The fact that the parking lot was a barren landscape was the first sign that I should have abandoned my plan to shop and immediately made my escape.
Nevertheless, like the stupid teenager in the horror film who goes down into the basement to investigate where all the blood and screaming is coming from, I continued.
Before you label me a weirdo for being up that early, let me defend myself. I was up because I had to drop my sister off at the airport for her conveniently scheduled 5 a.m. flight.
I entered the store and people were scattered everywhere, frantically restocking shelves. (Where had they all parked?!) I felt like I was competing on American Gladiators trying to crawl over, around and through them to snatch my basic food essentials. One of my most basic food essentials was in an aisle particularly crammed with workers. I was forced to squeeze my way through a dangerous gauntlet of these industrious folks who were swinging box cutters around like The Three Musketeers. I was on a critical mission – to find and capture a family-sized box of Cheez-Its.
The true benefit of shopping at 4 am is spending quality time with the earlier risers in our community – those folks who shame us with their productivity and cheerful attitudes. And by this, I mean the meth addicts who have been up all night tweaking and are now in desperate search for junk food. Okay, not ALL the 4 a.m. customers were meth addicts! Only 99%. Okay, on this particular morning there was just one. This tall, skinny wild-eyed lady zoomed in front of me as I approached the checkout stand. She plopped a bag of donuts on the counter and stood there in a daze rocking like a 1963 Bel Air on seven cylinders. Then she suddenly snapped from her daze and pulled out her Oregon Trail Card.
For those of you not familiar with The Beaver State, let me be the first to inform you –
The genius politicians who run our state wisely decided to name our food stamp or “food benefit” card the “Oregon Trail Card.” This is because no one epitomizes the independent spirt of those brave pioneers who traversed the thousands of miles of mountains, rivers and treacherous terrain to settle here in the 1800s, like a stoner who gets up at 10 a.m. every day to smoke a bowl before settling down to watch The Price is Right.
The moral of the story: Just because a store is OPEN 24 hours a day, doesn’t mean you should shop at 4 a.m. – no matter how much you need those tasty Cheez-Its.
Please share this post! Hit the Facebook, Twitter or other social media button now!
And if you have a college student in your life, consider gifting them this handbook. (Click the link below.)