Monday, December 07, 2009

Oh Thank Heaven!

When I was growing up, I bought my candy and baseball cards at a neighborhood liquor store called Angelo's. It was a dark, very adult, kind of creepy place filled with a whole aisle of "party gags" like rubber vomit, nudie pens and plastic ice cubes with flies in them plus a whole wire rack of plastic bagged three-packs of off-brand porno magazines like Cheri or Swank (which I learned considerably later is supposed to be an adjective, not a verb). That's because there were no 7 Eleven stores in Benton Harbor. But I knew about them because of commercials I'd see on WGN. They seemed like magical, exotic places. Clean and well-lit with Slurpees flowing like multi-colored rivers of frosty joy. I especially wanted to get my hands on some of those special edition Chicago Cubs collector cups, thinking my whole family would benefit from the dinner time experience being enhanced by looking at the visages of George Mitterwald or the Reuschel brothers on our drinkware as we dined...

As with so many things in life, I found out the eventual reality was not nearly as exciting as what I'd built it up to be in my adolescent mind. Turns out they're just gas stations that sell grocery items. Don't get me wrong, I like them. Their hot dogs are great and sometimes, having a Slurpee can be almost a religious experience. It's just that, much like air travel, going there is not a special experience. I think it could be better if they'd get rid of cigarettes and lottery tickets. I realize that's never going to happen because those items represent a huge source of revenue for them and that there are people who go there just for those two items. But I always seem to get behind somebody buying one or both of them and it's never an easy transaction. Why are there so many different varieties? (This is a rhetorical question, 'rhetorical' being Latin for 'I don't really care what the answer is'). It just seems like every time I get in line at these stores, somebody is buying cigarettes and/or lottery tickets and the process is an ordeal. Lotto shoppers: Talk about pointless. Whether you pick Mucho Money! or Greeny Greenbacks! or Crunchy Coins! or whatever, it makes no difference whatsoever. Your odds are exactly the same and none of them is more "fun" to "play" than another. Jesus, just pick something and get out of my life already! At least the cigarette people are exercising a personal preference based on taste and degree of cancerness or something. But it's still unnecessarily difficult for these people to complete a purchase. Last night, a guy wanted Marlboro reds, medium. And as always, the clerk couldn't find them among the 800 different brands of cigarettes. "No, up...left...no, not green. Red...yes! No, the other one...down...right..." I don't smoke or work there, but I knew what the guy wanted. One day, I'm going to climb over the counter and get them myself, and probably get tased or shot for it.



(Here's a picture of George Mitterwald, in case the beefcake above wasn't enough for you. Also, it should be noted that the Reuschel brothers baseball card is labelled incorrectly; that's Rick on the left and Paul is on the right. Now you can sleep tonight.)

2 comments:

Wildhair said...

I recall my first 7-Eleven experience. I was staying with my older sister in Glenview, IL and one was just up the road. I could walk there from her condo.
What did I buy with the babysitting money I'd earned? Not a Slurpee. No, not candy or a magazine.
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Tampons.

Jessie said...

My favorite "totally not considered cool" guilty pleasure is buying a pressed Cuban Sandwich from 7-11. There's just something about their Cubans that is just...heavenly. (Oh yes I did.)