purchase a countertop. It didn’t take long before they too were off aimlessly wandering around. In a rare display of fortitude I found myself trying to figure out what kind/length/drive screw will work best for this project when I suddenly heard, “Dad, dad, you gotta see this! Come’ere! Come on, hurry! Bring your camera!”.
Over in the ‘Winter Wonderland’ (the annual walk through area displaying the current assortment of cheap Holiday decorations) was this unique Santa-like figure. He was surprisingly thin and stood about six feet tall. His body swayed back and forth – but only at the knees – and he moved one arm up and down. He would also occasionally turn his head back and forth. Oh yes, and he sang… and we’re pretty sure it was in Swedish. Either that or somebody put the batteries in upside-down. The only thing we could understand with 100% certainty was the “Fa-la-la-la-la“; which he sang with great enthusiasm!
Favorite part: the knocking sounds his knees make the whole time he shakes his money maker.
Granted, there’s a lot of Swede’s in Minnesota… but, is there really a market for this?
Now, Sweden’s version of Santa is known as Jultomten – and he’s a mischievous elf. According to folklore, Jultomten spends most of the year hiding under the staircase, in the attic, or in any other dark corner of the house (not surprisingly, Sweden is also the location of the first recorded nightmare). Jultomten may reward or punish households depending on his mood; so customs suggest that the family leave small offerings of liquor and tobacco about the house to appease him.
That’s it! I’m convinced that this poor singing audio-animatronic figure isn’t supposed to be Swedish – he just fell prey to the real Jultomten’s capricious nature!
If this mischievous old Scandinavia elf does actually live or work at Menards this may also explain the odd time paradox I mentioned above. Just to be safe, I think I’ll start bringing cases of Schlitz malt liquor with me into Menards. Maybe depositing a few bottles in dark corners will insure a speedy shopping experience.