Buy bibles, guns, and sweatpants

Reported on Facebook by a friend, who treated it as a display of real Amurrican values, this sign on an aisle in a US supermarket:

Aisle 11: a text culminating in Guns Bibles Sweatpants

As always, I wanted to know what store this came from and when, but the sign came to me as something just being passed around on the web, and nobody involved in such transmissions (of images or text or both together) has any interest in knowing where they come from, so it’s pointless to ask. Since such memic items are very often inventions, or involve doctored photos, I was suspicious of this one: too good to be true?

Some rooting around eventually brought me to the relevant fact-checking Snopes site, but not before I’d fashioned the climax of Aisle 11 into a parody song.

Versifying. The climax

Guns Bibles Sweatpants

clanged suggestively in my head. I reversed the first two items to improve the meter, made the list of three into an explicit coordination with and, and got the metrically excellent:

Bibles, Guns, and Sweatpants

(with alternating accents) — a line that echoed the pulsing title line of Warren Zevon’s “Send Lawyers, Guns and Money”. So I wrote a parody of the whole verse.

Zevon’s line in context:

And I’m hiding in Honduras
I’m a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
The shit has hit the fan

My supermarket parody:

If your’re shopping aisle 11
And you’re an America fan
Buy bibles, guns, and sweatpants
Stock up on what you can

But let’s catch up on …

The Snopes verdict. From the Snopes site, “Real Store Sign Listing Beer, Pizza, Guns, and Bibles In One Aisle? “Just found the America aisle at the supermarket,” someone commented”, by Jordan Liles on 8/26/23:

Claim: A photo authentically showed a store sign listing beer, pizza, potatoes, guns, Bibles, and sweatpants, in one aisle.

Rating: Fake

… We found multiple postings of the image.

… [A] search led us to a September 2020 Reddit post on the r/memes subreddit where the image was captioned, “Freedom ain’t fat free.” … [and a user there] claimed responsibility for creating the image with digital-editing software.

… This finding doesn’t mean that no stores in the U.S. (or elsewhere) feature all of the alleged items in one aisle. It just means that this specific image was not real and [was] created simply for entertainment value on Reddit’s r/memes subreddit.

So, yes, too good to be true. But expressing a strain of thought in American life; see my verse.


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