Sunday, March 05, 2006

COLUMN: Convenience?

Ha, ha. Good one, Quad Cities!

The joke's over now, though. You guys can stop. You sure had me going for a while there. But I'm a smart cookie -- I figured you out. So you can come out now, everybody. Umm... everybody? Anybody?? (Cough.)

This HAS to be some sort of malicious episode of Prank-The-Shane, it simply MUST. If it isn't a Quad City-wide conspiracy against me, it can only mean one other thing: that humanity is intrinsically evil. I'm not really in a big hurry to buy into all that "humanity is evil" stuff, so I'll just go on assuming it's a big game.

The game works like this, as I understand it. Let's imagine that you, Joe Quad-Citizen, are out and about on your daily business. Let's say you're at a store, a restaurant... heck, any business in town. Out of the corner of your eye, you can't believe it but it really IS him -- famed Dispatch/Argus/Leader columnist Shane Brown, live and in the flesh. This is then your cue to push, shove, maim, and do whatever it takes to get ahead of me in the checkout line. Once safely in front of me, all you have to do then is come up with your favorite method to make me late for work.

The winner of the game is apparantly whoever finally causes me to have a massive stroke. +10 bonus points for you if I hit the floor while still clutching a Frappucino in my hand.

I'm not a morning person, which means that I give myself precisely enough time every morning to leap out of bed, throw myself in the shower, assemble an outfit, and get out the door to work. Every second counts when you're me trying to get to work on time, so on those fateful mornings when the lure of the Frappucino proves too much to resist, I expect to be able to dash in and out of the nearby convenience store in prompt time. You know, CONVENIENTLY.

And it never works out that way. Just yesterday, I raced to the counter, Frappucino in hand, and surveyed the situation. Two clerks present behind the counter -- one helping two customers ahead of me in line, the other just there to apparantly make me mad.

Customer #1 is shopping for the Apocalypse. He's stocking UP. It's as if the news has declared that a Nor'Easter is on its way to Rock Island, and this guy couldn't dare ride out the storm without securing at least a month's supply of Laffy Taffy. Worse yet, he's paying in POCKET CHANGE. And his math skills are as bad as mine. I, meanwhile, begin checking my resting pulse rate with some alarm.

Customer #2 gets to the counter. She looks like an up-and-comer -- a young professional, a go-getter, a take charge looking gal. Most importantly, she looks like a girl on the move. This'll be fast. The clerk finally looks up from counting change with a "can I help you?" My go-getter opens her mouth, and, with the fury and speed I was so hoping for, utters the fateful words: "Umm, yeah, I need 50 Quick Pick tickets for the Big Game."

Nooooooooooooooooo. While I stood there, transfixed by my efforts to NOT break a blood vessel, listening to the "ca-CHUD" of the Illinois lottery machine spitting out my body weight's worth of Big Game tickets, I realized that nothing is the antithesis of speedy service quite like the lottery. "Quick pick," my fanny.

At the very least, if you are a business in possession of a lottery machine, you are hereby forbidden to use words like Speedy, Jiffy, or Express in your name. It's false advertising. By the definition of the poorly-spelled word, you are officially no longer a "Kwik" Shop. You are, in fact, a Sumwhut-Slo Shop.

I realize that I could have just put the Frappucino down and left in a huff, making it to work on time -- but in doing so, the terrorists, errr I mean, the CUSTOMERS would have won. Not a chance. I will not bow down to your games, Quad Cities. I stood there, I took my licks, and I walked out of there late but proud, Frappucino in hand.

Besides, if it wasn't for me having my patience tested that morning, I would've had no subject matter for this masterfully written column. Think about that for a second, all of you. Especially if "all of you" includes the one of you that's my boss here at the paper, who stared at me disapprovingly when I showed up yet again 3 minutes late for work.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm totally parched from all this typing. Anybody up for a Frappucino?

1 comment:

Wendy said...

*waving hand wildly in the air* "Me! Me! I'll take that Frappucino!"

You know, maybe if you'd get up just a few minutes earlier, you'd have the time for those quick stops for Frappucino. ;) I know, I know, it goes completely against the grain. But, if it'd save you stress and anxiety (not to mention glares from the boss) - wouldn't it be worth it? It's that or give up Frappucinos. Personally - I'd get up earlier rather than give them up! :D