Friday, July 24, 2009

Wisconsin's Victoria's Secret

Retail shopping in Wisconsin is an interesting experience. The harsh reality of Wisconsin is that the weather sucks. A lot. They get their first snowfall in October, and their last in April. They then have 2 months whose weather can best be described somewhere in between "planting season" and "brisk."

Around Fourth of July weekend, people get brave enough to venture into outdoor swimming areas (until then, most swimming is indoors....because of the climate, some genius in marketing figured out that if you build an indoor waterpark in a state that sees freezing weather 8-9 out of 12 months a year, people will flock to it like prison inmates to Soap-on-a-Rope). But, until those magical 3 months of summer (I will say this, no state in the country is more beautiful and has more going for it than Wisconsin in the summer), the weather always has the potential for astronomical amounts of suckage.

Therefore, the concept of One Stop Shopping is heavily embraced. Wal-Marts and Targets were welcomed with open arms throughout the state, and Wal-Mart Supercenters and Super Targets even more so. To be able to buy groceries, beer, hardware, rent videos, get film developed, buy electronics, and seeds for the garden in the Spring, all under one roof, and then being able to go straight to the car and go home, without having to go to 5 different stores in weather so cold your boogers are freezing inside your nose? Entire towns gave the big middle finger to their small businesses just for the opportunity to stay warm.

Even home improvement stores have gotten into that market. Where you used to go only for tools, lumber, and other home improvement-related goods, stores like Menards now sell limited amounts of groceries and books.

But the store that merges convenience in a matter more entertaining than all the others is Fleet Farm. Fleet Farm can almost be described as "Home Depot / Lowes / Menards.....for Farmers." There, you can buy stuff to build an animal pen, as well as windows and doors for barns (or, the home). But, it takes the convenience of home improvement shopping and merges it with the sporting goods shopping of Wal-Mart or Target, and offers a lot of recreational goods. I have been in grocery stores smaller than the section of the store that sells fishing poles and equipment at the Fleet Farm in Antigo. Across the aisle, they have water recreational gear.....inner tubes, water skis, etc. Elsewhere in the store is an entire section for all your hunting needs. Rifles, bows, arrows, ammo, knives, etc. In Fleet Farm, you can buy deer piss that will A, mask your natural smell, and B, make a buck think he's smelling a doe in heat, thus making it easier for a buck to walk right by you, allowing you to eat venison all winter while smoking a cigar in your easy chair underneath a mounted deer head.

And last but not least....they have a complete line of clothing. High-wasted jeans for those fashionable women who still think it's 1991. Practical clothing for men, women, girls and boys. Hip-waders, hunting jackets, clothing covered in camoflauge and trimmed in blaze orange. The camo is so that you can hide from deer, the blaze orange is so that other hunters see you.

But, what is amazing about Fleet Farm is that there is nothing.....NOTHING....that they won't trim with camoflauge and/or blaze orange. Which is why, when given the opportunity to go there (my daughters were going fishing with their uncle for the first time, and needed fishing poles), I jumped at the opportunity. Because, I knew I would see the following:

Yes, those are blaze orange panties, with some kind of animal motif. The kind of motif that folk artists will often paint on saw blades, but rarely on lingerie. And I also saw this:

Camo panties, for the hunter (huntress?) who likes to be completely in "kill" mode. Or, realizes that serial killers live in the woods, and just like in the movies, at some point she'll have to be running in fear while only in her underwear. Of course, the hot pink trim seems defeat that purpose, but I will never pretend to understand the mind of a hunter. But I will say this....tomorrow, Saturday, you can bet somewhere in Wisconsin, there is a young woman packing a bag for a honeymoon, and in her bag is at least one pair of underwear that you see here.


  1. You do realize that anyone who saw you taking these pictures with your cell phone may have assumed you were a total freak? There's probably a pic of you at the security desk now.

  2. Yeah, because Steve's the freak. Not the huntin' an' fishin' types getting their wimmin to dress up in magenta-edged camo panties.

    People from Wisconsin sound a bit f**ked up.

  3. Nah, Doc. In Illinois Fleet Farm is called Farm & Fleet, and I have to say a lot of my wardrobe comes from there. They really aren't a bad store chain. Not for the stylish, necessarily, but they do carry (for the most part) practical gear, especially for the farming and outdoor types.

  4. Heidi, that thought completely occurred to me. Who's the bigger freak, someone who buys trashy camo underwear, or the guy photographing it with a Blackberry? Tough call.

    Yobbo, to be fair, I know a lot of people from Wisconsin, and I know nobody that's ever bought these. But, I'm sure it's happened, or they wouldn't carry the stuff. My guess is, 99% of the sales are for stag/hen parties. And compared to most Americans, while a bit quirky, I'll take Wisconsinites over most. And if you're into hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, or water sports, Fleet Farm really is a great place to go. Just expect to see things you never thought you'd see.

    YD, two different companies. Mills Fleet Farm and Blains Farm & Fleet. I'm told that the Mills and Blain families were at one time related, and due to a family squabble, the Blains started a new company. They're about identical. In Wisconsin and Illinois you can find both stores.

  5. I lived in Wisconsin for about two years, as a kid. Place called "Florence", and then a tiny little speck called "Long Lake", up near... ummm... was it the Bruin river? Something like that. (I was about six. Why should I remember?)

    I do recall summer. Vaguely. What I remember most about Wisconsin summer is mosquitoes, gnats and midges...

  6. I stand corrected, then. Didn't know that. I've never been in Fleet Farm. Evidently they carry the risque wear for that long getaway to deer camp.

    Wisconsin is actually a great place to visit, from the Mississippi/St. Croix valleys to the Northwoods vacation lakes to Madison on a Badgers football day. We like to have words with them, especially when the Bears/Packers games roll around, but they aren't bad folk up there.

  7. Dirk, Florence is WAY the hell up there. That's even past Eagle River. No surprise you don't remember much, there's really nothing up there. You'd have to drive for well over an hour and a half to find a city of 50,000. It's right on the border between Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (AKA the UP...and people from the UP are called Yoopers).

    YD, Packers fans are good fans, and mostly civil. I have a photo of me in the parking lot of Lambeau Field giving the stadium two middle fingers, with no repercussions. And Madison is beautiful year-round.

  8. Oh, i love victoria´s secret fashion, i think it have the most beautiful collection in clothes, perfume or make up, it drive me crazy!!! I like the fragance and my boyfriend love it, specially because he need to be stimulated this days. Actually i buy viagra for him, he have had some problems, but i am sure we’ll solve it.