Friday, July 29, 2016

Two Guys

An unexpected benefit of decluttering our laundry room: I was reunited with a bottle of Revere Ware Copper Cleaner bearing a Two Guys price sticker. Two Guys was a discount department-store chain; I worked in a Two Guys housewares department through two or three years of college. I must have brought the copper cleaner with me (along with some familial Revere Ware) when I left New Jersey for Boston in 1980. This bottle traveled around with me, with Elaine and me, with Elaine and Rachel and Ben and me, for thirty-six years.

I have thrown the bottle away, but I had to save the (slightly damaged) sticker. It now stands in a frame with another piece of found ephemera.

I remember well the men and women I worked with at Two Guys. John, who showed me how to use the shrink-wrap machine, treating every step as if it were a matter of life and death. (I understood only later: he was a vet.) Doug, refugee from the Bronx (“I’m bookin’”). Another Doug, who would reprice Farberware boxes for family and friends. Michael, who was surprised that my family had potatoes with dinner, just as I was surprised that his family had rice. Dave, who had lost his dry-cleaning business and couldn’t see well enough to manage the numbers on the pricing gun (everyone helped him out). Vickie, who spent several hours curled up in a garbage can one day. It was a clean can — merchandise, back in the can aisle. (God knows what might have happened had a customer lifted the lid.) Eric, assistant department manager, who would head back to the stockroom for an occasional dose of Southern Comfort. (He was quite open about it.) Don, department manager, with a child on the way, and the company beginning to sink. Elaine, our other department manager, whose chipped front tooth only made her more attractive. All the guys dug Elaine. Yes, she knew it.

Here is a strange, depressing Two Guys commercial. Here is some Two Guys background from Pleasant Family Shopping. And here is an Orange Crate Art post about “going on break.”

[“Elaine and me”: my wife and me, not my manager and me.]

comments: 4

Fresca said...

Oh, I felt a pang at thoughts of people I used to work with...
Then I had to look up the etymology of "pang"--what a funny word!

pang (n.)
1520s, "sudden physical pain," of unknown origin, perhaps related to prong (prongys of deth is recorded from mid-15c.).

OK. So, prong:
prong (n.)
early 15c., prange "pointed instrument;" mid-15c., pronge "pain," from Anglo-Latin pronga "prong, pointed tool,"

Which brings me to Monty Python: :Come at me with a pointed stick", and now I feel better.
What a blog post can do.

Michael Leddy said...

A gamut of feelings. (Another strange word.)

You had me wondering if the word prang explains Prang crayons (pointed tools?), but no, Prang was a surname. Oh well.

Diane Schirf said...

The commercial was interesting — no mention of brand for the electronics. "A toaster!" Is that like "some rocks"?

Michael Leddy said...

That’s what I thought too. “An iron” sounded especially depressing. But listen again: they’re GE.