I haven’t lived in many one horse towns in my life, but those few were always within shouting distance of a major Metro area. For instance, when I lived in Xenia, Ohio we were only about ten or eleven miles from Dayton. One could argue about whether Dayton is a major Metro area, but they would lose However, for the last ten years my ass has been parked out here in the Bum Fuck Egypt Land of California known as Wasco.
Wasco is bigger than Xenia is at least area wise but I’m not to about to trouble myself with a population and square mile check on Google to prove that statement true or false. I’ll leave that up to all you internet trolls that happen by and want to blast me over my accuracy.
There wasn’t a lot to do back in Xenia Town. But as I said before, it didn’t matter because you could head up to Beavercreek which was right next door, or head on into Dayton & Kettering, or if you wanted to venture further, Centerville. Of course, there are some areas of Dayton you would never really want to drive to or drive through unless you’re carrying a 357 in your lap, but that’s something else altogether. And besides, there are places in Bakersfield where I wouldn’t want to hang out either. And for that matter, I’m not sure I’d take a late night stroll here in Wasco either.
So in Xenia, it wasn’t like you were really far away from anything such as decent restaurants, movie theaters, or shopping malls. And Xenia, although smaller than Wasco, had a Wal-mart, a Kroger, and a K-mart so all your shopping needs could be fulfilled right there without leaving the city limits. And best of all, you could stop by the Circle K there in town and say hello to my old Boss, Don, and former roomie Bill if you wanted
Here in Wasco, which is 30 miles from Bakersfield as the crow flies, we have a K-mart that is really half assed, and a Save Mart where you don’t save a fucking helluva lot 90 per cent of the time so the name is very misleading
Also in Wasco, there are a slew of privately owned small restaurants, most of them Mexican, one Chinese, and then you have the usual Big Chain Joints such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Jack-in-the-Crack (as I call it), Subway (which I frequent quite a bit), Pizza Hut, Dominos, and inside K-Mart there is a Little Caesers where you can get a ready made Pepperoni Pizza for just five bucks. That’s pretty good because 8 miles up the road in another local one horse half assed town, called Shafter, that same pizza will cost you $1.99 more.
There is also a Denny’s that we frequent unless we have a bad experience or get bored with it which has only happened once. Then we didn’t go for a while but it’s probably as much out of getting bored with the menu than then being really pissed off.
And then there is Perko’s, a place that we used to frequent regularly until they worked their way onto The Girlfriend’s and mine Shit List and they now reside in a place of prominence on that list along with The Elephant Bar. After two years on the Shit List and not having set foot in the joint during that time, I took my son there to give Perko’s another chance at Redemption a couple of weeks ago.
Nope, even with Denny’s having opened down the street giving them competition, they were still crappy food wise and service wise. I guess people tend to eat there because citizens of small towns become creatures of habits.
So it was a few days ago that I ventured out to pick up my honorable son from work, and to head to Save Mart to replenish my Soft Drink supply. A man who is out of Diet Pepsi, is a man in an extreme state of desperation.
Normally, I would have headed to K-Mart, because the general rule of thumb about soft drinks in Wasco is that the K-Mart regular price is usually cheaper than the Save Mart Sale Price.
But recently Save Mart has had one and a half liters of Pepsi products for ninety nine cents. Sometimes I can get full 2 liters for a buck, but they are too large for the refrigerator at work, which means I have to pour the stuff into smaller bottles which is a real pain in the ass.
At other times I’ll just stop at the Circle K before work because they have one liter bottles of Lipton Brisk Lemon Flavored Diet that tastes like someone puked lemons into the bottle and sprinkled some tea on afterwards. But I drink it anyway sometimes because a one Liter of Diet Pepsi there will cost you $1.99, and a little 20 ounce bottle of Diet Pepsi will cost you $1.59 plus tax and the added California fee of 10 cents per bottle which is for recycling. It can get to be an expensive habit. So the 99 cent one and a half liters at Save Mart were working out very well for me, but I doubt they will be around for ever and if they are, certainly not at that price. Not at Save Mart.
