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5:39 a.m. - 2003-10-06

THE CUSTOMER IS NEVER RIGHT

Yeah.

So Saturday we go downtown to this Arts and Crafts Festival which, to me, is about as much fun as having your ear surgically removed with a jagged razor.

Basically, the streets are filled with an overabundance of retarded gypsies who have nailed a couple of rotted 2x4s together, slapped a $2 clock in the middle of them and are trying to sell it to the public for $350.

We spent exactly one dollar down there and that was on cotton candy, thinking Andrew would get a kick out of it.

Andrew wouldn't touch it because

A) It was too sticky.

B) He thought it was a flower or something and didn't want to ruin it.

I run into an old friend of mine down there who's a magician.

He's a good guy. Excellent magician. Put three kids through college with his knowledge of magic and tours the country doing shows.

Naturally, he possesses the common sense to not cram his head into a tiger's mouth and call it "an illusion".

So we're talking and I see the Mayor.

"Oh," I say. "By the way ... vote for the Mayor for re-election in ten days."

Holy shit.

My magician friend GOES OFF on the Mayor and how much he hates him.

Of course, he's doing this while I'm shaking the Mayor's hand and making small talk.

"Why are you doing this and that?!?" my magician buddy is asking the Mayor with more than a hint of animosity in his voice.

"To boost the economy so that we all have better lives," the Mayor says, letting go of my hand and wondering what the hell he's gotten himself into.

I'm stuck in the middle here.

On the one hand, I've known El Magic-o for 20 years and we go way back to our stand-up comedy days.

On the other hand, I kinda sorta work with the Mayor now on certain things and see him more than Mr. Magnifico.

I just want to let out a fake nervous chuckle and punch my magician friend repeatedly in the throat until he pipes down.

But the Mayor gets the hint quickly that he can't count on my buddy's vote, says goodbye to us both and walks away.

"God, he's such a piece of shit," my buddy says.

"Yeah," I said. "But vote for him in ten days!"

And I walked away.


So we're driving home and I see these signs on the side of the road saying that a local music/DVD store is going out of business and everything must go!

My prayers have been answered.

I hate shopping of just about any kind.

But I could spend hours inside this store.

I take the Mrs and the boy home, put the boy down for a nap and leave the house on the premise that I'm going to go grocery shopping.

And I do.

But first ... it's a beeline to my weakness ... a DVD clearance sale.

I get there and a big sign in the front of the store says "ALL DVDs ... 20% OFF!"

This isn't much. So I decide to just kinda chill and see what's there, what it's priced and whether it's worth getting now or waiting until the sale hits 50% off.

I quickly see why the store's going out of business ... most of their DVDs are priced at $29.99.

You can go across the street at Best Buy and buy the same DVDs for half that.

I stumble across a "Previously Reviewed" rack, pick myself up off the floor (having "stumbled across" it) and begin sifting through the contents.

I find three DVDs ... "Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian", "About A Boy", and "Igby Goes Down" that I want.

They're all marked $9.99.

That means that with the discount, they'll be eight bucks apiece.

Wheeee!

So I stumble up to the checkout desk, pick myself up off the damned floor, notice my shoes are tied together, tie my shoes properly and whip out the Visa, baby.

"$32.something," the acne-faced clerk with the rambunctious goatee says.

I hand over the Visa and begin doing math in my head.

Three DVDs at eight bucks apiece should equal $24.

Add 10% local sales tax (still wonder why my magician friend hates our Mayor??)and we're looking at $26.40.

Yet Captain Pimples wants to charge me six dollars more than that.

"Uhhhh," I say like only I can say. "Did you get my discount on that?"

"Oh," he says. "YOU DON'T GET A DISCOUNT ON THESE."

Huzzah?

"But the sign says 20% off all DVDs," he says.

"But not previously owned DVDs," he says.

"It doesn't say that on the sign," I protest. "It says ALL DVDs."

"There's one sign in here that says only the ticketed DVDs are 20% off. This is a stickered DVD."

"What's the difference?" I ask. "They ALL have stickers on them with the prices."

The other surly clerk pipes up.

"Stickered DVDs are used DVDs," he says. "Ticketed DVDs are new DVDs."

"Where is that explained?" I ask as the crowd behind me starts to gather and quietly sift through their purchases to try and determine what's stickered and what's ticketed. "Can you point to the one sign in this store full of signs that explains this?"

"I think I can find it for you," the kid says with more than a hint of attitude.

"You THINK you can find it?" I ask. "I didn't see a sign that says that, you're not sure that you can find a sign that says that, and you 'work' here, so how in the world am I supposed to have found the sign that says that?"

The kid starts scanning the store with his eyes from where he's standing, trying desperately to find a sign with small print saying that only their new overpriced DVDs are 20% off which leaves you still paying an arm and a leg more than you would across the street at Best Buy, the world's most awesome store.

Meanwhile, people are grumbling behind me because my arrogance over saving six bucks is causing them to stand there for a minute longer.

Goddamned people.

I'm OLD now.

Which brings a certain level of CRANKINESS with it.

I've lived this long, kids. Which means if I want to get cranky with asshole store employees over six bucks, I HAVE EARNED THAT GODDAMNED RIGHT TO DO SO.

I've dismissed my right to bear arms ... you can AT LEAST allow me the right to see a fucking sign amongst hundreds of other signs that tells me I'm an incompetent jackass.

Attitude Boy leaves his post and goes on a quest to find the sign.

I watch him as he scurries around the store like a mouse with a firecracker up his ass, trying to find this freakin' sign.

He comes back empty handed, but has come up with a solution.

"I can't find it," he says. "But ... those are the rules."

Oh.

Well ... that changes everything.

I thought we were just making up the rules as we go along.

I was just about to lay down my trump card of rules that states the customer is always right.

Which doesn't fly in this store.

Which is just another reason why this piece of shit store and it's piece of shit employees are about to be out of business.

Now, I had a choice.

I could stand proud and tell the kid to cancel the transaction, meaning he'd have to go through a whole bunch of crap to null the transaction on my Visa and give me my money back.

Which, he'd probably also commit my Visa number to memory, write it down and charge about $4,000 worth of overpriced DVDs to my account and then quit his job as Asshole of the Month and watch DVDs for the next week.

Or I could just swallow my pride, sign the Visa slip and leave the store with my DVDs in a huff.

...Sooooo ... wasn't "Igby Goes Down" a hoot??

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