Empty shelves and useless kitchen gadgets are the hallmarks of Blacktip Island’s new Screw-U-Mart ‘inconvenience store,’ opened to purposely anger island residents. (photo courtesy of Dan Keck)
A Blacktip Island entrepreneur this week opened the small Caribbean island’s first ‘inconvenience store,’ dubbed ‘Screw-U-Mart, to fill what he sees as a community need.
“Folks have it too easy on this island,” Piers ‘Doc’ Plank said.” They need to be challenged, to be grateful for what they’ve got. That’s where Screw-U-Mart comes in. We probably won’t have what you want. And if we do, you won’t be able to find it. Built the store down south, too, close to nothing, so it’s a pain in the tuchus to get here. People laughed at first, but we’re doing a brisk business. People’re gamblers at heart, and we’re playing into that.
“Shoppers come in eager to see what’s in the new store, and boy, do they get hacked off,” Plank said. “We carry mostly stuff no one needs like umbrellas, baby carriage wheels, bobble-head dolls, you name it. And of course, we don’t tell customers if we have whatever it is—they have to find it themselves. And if they can’t, we don’t care. Folks need to work for what they get. Or learn to live without.”
Local shoppers praised the new store.
“It’s hard to get stuff on Blacktip, so you get kind of blasé about shortages,” chef Corrie Anders said. “This new store changes all that. I drive all the way down to Doc’s place, he won’t have simple things like olive oil or potato chips, and I get annoyed as hell. I can cuss him, storm out and feel great the rest of the day. It cleans me out, then I can move on. I’ve got to where I enjoy getting mad there. If I’m having a bad day, I can go to Screw-U-Mart and get it all out of my system. It’s a brilliant, really.”
Local mental health experts agreed.
“Doc has created a lightning rod of sorts for the island’s residents, a service, if you will,” said Blacktip Island Psychological Association president Sigmund Skinner. “People are purposely driving out of their way, knowing their shopping expectations will be dashed, and releasing a lot of anger in the process. Long term, it’s much healthier, mentally, than keeping frustrations inside.
“It’s especially canny how Doc stocks genuinely useful, desirous merchandise, but mixes it in randomly among the junk,” Skinner said. “A can opener? There’s one there somewhere, but you’ll spend hours searching, and expunge a ton of anger in the process. Frankly, it’s as close as most Blacktippers will ever get to therapy. And most of them need that desperately.”
Other locals refuse to patronize the new store.
“Like there’s not enough that pisses me off already,” Rocky Shore said. “I can throw a tantrum in the comfort of my living room without the hassle of the drive. This’s just Doc pushing folks’ buttons. He gets off on that stuff. I won’t give him the satisfaction.”
The store has scheduled a series of sales, which Plank promises to cancel at the last minute. He has also issued coupons for in-store discounts, which he will refuse to honor.