jason christoper hartley

October 8, 2008

Coinstar Shopping List

Filed under: Short Stories — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 4:19 pm

I got an email from my bank yesterday with the subject heading “Account Has Insufficient Funds”. It read:

Date: 10/5/2008
Transaction number: 1
Insufficient funds amount: $7.27
Transaction Paid: Yes
Fee Assessed: $35.00
Transaction number: 2
Insufficient funds amount: $7.85
Transaction Paid: Yes
Fee Assessed: $35.00

One of those seven dollar charges was for a pack of Camel Lights I bought with my check card after paying for gas with cash before driving into the city. The other seven dollar charge was for a six-pack of Bud Light I bought at a different gas station that night when I got back home. It was two in the morning when I bought that beer. There was a well dressed young girl with a telescoping-handled and wheeled suitcase at the gas station when I bought it. She was standing in front of the register and was using the phone found behind the counter. Whoever she was calling wasn’t answering. The Turkish cashier stood mutely why she muttered to him something like, “Do you know if they’re open?” She was visibly agitated. I suspect she was calling the taxi company in town. There’s only one and they close too early to be of any real use. Once she cleared out I bought the beer. The clerk ID’d me. When I got outside the girl was was standing in front of the pay phone. My friend’s truck (which I am in charge of and drive while he’s away in Iraq working for a contracting company) was parked illegally. As I walked toward it holding the beer that was now in a white plastic shopping bag, I called out to her, “Do you need a ride somewhere?” She quickly responded, “No.” She seemed to be futzing with her cell phone. Her quick negative response along with the beer and the illegally parked truck all amounted to me feeling creepy and suspicious. I resented her a little after that. I wanted to help, not to be made to feel bad. I went home and drank all six beers while playing World of Warcraft. The beer did virtually nothing and I accomplished virtually nothing in WoW. I went to bed sometime after 4am.

Early this morning I got another email from my bank. It had the subject heading “Available Balance” which is sent daily. It read:

Date: 10/8/2008
Available Balance: -$80.91

Awesome. A forty dollar pack of cigarettes and a forty dollar six-pack of beer put me eighty bucks in the hole. If Mandy finds out about this, she’ll be furious. I once did some work on her car where I had to repeatedly buy different sizes of plastic rivets from the auto parts store until I found the the ones that properly fit into the front skirt that was partially hanging from the front bumper and dragging on the ground. Each purchase of rivets was only for a few dollars, but later, when my bank informed me that I was overdrawn, each of those three dollar rivets cost me an additional thirty-five dollars. When I begged the bank to please drop some or all of those fees, they told me they’d pass the matter along to my branch who would look into it and make a decision. I never heard back from my branch, nor did I receive any sort of refund. This was my other bank in Utah. In Utah, banks also tell you to go fuck yourself, but more politely.

I woke up this morning with the intent of taking my laptop to the coffee shop and doing some writing. Instead I stayed home and played World of Warcraft most the day. I did sixteen daily quests. I have only recently started doing the daily quests. I recently dumped from my quest log all the quests that require groups that ultimately result in rewards that would be of no use to me. Now I have room in my quest log to do dailies, which is a much better way to earn gold and reputation. I should have done this a long time ago.

After I finished the dailies and felt adequately guilty for not having done anything of substance with my day, I showered, got dressed (I had been in my underwear all day), and hopped in my friend’s truck with my plastic jug of coins. I drove to the grocery store and dumped those coins into the Coinstar. It pained me to think the machine takes 8.9 percent of all the cash I put into it, but the only option for avoiding that fee was to have the money put into a gift card for Starbucks, Amazon.com, Circuit City, or other well-known retailers. I needed dish soap and barbeque sauce from the grocery story. I also needed to try to mitigate some of the damage to my pathetic checking account. I figured I might be able to get forty bucks or so from my change. I figued my bank might have to wait to get their money because I was making baby back ribs tonight and I was gonna need barbeque sauce and dish soap for that. I was currently out of both.

After the Coinstar was done doing its business cointing my coins and taking .089 from each of those pennies, it spit me out a receipt for $102.41. Woot! I handed the receipt to the customer service clerk without saying a word. I enjoy effecient communication. It is often unnecessary to speak in most of your daily transactions such as this. Talking during an interaction like this is like putting an artificially flavored and artificially colored sauce on it.

I walked over to the dish soap ailse and found a bottle of what I had just run out of: Ultra Palmolive Fresh Green Apple Spring Sensations Concentrated Dish Liquid. I then walked over to the aisle that has ketchup and mustard, found where the Premium Bull’s-Eye Barbeque Sauce Original was located– the barbeque sauce I usually use for ribs– but instead decided to pick up the Squeezable Sweet Baby Ray’s Gourmet Sauces Award Winning Barbeque Sauce. I don’t like falling into anything too habitual. It makes me feel pathological. After waiting in the self-checkout line for a college girl who wanted a refund on a box of Kleenex for which she couldn’t get a coupon discount, I rung up my two items and paid by inserting a twenty dollar bill into the machine. The receipt read:

EZ SHOPPER #16         6:52pm 10/08/08
Tran 80147 Terminal    16 Cashier 00433
SWT BBY RAYS BBQ                2.99 *
PALM SENS GRN AP                2.69  T
           Total        $5.90
Cash                    $20.00
Subtotal                 $5.68
Tax Paid                 $0.22
Total                    $5.90
Change                   $14.10

With the remaining cash I had, I hopped in the truck, drove over to my bank at the other end of the parking lot (driving the wrong way for half the parking lot’s length), and deposited eighty-two bucks into the ATM. I had forgotten what the deficit was in my account, but I knew it was eighty-something. After I finished my transaction, the receipt read:

10/08/08  18:57

Deposit to    Checking

Cash Deposit Amount           $82.00
     2  x       $1     $2.00
     4  x      $20    $80.00

Total Deposit                  $82.00
Posts On                     10/08/08
Chk Available Balance           $1.09

With the six bucks I had left, plus eight I had previously, I hopped back into the truck, drove back over to the wine store that’s part of the same strip mall as the grocery story and the bank, then went inside to see how much Bourbon I could get for fourteen dollars. The smallest bottle of Jim Beam they had was $24.95. I abandoned the Bourbon idea and perused the magnum-sized bottles of wine. I found a bottle of Foxhorn Vineyards American Cabernet Sauvignon for $6.99.

It’s almost 9pm now. I should start working on those ribs before Mandy gets here.

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