Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Erring my way through errant errands

I went out to run errands during my lunch hour at work. Those errands were:

•    Get an iced coffee (not really an errand; bear with me)
•    Drop off donations at St. Vincent de Paul
•    Get money out of ATM for babysitter

I arrived at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru speaker. Here was that conversation:

Speaker: Welcome to Dunkin’ Donuts … (shuffling noises)

Me: (waiting for them to follow up with “Can I help you?” so I know it’s OK to speak)

Speaker: …

Me: …

Speaker: …

Me: Uhhh, can I get a-

Speaker: How can I help you?

Me: Yes, can I get a medium iced coffee, easy cream, NO sugar.

Speaker: You uh … want cream?

Me: Yes, but not a lot. ‘Easy cream’ is what I’ve been instructed to say by other locations, ha.

Speaker: $1.08.

I pull through. The worker puts my coffee near the window while he goes to the register and I take a look at the coffee and it looks good. They nailed the cream-to-coffee ratio. I look up at the worker and he, apparently watching me looking at the coffee, has his eyes locked on mine and does not look happy. He honestly looks like he wants to kill me. Murder me, hard. I do not know why, and I am paralyzed by confusion and yes, a little bit of fear because he kind of looks like Meatloaf, only angrier. We make the money transaction as he maintains eye contact, and I don’t know what is happening. I have obviously offended him but I do not know how.

As good as the coffee looks, can I drink it? Was my staring at the coffee what prompted his hate or did he hate me from the start? If the latter, is this coffee safe? Is this how I am going to die, drinking contaminated iced coffee? I subconsciously began drinking the coffee while contemplating all this because I am an idiot, and it was OK. I didn’t die. Cool. Off to St. Vincent de Paul!

All I had to drop off were some old clothes and a planter. Because if there’s anything the less fortunate need, it’s oddly-formed v-neck T-shirts with “bacon-ing” collars and a pot to display one of their wide array of plants. The man working there handed me my receipt—“Dear IRS, today I donated some old T-shirts and planters to SVDP; please reimburse me accordingly”—and when I went to close my trunk, I noticed that excess dirt from the planter had gotten all over the inside of my car. (To answer your question, yes—I neglected to adequately wash the planter before donating, figuring some excess dirt would let people know what this thing even is and besides, dirt is going back in anyway.)

Now the easy part—going to the ATM. My wife had somehow managed to arrange a date night for us, and we would need to pay the babysitter with money and not unused planters, as I had originally suggested. I put my card in and, as I waited for it to pop back out so I could enter my PIN, I heard a crunch and the screen displayed the following message: WE HAVE DESTROYED YOUR CARD FOR SECURITY PURPOSES. PLEASE CALL CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR FURTHER ASSISTANCE.

I didn’t know why this happened, but suspected the Dunkin’ Donuts guy was involved. I parked and walked into the bank to find out what happened. Their answer was they did not know, but would I like to refinance my mortgage? When I got back to my car after accomplishing nothing, my iced coffee was lukewarm water coffee because it was 115 degrees outside. While pulling out of my spot, I drove over the curb.

So everything worked out as planned, except for the fourth errand—accomplish first three errands seamlessly—which I didn’t do because I am an idiot. But hey, like Meatloaf always said, three out of four ain’t bad.

Note: This column appears in the 8/21 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/22 issue of the Peoria Times.

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