Friday, July 18, 2008

So, This Would be Pretty Funny. If it Happened in Real Life.


(Somewhere in Alabama...)

Person A has a rental SUV. Person A and Person B have gone to Walmart, to buy a bunch of bulky things like plastic laundry baskets and a gas can, because they have a rental SUV.

The SUV starts flashing and dinging that it is getting hungry - AWFULLY SOON AFTER ITS LAST MEAL, IF YOU ASK ME - and Person A (PA, for short) pulls into a hugantic ginormous mega gas station where the gas is a penny cheaper a gallon than the last fillup, which makes PA almost giddy.

Person B (PB) leaps out of the passenger seat to pump. PB has had a very long day selecting laundry baskets and gas cans and a mower to go with the gas can, and eating a big breakfast. PB is not on the top of PB's game. PB inserts a credit card to pay for fuel, but the credit card never comes back out of the slot.

Because it is the slot from which receipts emerge.

PB uses some colorful language, which attracts the attention of PA. PA exits car and looks in slot, where PB has already looked. Credit card is baaaaaaarely visible, but they both note that it might be extractable. PA has smaller fingers, and attempts to reach it; to no avail. PA suggests that PB alert the staff of the hugantic ginormous gas station; who might have a key to open the front of the pump.

PB is not excited about admitting to sticking a credit card into the receipt slot.

PA suggests buying a pair of tweezers from the attached convenience store. Maybe a private extraction is possible. PB goes indoors to shop for tweezers.

Meanwhile, PA thinks that it might be possible to open a keyring, slide it on either side of the sliver of visible credit card, squeeze the ring, and ease the card out.

Oh, so carefully, PA conducts the delicate maneuver...holds PA's breath, and...SUCCESS! PA fills tank with gas.

PA is deliriously happy. PA reaches into rental SUV, grabs the keys from the console, locks the doors with the inside push-button doorlock, closes the driver's door and rushes into the convenience store to share the good news with PB.

PA encounters PB in the doorway. PB has had no luck buying tweezers. PB admitted the credit card gaffe to the amusement of the very large staff of the hugantic, ginormous gas station; and borrowed some toenail clippers from one of them.

PA and PB rejoice together, return the nail clippers, and head back to rental SUV. Where PA realizes that the keys in PA's hand are not for the rental SUV. They are for the car in the garage at home.

And the rental SUV is locked, safely securing the laundry basket and gas can from highway bandits.

PA goes into convenience store to face 10 snickering gasmongers. It is not the first time they have heard this story, but it IS the funniest. Fortunately, they know the number for the Heavily Tattooed Locksmith. They call him, and offer PA and PB, who are vegetarians, a hot dog while they wait.

The Heavily Tattooed Locksmith arrives, and asks PA the year model of the rental SUV. PA has no idea. HTL tries many high-tech wedgy-ratchety-inflatable-bendy tools that look like they would come in handy in prison. They do not open the rental SUV.

HTL looks in his trunk, where he finds a coat hanger. Success. HTL gets a bunch of money, and a tip.

PA and PB go home without filling gas can for lawn mower. And decide not to use credit cards anymore.

Yes, that would be pretty funny, if it happened in real life. Oh, my - is it 11 already? the SUV has to be back by noon! Gotta dash.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Give Me a Hand!

I make jewelry. My jewelry is handmade by my own two hands (and sometimes a foot or an elbow for stability's sake, but they have no place in this story and I'm getting sidetracked as usual.) Because my jewelry is handmade, it is unique. Even if I try to make the exact same thing I just made, it will be a little different the second time.

I sell my jewelry here at Etsy - a site for artists who make things by hand. This serves as a disclaimer. Everyone who comes to Etsy to shop knows (or can read, in big, bold letters) that Etsy is a marketplace for handmade. People shop at Etsy to find things one-of-a-kind, or a bit off the beaten path (sometimes all the way over the cliff) or anti-department store, if they are feeling particularly negative.

"By hand" is good. But, pardon the intended pun, the hand stuff has gotten a little (come on, you knew it was coming) out of hand.

For example. Every restaurant worth its fleur-de-sel in a teeny tiny dish that you (and anyone else who has had the dish before you, or will have it after you) access via fingers has a "Hand-Cut Prime Rib," likely served with "Hand-Cut Steak Fries."

Now, A) I have no idea why fries are only for steak. I don't eat steak, and I like fries, so I think they are losing a large demographic of potential buyers suggesting that you can only get the fries if you get a steak. I mean, lots of people like a side of fries with, say, pizza. And besides, prime rib is not a steak, so why do the prime rib people get fries? And B) Could someone explain to me why on EARTH I would want anyone to touch my prime rib? If I ate prime rib, which I don't. But, does hand-cutting make the prime rib unique? Or is it a disclaimer so that people know that the sizes of the cuts of prime rib vary wildly, and they can't complain to the waitron (is that the PC term? Or is it "waitperson?") that his slice is bigger than your slice. The server can point (with a flourish) to the description on the menu and simply say, "Look, honey; you were warned. The Prime Rib is HAND-CUT. If you think you can do it better, have at it. The carver's parole restrictions limit his knife to 3 1/2 inches...I'd like to see you make anything but a mess with that. Oh, by the way. I gave you the smaller piece because, honey, you could really stand to lose about 20 pounds."

And another thing. Hand-ground meat at the grocery store. Why would I spend hard earned money on it (if I ate it, which I don't) when all those butchers are missing fingers?

Two blocks away we have the Touchless Hands-Free carwash, competing with the Hand-Detailed Carwash with Fancy Coffee Cafe. How to choose?

Hand-breaded fried chicken. It's OK at Mama's house, but not so appetizing at KFC.

Yesterday I saw a drive-thru offering "Hand-Spun Milkshakes." What do they do, juggle them? And what are they going to do with their milkshake machine now? I'll bet it broke, and they told the burger-flippers that their job description now includes juggling. Come to think of it, that place is represented by a clown. Clowns juggle. Savvy marketing ploy, no? Wish I could have been in on the Executive Strategy Marketing Initiative Leadership Media Relations Brand-Globalizing Council Meeting for that idea.

Yeah, I'm a hands-on kind girl, but I am definitely hands-off my food. Indifferent about the carwash thing.

Oh, and if you plan to move a king-sized Tempurpedic mattress (along with about 4 bazillion tons of other stuff) from a fourth-floor condo down a freight elevator and into a 16-foot rental truck that stands about 5 feet off the ground, be sure the lift gate works before you drive it off the rental lot. Just saying.