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8:27 a.m. - 2002-08-26

PULP FRICTION

I am never stepping foot inside another Circuit City again.

Well ... at least not until Tuesday.

Last week, all I wanted out of Circuit City were two DVDs ... "Pulp Fiction" and "Jackie Brown". I didn't want no lip, although I received plenty of that free of charge. I passed on the headaches and the stress involved in going inside Circuit City, yet they slapped on an abundance of that. I didn't need the constant harassment of salesmen desperately trying to sell me a wide screen television that doesn't have a picture tube in it, but they'll let me have it for $50 less than manufactured retail price and "dammit...THAT'S A BARGAIN!"

Yeah right.

All I wanted was "Pulp Fiction" and "Jackie Brown". And in reality...all I really wanted was "Pulp Fiction". The only reason I wanted "Jackie Brown" was if you bought both DVDs at the same time, you saved five dollars automatically and then you were given rebates to save an additional $10.

Seeing as how the DVDs only cost $16.99 ... that meant that after $15 worth of savings, one of the discs would only cost $1.99.

In my mind, I assigned "Jackie Brown" as the $1.99 special disc.

Following me so far?

Good. Because I hate leaving the mathematically challenged behind in my little escapades.

So let's recap last week quickly.

On Tuesday I went to pick both discs up. I don't have a Circuit City credit card with me because it was old and tattered and has been thrown away. But I still have an account there with a credit on the account. Just...no card to prove it.

The cashier said there was no record of me having an account there. Her exact words were "You ain't got no account here". I got mad, left the DVDs on the counter and stormed out of the building.

On Wednesday, I take proof of my account in (a bill saying that I have a credit on my account) in order to purchase the DVDs and say "IN YOUR FACE, HO!" to the cashier.

They're out of both DVDs and tell me that they'll have more in on Thursday.

On Thursday, there's still no DVDs. I'm assured that they'll be there Thursday afternoon after five o'clock.

I go back after five o'clock. Still no DVDs. I'm assured they'll be there by noon on Friday.

I CALL Friday around noon rather than just go over there like the fool they think I am. I sit on hold for 11 minutes before some geek tells me that there's still no DVDs, but they will DEFINITELY be in by 4:30 and that he will put both DVDs aside for me to pick up after work.

I call back at 4:30.

The DVDs are IN!!!! Hallelujah and pass the government cheese, THE DVDS ARE IN!!!

So I get off work at 5. I go pick Andrew up from daycare and weave in and out of traffic over to Circuit City.

I get there at 5:45.

I rush over to the DVD section.

They're all sold out of "Pulp Fiction" and "Jackie Brown". In a little over an hour...all of the copies were gone.

Not a problem. I go to back up plan #1.

I explain to the cashier that I had called at noon and that an employee had said he was putting two copies aside for me because I've been a royal pain in the ass all week and by God...I deserve my two copies.

There weren't two copies set aside for me and the cashier not only had no idea what I was talking about but said it was against policy for employees to "set things aside" for customers.

It was time to go to my ace in the hole.

Edweird had gone over to Circuit City right at 5:00 to pick up his copy of "Pulp Fiction".

In our infinite wisdom ... since I knew it'd be an hour before I could pick up mine, I told him to hide me a copy somewhere in the DVD section and to let me know where it was.

He had called me on my way to pick up Andrew telling me that he had hidden a copy of "Pulp Fiction" behind a DVD of "State Property".

I asked about "Jackie Brown". Had he hidden me a copy of "Jackie Brown", dammit???

No.

But he said that the "Jackie Brown" DVDs weren't exactly "flying off the shelves".

Somebody please remind me to kick Edweird's ass today.

So now my job is to find my hidden copy of "Pulp Fiction".

I have two problems. I have Andrew in my arms. He's fussy and wants to go home because people are staring at the gaping hole in his head. He wants out of my arms so he can haul ass outside and into traffic.

So I'm wrestling with him.

My other problem is a 6'6", 400-lb. shaved head monster man.

This guy is already one step ahead of me and is rifling through all of the DVDs, trying to find an errant copy of "Pulp Fiction".

I know this because he's holding the last copy of "Jackie Brown" in his paws.

