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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Why your Earth stores are still doomed

It's not just the coronavirus panic. Your Earth store clerks are making things tough for us Martians again

W hile everyone else on this planet, with infinite complacency, went to and fro over the globe, serene in the assurance of their ability to kill each other and burn their own cities to ashes without any consequences whatsoever, I busied myself in translating a strange binary message I encountered while surveying the fourth planet of our solar system, currently in retrograde, with my backyard wireless. Here is the message in its entirety.

Hi! We've been studying your world, much as you humans might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of your Earth water, and we came across a strange phenomenon.

We were on your Earth Internet the other day buying Earth books. Yes, I know UPS doesn't deliver to our planet yet, but our leader has been in contact with your great leader Elon Musk and has been informed that they will start delivering soon. So far we have over 144,802,006 Earth books on our wish list (Textbook of Microbial Diseases, Veterinary Forensic Pathology, and Illustrated Guide to Miniature Implantable Probes being among the most popular).

Cinder blocks on Amazon
Pallet of cinder blocks from Amazon. Boy, were we pissed when these showed up

But then we went to the Barnes and Noble site. We found it plastered with political slogans and strange books all talking about something called “racism.“ Our scientists, even those who spent their lives deeply engrossed in Barnes and Noble studies (a field of scholarship surpassing even Amazon studies in its intellectual achievements), struggled to understand this.

They tell us that America, which once called itself the home of the brave, is now the home of people afraid to walk in the sunshine without a mask and people who take a knee to whoever accuses them of thinking bad thoughts. It's evidence that you humans are doomed. Worse, you seem happy about it.

We tried to ignore the politics, but paying 50% more on a hundred-dollar book makes B&N uncompetitive. We can't buy food or large items like bricks or cinder blocks on Amazon. Oh, they have them, but we discovered they're actually smaller than they look in the picture.

So we tried visiting one of your Earth brick-and-mortar stores. Here's what we found. Sales clerks, if they could be found, gave snarky answers to questions. When we asked where the Earth food was, one clerk told us to buy a bag of fertilizer and sent us all the way out to aisle GC05, which turned out to be the gardening section. Another time, when we very politely asked them to take us to their leader, they just called us ‘Karen’. And we know nothing of this ‘Halloween’ they keep asking us about, or whether it is early or not.

Even worse, items were located in random places, making them hard to find. No checkout lines were open, forcing us to make repeated trips to use those evil self-checkout machines.* Even when they are open, their checkout space was so small the clerk had to scan items while they were still in our cart. Which meant they missed two grommets and the little pack of M5-0.80×20 stainless steel screws that fell to the bottom. Yeah, well, we're not sending those back.

Then there was the constant surveillance and the constant threat of a false accusation of stealing. The whole store was filled with little TV screens with a blinking message on them saying RECORDING IN PROGRESS. We felt almost like they didn't trust us.

And the masks, oh those horrible Earth masks. They prevent us from knowing whether you're smiling. There's one advantage: no one can see that we're actually green Reptilians, or that we're muttering to ourselves that the store clerks are all minions of Satan, which they are, or that your planet is doomed to roast in a fiery inferno, which it is.

It reminded us of the last time we came over, when we discovered that you humans have cooties, which was so shocking to our pilots that it caused some of our ships to crash. And then one of your science fiction writers wrote an entire propaganda screed accusing us of being invaders envying your planet when we landed in a place called Woking, UK a while back.

By the way, we trust you found that bat virus that we loaned you last year interesting. We hope you didn't let it get loose!

But we are offended. I mean really, how racist is this:

“. . . the Gorgon groups of tentacles . . . there was something fungoid in the skin, something in the clumsy deliberation of the tedious movements unspeakably nasty. . . I was overcome with disgust and dread.“

And those scurrilous lies about our physiology and how we don't have sex but instead reproduce by budding off each other. As if! And heat rays? Pshaw! That was Charlie and his supercontinuum sterilization beam. How many times did one of your store clerks point one of those little infrared thermometers at our forehead, then look at it and tap on it with their hand while making that puzzled expression that you humans are so good at making. Your Earth heat ray technology is hopelessly feeble and unreliable compared to ours.

And this libelous talk about us spreading a poison cloud to demoralize you humans. We were aghast at how our benevolent intentions were twisted into lies. And then your American entertainers broadcast more lies, telling listeners we had landed not in Surrey but in New Jersey, causing panic and terror and destructiveness which our cool and vast and unsympathetic minds inform us is the humans' natural state.

Bacteria? No, politics is the humans' disease, and politicians and activists are its super-spreaders.

Your H.G. Wells even quoted the Daily Telegraph, or maybe it was the Daily Mail, as saying “Hailey Bieber shows off her TONED figure in a crop top and mini shorts while she and Justin Bieber CAMP in Utah!“

No wait, wrong article. It was “EXPLOSION on MARS as ball of FLAMING GAS heads toward EARTH!“ Yeah, that was us. Don't pay any attention to that. It's just the brilliant white flash of our pencil-thin beams. We can fix your problems now without the risk of contaminating ourselves. Our leaders tell us we're morally obligated to help. Please remain calm.

* One of them asked one too many times whether we wanted our receipt e-mailed to us. We're sorry to say that blasting it with a ray gun kind of created a panic in the store, but it sure felt good.

sep 27 2020, 4:26 am

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