Monday, May 09, 2005

Good To The Last Drop

Saturday morning we awoke to discover that our coffee maker had broken. In our house this is tantamount to a full-scale disaster, on par with a space capsule running out of oxygen or tequila being denied to Tara Reid and was met with the same reaction; gut-piercing screams and the rolling of bodies on the floor in agony. I left Rigel on the couch, hollow-eyed and lifeless and crawled the two blocks to Linens and Things to procure a new lifesaving device.

Our only requirement was that the coffee maker come with a stainless-steel thermal carafe so this narrowed the choices down to two models, and I was able to tackle one of the nearly-extinct helpers in the store and ask him for his opinion. Once I made my choice I needed a clarification on the price - the shelf sign said $119 but the price tag on the box said $129. He made a quick trip to the register and confirmed that it was $119 so I grabbed the box and spent a few minutes shopping around, so excited that my mission had taken a mere ten minutes. I picked up a pack of placemats (it was the day before Mother's Day, after all) for the unbelievably low, low price of $4.99 and headed off to the checkout.

The checkout clerk was a surly broad, and she made no secret of the fact that she was not happy being here on a Saturday, her former job as Ambassador to the United Nations having fallen through and now she was stuck here scanning housewares for the likes of me. She brandished her scanner mightily and tossed my purchases hastily across the counter as she scanned, proclaiming "I am Sheena, Queen of the Checkout. I don't like being here on Saturday for the likes of you." I meekly interrupted her to point out that the coffee maker should be $119 and not $129 as it said on the price tag.

"Ma'am, didn't you see this label? It scanned at $129, and the price tag says $129" she pointed out as she nudged the box with her snout.

"Yes, I KNOW what the label says, but I asked a salesperson and they verified that the price is actually $119."

"Well, can you go find that person?" She was getting less pleasant by the minute.

I started to point out that that was actually her job, and maybe she should move her lazy ass from behind that counter and start earning her money, but she was wielding her scanner like a scythe and I saw her discreetly move the switch from 'scan' to 'annihilate' so I went off to find the salesperson who had helped me. I spotted him outside the window gathering carts and I motioned for him to come in. As we were waiting I noticed that there were now 500 angry people behind me in line, and some of them were carrying torches and hatchets. And Sheena once again asked me, "Did you see this tag? It says $129." She kept pointing at the price tag with her hairy paw. She was getting me angry, and I pulled back the leathery flaps covering her pointy ears and yelled, "$119!! $119!!" My voice was high and shrill now. Luckily the clerk showed up and saved her from certain death. He confirmed that he had verified the price on another register as $119, but this still didn't satisfy Sheena, Indignant Queen of Checkout and she called for a manager.

By now it was nightfall, and I had been in the store for days. I imagined Rigel at home, laying prone on the couch with a vacant stare, the girls trying to revive him by rubbing coffee grounds under his nose and prodding him with their plastic fairy wands. Most of the people behind me in line were dead now, either from exhaustion or a lack of food and water and I was horrified to see the skeletal remains of the last person in line being feasted upon by rabid shoppers using wire whisks and wooden spoons.

Finally the manager showed up and pulled out an even bigger scanner and waved it majestically over the coffee maker. It sputtered and smoked and flashed the numbers '1-1-9' and he proclaimed the price in a loud booming voice for all the land to hear, "One Hundred Nineteen Dollars." Once again the goat-headed Sheena insisted, "The tag says $129 and it scanned $129." She dared to defy The Manager and he moved toward the register, tearing the printout from it and, upon reading the tape he bellowed at her, "It says right here on the receipt '$119." Those of us that were still alive clapped and cheered for we all knew her ass would soon be fired. She sullenly finished my purchase with not even a 'sorry' or 'thank you' but I felt vindicated nonetheless.

Once at home I revived Rigel by injecting 10cc's of French Roast directly into his main artery and began telling him my story of The Triumph Of Good Over Evil. He feigned interest but I knew he was bemoaning the fact that he was married to a woman that would allow her husband to slip into a caffeine-withdrawal coma by haggling over ten dollars. As I talked I opened up my new placemats and was shocked to discover that my 'pack' of placemats were actually intended to be sold separately, each one tagged with a $4.99 price tag, and I considered for a moment returning to the store to pay for the rest of them as any honest, forthright person would do, but reconsidered when I realized I didn't have an extra twenty-four hours to spare in their checkout line. I felt guilty for a few seconds but then thought of Sheena and her menacing, all-powerful scanner and I didn't feel so bad after all.

Archive File: This Life

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1 comment:

  1. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhaaahaaaaa! ha ha haeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaw

    ROlling on the floor laughing...typing later


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