Wednesday, May 25, 2011

7-Eleven Shopper

Today, I stopped by a 7-Eleven convenience store for a soda and a snack. This wasn’t a new experience for me, but it is far from typical. This time however was slightly different.

My 7-Eleven haul almost always includes a bag of Combos and a Big Gulp – not to mention a lottery ticket, and while I debated mixing it up by getting a donut or something instead, I immediately set off to locate the Combos.

I responded to the greetings of the workers behind the counter and made my way to the back of the store. This 7-Eleven was in a shopping center and it was deep and narrow. In other words, it was set up completely different than any I’d been in before. It was also completely empty save the two employees behind the counter.

The lay-out of the store was a little strange, so I looped around the aisles several times hoping something would catch my eye. One of the workers, an older gentleman with a thick accent and a heavy limp, walked down and asked if I needed help finding anything.

My response: “Just trying to get a feel for the place.” I have no idea what that means, but it came out naturally as I was busy searching for a flavor of Combos other than Pizzeria. After a few more minutes dawdling between the two aisles, I made my way to the drink station with Pizzeria Combos in hand.

A second customer who looked like a construction worker entered the store and got to the counter before me. He was buying cigarettes, and due to a communication breakdown, it took a minute so I had a moment to stand back and take it all in.

That’s when I noticed the muddy footprints by the door right next to a Caution: Wet Floor sign. “Gees, they must have just cleaned the floor. You think he would have wiped his boots,” I thought blaming the grubby construction worker.

But then I followed the heavy footprints as they trailed mud and dirt to the back of the store. My full aimless path could be easily followed with a set of alarmingly clear footprints all the way up to where I was standing. I looked down and lifted my shoes to see more dirt fall off.

I approached the counter feeling the shame and awkwardness of my unknowing mistake. My mind raced for some smart quip or apology or some way to acknowledge my misdeed, but I remained silent, unable to even make eye contact.

As I walked away, convinced I would find a patch of mad to blame outside, I heard the man with the thick accent and heavy limp say to his colleague with a hint of defeat, “I need you to mop the floor again.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wal-Mart Shopper

As I am sure my most faithful readers know by now, winning the lottery is a big part of my plans for the future. For one reason or another, I find a way to mention it almost as often as I disappear into long stretches of eerie silence.

Recently, my wife and I found ourselves in Wal-Mart with the goal of spending money. I’ve had two gift cards in my wallet totaling a little less that $100 since Christmas and frankly, the size of my wallet had become a pain in my ass. Those two cards had to go. It was almost like we had won the lottery.

After picking out a few items for both of us, we split up to spend about $20 each on whatever we wanted. My wife headed to the make-up and hair product section and I headed to the garden section. Then I went to the electronic section. Then the sports and games. Then the clothes department. Then I looked through the shampoos and checked on my wife. Then back to the electronics.

In all that is Wal-Mart, I could not find anything I wanted. In fact, I only considered a few things: the new Harry Potter movie, an automatic adjustable wrench that was 20% off, and a tower fan that, at $45, was out of my price range.

The gift cards were from Christmas, so as I stopped to appreciate the fan display, I tried to remember what was on my Christmas list. I couldn’t think of anything and before I knew it, I was wondering what would happen if you lined the expansive roof of Wal-Mart with little wind turbines and maybe designed a roof with aerodynamic grooves to harness the wind and...

I had to stop, for even a little wind turbine would be more than twenty dollars. I think I should win the lottery before I start scheming up any more big ideas. Yep, I might need to win the lottery two or three times in order to keep up with all my plans.

Unfortunately, I have yet to win the big one. Maybe that’s a good thing as I have a hard enough time deciding what to do with twenty dollars.