Sunday, May 28, 2006

Turning bottled water into wine

Hillbilly Mom's recent troubles revolving around her attempts to score hard drugs in the broad daylight reminded me of my similar exploits in high school, and today I'm going to regale bore you with the story. Sherman, program the Wayback Machine for 1993, because here we go:

My High School had an open campus policy during lunch, meaning that those of us with the means (or the will) were free to leave school and escape the culinary terrorism that is a school cafeteria. Being a typical broke-ass teenager, I couldn't afford to be heading over to Burger King and dropping $20 on lunch every week, so I made do with the next best thing: EZ Mart. During each brief hour of freedom, I would pop over to the EZ Mart down the street from school and score some poor white-boy drugs. (that's caffeine and sugar, for the unenlightened.) While I never took the occasion to weez a little juice, I did manage to faithfully purchase the same thing every day: 1 12oz can of Dr. Pepper and 1 Twix. Now we're getting to the point here, (and in the second paragraph no less - I'm on fire today!) because throughout my career of lunch-hour excursions I never once paid the same amount of money. Day to day, the prices were up and down like ferrets on crack. I don't have exact records of course (because I didn't have Excel back then) but I remember paying anywhere from 89 cents to a buck-fitty for my lunchtime fix.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I came extremely close to missing this retail phenomenon. The first time I sidled up to the register with my drugs of choice, the total came to exactly one dollar. I thought "Hey, this isn't a bad deal - I don't even have to bring along spare change!" I was completely hooked from that moment... because of the erotic promise of exact change. Looking back, I might have been able to get clean if it had been $1.12 or $1.03... but there was no way I could deny President Washington the satisfaction of flying a solo mission.

Once the mysterious pricing at the EZ Mart became apparent, I dubbed it "EZ Mart Economics," and set about trying to explain the reasoning behind the seemingly random behavior. My first theory was that prices were higher on friday to rake in some extra profit from weekend traffic, but that was shot full of holes when I paid 89 cents that week. For a few weeks I was baffled, but then I noticed that neither my Pepper nor my Twix were sporting price tags - and they never had. Now this was in the days before every cash register in America could afford the bling of a laser barcode reader, so what was obviously happening was that the clerk was ringing up my purchases from memory... and therein we have the solution to my tale. Unfortunately, it doesn't involve pulling a rubber mask off of anyone, or a bunch of meddling kids and their dog.
The chain-smoking leathery grandma or the Dante Hicks wannabe jockeying the register was just guessing at what I should be charged, if there was even that much thought put into it. Considering that the filter of a reasonable person's (or convenience store clerk's) idea of what the drugs should cost, it's especially fascinating that I never got a repeat price.

So to you, Hillbilly Mom, I say "Enjoy the ride - you've only just begun!" To the kids in America I say "Kids under 6, don't drink and drive. And drugs, stay out of school!" As for the rest of you, I'm speechless. Thanks for reading my meaningless drivel... now I'mma go score me a Twix and crank some Go-Go's tunes. Rock, Rock ON!


Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

We, too, had open lunch. This was back in the day when kids cut the legs of their bell-bottom jeans to sew in extra fabric, so it might not surprise you that not much learnin' went on after lunch. The stoners got stoned, the smokers got smoked, and the only fast-food place we had was a Sonic and a Burger Chef. Yeah. Burger CHEF. They later became Hardees.

The stoners were back on time, (if they came back) because they were paranoid. The sobers were always late, because the fast food wasn't all that fast, and we had to drive a ways to get it.

I laugh when my students demand the right to an open lunch. Been there. Know what gets done during open lunch. So does our administration. It ain't happenin'.

No real point to my comment...thanks for the trip down memory lane.

2:51 PM, May 28, 2006  
Blogger Redneck Diva said...

Open lunch at our school began in 9th grade and boy, that first day of 9th grade I was armed and ready to go! We walked up to RoseMary's store and my BFF and I got a tuna salad (from the cooler GASP!), a bag of Ruffles and a can of Coke for $2.50. Every. single. day. My Sophomore year there was a greasy hamburger house (they called it "the cafe" but it was really just some lady's house) across from the gym and oh those were some tasty, greasy burgers! My Jr and Sr year we had Butterfield's General Store and every day, without fail I got a Frito chili pie and a fountain Coke. It was also in the General Store that I slapped a guy for calling me a bitch. I was famous for that one for, like, all of 5th hour.

Yes, like Hillbilly Mom said - thanks for the stroll!

4:48 PM, May 28, 2006  

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