So we head into the Super Duper Market, I look around the front of the store where the one and a half liters have been displayed and I don’t see them. I decide that they weren’t selling them any longer. Josh standing next to me, is silent. So unless they had moved them back to the regular soda shelves, I knew I was out of luck. After grabbing a box of microwave popcorn, and a bunch of bananas for about two dollars, we head that way.
Up in the Soda Aisle, we don’t see what I was looking for but they do have two liter bottles of Pepsi Products, 4/$1. I decide to grab some, and that I would just have to put up with pouring them into smaller bottles. But then I notice that there is a “Limit of 4 Per Customer.” There’s always a catch so we only put four into the shopping cart.
Down beneath the two liters, on the lower shelves we see that there is a so called deal on twelve pack Pepsi cans. When I buy cans, they are strictly for drinking at home. An opened can on my desk at work is a sure disaster waiting to happen. With plastic bottles, I can keep the lid on that disaster so to speak. But it is buy two, get one free and some quick math tells me that twelve bucks for thee comes out to about $4 a twelve pack, and that baby sister, is not such a hotsy totsy deal.
Off to the left we see some cans of coke products on sale. But I'm not a Coke person at all. I will drink Diet Coke if the price is right, but it has to be a really exceptionally great discount. In this case, the price is $5.99 for a twelve pack, which is no deal at all because it’s the same as the Pepsi. But if you buy two you get three free, which brings the cost per twelve down to about $2.40 a twelve pack. That is nothing to sneeze at these days and one I probably could never get elsewhere even at K-Mart or even Wal-mart. And I also see they have a new type of Diet Coke that uses Splenda rather than Aspartame, so I’m curious enough to give it a shot.
We begin putting the soda’s into the shopping cart, two of the new Splenda Flavored ones, two of the regular Diet Coke, and one Sprite for the girlfriend. I was just about to put the last twelve pack into the car when Josh sees the very extremely small print that we hadn’t noticed before. We had seen the “limit 3 free coke 12 pack can products” but had missed this:
Minimum $25 Purchased Required For Promotional Price…$25 Excludes Price of Coke Purchase.
I look in the cart. We had the four two liters at a dollar each. We had a box of Microwave 94% Fat Free Popcorn for about $4.99. We had about $2.00 worth of bananas for a total of about $12. And that’s all there was, not even close to the $25 dollars needed. And I knew there was not twenty five dollars more worth of stuff that we wanted to buy. We began putting the twelve packs back on the shelf.
“I wish they still had the one and a half liters,” I tell Josh.
“They’re at the front of the store,” he replied casually.
“What? You saw them? Where? I didn’t see them? Why in the hell didn’t you tell me?” I asked him pointedly.
“I thought you saw them,” he replies.
So I’m feeling kind of foolish when he guides me to where he had seen the one and a half liters. And sure enough, they were there. Okay, so maybe I need a new set of glasses and should have seen them the same as he did.
We ended up getting an even dozen of Diet Pepsi, and I add a couple of Mountain Dews for The Girlfriend. We now had our $25 dollar purchase so we headed back up to the soft drink aisle to get the coke deal. If nothing else, I am a savvy shopper.
Of course, they only had a couple of check out lanes open so we did have to wait and when one is waiting at a Supermarket, they can’t help but see the covers of all of the tabloids. One of them asking us about some celebrity with a major cellulite problem telling us to look inside to find out the identity of the mystery lady.
My guess was it was Kirstie Alley, but we never found out because we didn’t really have time to thumb through it. So it will forever remain a mystery unless you know and want to share that information with us. There was also this one.
Josh didn’t know who this particular Denise was. I guess he’s lived in a cocoon for the past twenty years, or he’s as smart as his old man and this stupid shit doesn’t concern him.. So I quickly explained about her being Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife and that she had starred in several movies including Starship Trooper that we had watched together a few months ago.
“Oh her,” he acknowledged. “And we care about this why?”
“We don’t,” I answered. “Unless she’s being photographed naked, and then we would care.” I told him. “And she may regret her boob jobs, but I think most men are really appreciative.”
We finally made it through the check out lane. The total was about $47 bucks I think. Not bad and we had enough soda to last us quite a while, and I had enough 1 1/2 liters for work for a couple of weeks. All in all, I think we could label this shopping spree a success. Except for the identity of the mystery cellulite lady. Okay, I’m being nice. She’s just fat.