So, while holding a squirming Andrew, I'm frantically scanning the titles of all of the DVDs, trying desperately to find "State Property" out of about 300 DVDs while this humongous escaped mental patient is shifting them all around.

I try calling Edweird on my cell phone to ask him where exactly in the hell is "State Property".

I call his house. His soon-to-be wife Ramona says that he's taking a dump and her eyes are watering from the stench.

Oh for the love of God.

I hang up on her and keep scanning.

Just as I'm about to give up, I see it.

In big gold letters...."STATE PROPERTY".

I lunge for the DVD, nearly knocking the humongous escaped mental patient (whom, for the duration of the story, will now be known as HEMP) over.

There it is.

The Holy Grail.

"Pulp Fiction".

I do a victory dance in my head and try to play it off like "Dude. That was the first place I looked."

HEMP isn't too happy.

"How did you find that?" he asks in a low scary tone.

"Uhhhhh...I dunno. It was the first place I looked."

He stared at me.

"I guess that's the last copy," he said all depressed. "I've got Jackie Brown here and wanted to buy both of them."

"Yeah," I sighed. "Me too. They apparently aren't ordering enough of them and can't keep them in stock."

"Yeah," he said. "I really want Pulp Fiction."

"Yeah," I said. "I really want Jackie Brown."

We stood there like the most bizarre pair of star-crossed lovers ever, wondering how we were going to handle this situation like gentlemen. Me holding a squirming kid and him wanting to chop my head off with a machete and eat my eyeballs.

Finally, this guy did something much nicer than I would have ever done.

He handed me his copy of "Jackie Brown" in a moment of defeat.

"Here," he said glumly. "Happy birthday."

"How did you know it was my birthday?" I squealed, lying through my teeth.

"Is it really?" he asked increduously.

"Yeah," I lied, now firmly on a roll. "I was having some friends over tonight who really wanted to watch both movies tonight and now everything will be complete! Dude....thanks!!"

So at this point, even though I feel guilty as crap, I'm ready to get the hell out of there and away from HEMP, who is clearly depressed over this. He wanted to save five dollars too. He wanted an evening with Quentin Tarantino too.

And now he was going to walk away empty handed.

So it's over, right?

Well....uhhhhh....no.

Andrew's REALLY wanting to get out of my arms and check out DVDs. He loves looking at DVD cases.

Fine. I have time. Susie's working til 10 p.m. doing inventory at the office so we've got all night.

I put Andrew down in the kid's section and he's in Heaven, looking at all the cases and throwing them back on the ground.

Meanwhile, HEMP is walking my way. Naturally, I'm thinking he wants both DVDs and I've got the words "Black Jack, no trade back" on the tip of my tongue as I clutch the DVDs tightly to my chest and prepare for the fight of my life.

"Sooo..." he starts. "What's your favorite Quentin Tarantino movie?"

It's Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction is my favorite all-time movie, hands down. It's the best movie ever made.

"Pulp Fiction," I said warily and then I remembered my predicament. "But I like Jackie Brown JUST as much."

Okay...that was a lie. I saw Jackie Brown once back in my dope-smoking days. I remember absolutely nothing about the movie other than that it was no Pulp Fiction. The only reason I desperately needed the DVD is because I wanted to get it for $1.99 for a limited time only. But truthfully, I could die a happy man without ever seeing "Jackie Brown" again.

So HEMP says that he likes both movies equally too.

But NOW he wants to know my favorite scenes in both films.

WTF???

Dude....I THANKED you for giving me Jackie Brown. I truly, truly appreciate you being a bigger man (literally) about it. But I had gone through hell with Circuit City for four days now and in my clouded judgement, I felt I deserved both DVDs.

This is all going through my head of course. Well ... that and desperately trying to remember one single g-damned scene from Jackie Brown.

I vaguely remembered that Robert DeNiro and Gwyneth Paltrow were sitting on a couch smoking dope in the movie. Because when you smoke dope and you see someone else smoking dope in a movie, you get an instant kinship with them and you tell yourself "Man...everyone in this movie MUST have been high when they made this film!"

Am I right, stoners?

...You damned skippy I'm right.

So I said "I like that scene in Jackie Brown when Robert DeNiro and Gwyneth Paltrow are on the sofa and......."

At that point, I acted like Andrew was doing something horrible and needed my immediate attention so that I didn't have to finish the sentence and have the guy realize that I was just a scam artist who took his coveted DVD for the simple reason to save a couple of bucks.

"You mean Bridget Fonda," he said.

"Huh?" I said, scolding Andrew for sitting quietly and looking at a Barney DVD.

"It's Bridget Fonda, not Gwyneth Paltrow," he corrected me.

"Oh. Yeah. Right," I said. "I always get those two mixed up. You know those skinny blonde coke-snortin' chicks."

At this point, HEMP goes on a five minute diatribe on why Quentin Tarantino is the best American film director ever.

I'm clearly in over my head with this guy. I just wanted to take his DVD and get the hell out of there so that I could put my keys in the ignition and all this guilt over scamming him would be erased.

But HEMP was intent on taking out this kind gesture in flesh. Or at least movie trivia over flesh.

It wasn't painful listening to him. He clearly had some good points about Quentin's movies. But the guilt of standing there, holding something that meant a lot to him was eating away at me.

He finished his Quentin soliquoy and I said I'd better move on as the kid was getting hungry.

The kid was sitting there happily and probably never quieter.

"Do you like the Beatles?" this guy asked me as he trailed me to the cashier.

"Not particularly," I said.

"Oh. Because 'A Hard Day's Night' comes out next week," he said.

"Wow," I said in my best fake impressed tone. "I've never seen that movie."

Oops.

Now a five minute diatribe on why the Beatles were the best band ever and their movies were instant classics.

Meanwhile, the lines at the cash registers were reaching six and seven people deep. I get in line while pretending to listen to this guy and he gets in line behind me with the DVD of "Caveman" which he happened to have found between his Quentin and Beatles monologues.

So while we stand there he drills me with several other questions.

"Have you seen 'Out of Sight'?"

"No."

"Have you seen 'Blood Work'?"

"No."

"Have you seen 'Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius'?"

"No."

"Have you seen...."

HOLY SHIT YOU CRAZY BASTARD!!! YOU GAVE ME THE LAST COPY OF A DVD YOU DESPERATELY WANTED. I THANKED YOU. I THANKED YOU SEVERAL TIMES. I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR GIVING ME THIS DVD. BUT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY...PLEASE....PLEEEEEEEASE ....QUIT MAKING ME SQUIRM IN GUILT OVER THIS!!!!!

...Naturally, that's what my brain was screaming. My mouth was saying "No, no, no" like a drunken sorority girl in the back bedroom at a frat house party.

As it was about to become my turn at the register, my guilt finally overtook me. I had taken his DVD. I had gotten the last copy of my DVD hidden by a friend so that nobody else could have it. I was a greedy, greedy pig and needed redemption.

"Are you sure you don't want these DVDs," I asked the gentle, but boring giant.

"No, you go ahead," he said. "I'll pick them up at Walmart."

There. I can now purchase these DVDs guilt-free. I had let this lonely man talk about movies for nearly 20 minutes to me and became his quiet sounding board. I had been his friend and confidant. We had shared a bond. Well ... he had. I just stood there feeling guilty as all hell.

I paid for the DVDs (saving a whopping five bucks....HEEEEEE!!!) and told HEMP it was nice "talking" to him.

He said the same thing.

And just as Andrew and I reached the exit door, he hollered out "Oh! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!"

I cringed, lifted my arm up and waved and said "Thanks!"

I never had the guts or the heart to tell this guy I won't be watching either DVD for another six weeks when I move into my new house.

I didn't want to see the guy cry.

I get home, open the discs up and look for my rebate forms to go ahead and send those in so that Jackie Brown will end up costing me $1.99.

Kids...it pays to read the FINE PRINT on those stickers on the front of boxes that say "SAVE $5."

I can "SAVE $5" if I already have a copy of "Pulp Fiction" on DVD. The original version.

I don't have that.

So I can't save $5.

And since I'm not going to be buying a copy of the "Jackie Brown" soundtrack, that's another $5 I'm not saving.

So I ended up paying $14.49 for "Jackie Brown" ... a movie I don't give a crap about ever seeing again.

Somewhere, there's a guy who looks like Vincent D'Onofrio in "Full Metal Jacket" with his eyes rolled back in his head and giggling his ass off over this.


"Have you seen Psycho?"

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