Groundhog's Day

…for being my favorite holiday, it was rather anti-climactic this year. though we did workshop my story, and I got some good feedback. once I do the revision, you can look for it on the “stories” section of the page.

the toaster-oven saga:

I went to meijer last week, upon receiving my income tax refund, and bought groceries. I definitely need to learn how to eat at home if I’m going to survive working fewer hours. in my apartment, when I moved in, there was a really old, sort of decrepit-looking stove. I wasn’t sure whether or not the gas was even turned on to my apartment, but I didn’t really trust the stove that I had to test the situation. I took the stove out and set it by the refrigerator, boat, and vw van that sit in between my building and the one next to it, and I made use of the little table-top electric range that the previous tenant obviously used in lieu of using that old stove. (the old stove is still between the buildings, by the way, so you can come over and look at it, if you want to).

anyway, so when I went to meijer last week, one of the things that I was interested in looking at was a toaster oven. I thought it would be really nice to be able to cook a frozen pizza at home, or anything aside from noodles-n-sauce or mac&cheese, for that matter. I looked at the selection and decided on the top-of-the-line model, the only one big enough for a twelve-inch pizza (which I’m perfectly capable of eating by myself—hence the nickname “the goat.” there’s a story about pancakes here, but that will come later.) some woman walked up just as I was arriving at my decision, and we got into some small talk about the toaster ovens, and I discussed my decision with her, probably sounding not unlike a salesman for the product.

when I had finished my pitch, I slid the box off the shelf and placed it on the rack underneath the shopping cart. I glanced at the microwaves—the next major purchase I’d need to make to move toward a more “complete” kitchen—and then continued with the rest of my shopping. I bought three twelve-inch pizzas so that I’d be able to make use of my newest kitchen appliance, and proceeded to the check-out. I went home and unpacked my groceries, leaving the toaster oven in the trunk of the car for the evening, and took my receipt to the laptop to enter it into my financial-tracking sheet. I glanced briefly at the bottom of the receipt to the toaster oven, the last item listed, and saw that it was twenty dollars cheaper than I’d expected, a detail that didn’t fully register in my mind for another couple of hours.

I went to dinner with a couple of friends (after buying groceries to be more financially stable, I ate a $25 steak dinner…but that included the generous tip for the waitress, an old acquaintance of ours). I told my friends about my new purchase, and that was when I really gave thought to the cheaper price listed on the receipt. we laughed about cash-register honesty and whether or not I’d return to pay the difference between what the price should have been and what I was charged, but a glint of worry went through my mind—worry that would be confirmed when I returned home later in the evening.

I hadn’t grabbed the right box, and the toaster oven that I bought wouldn’t fit the pizzas that I was so eager to eat. I flashed-forward to an image of myself engaging in the futility of cutting a frozen pizza down to size so that it can be cooked as I set up the tiny toaster oven, but thought that it fit too nicely on my table to bother with returning. I’ll just have to buy the single-serve (more like “half-serve”) pizzas. and maybe since I saved a few bucks, I can see about getting a microwave sooner.

the following night, I went to Paxton and picked up a driver’s-license-impaired friend to come down and play some poker with us. he wanted to stop out at meijer when we were done to look into an ps2, since his Xbox might be on its last legs. while he looked around at the electronics, I walked an aisle or two over to the microwaves (in the aisle next to the toaster ovens—I didn’t even bother torturing myself by going back to see how I’d managed to screw up so horribly).

I looked at the microwaves, and there on the shelves, with a clearance tag, was a radiant beauty. a microwave AND toaster oven, all in one! on clearance, for only ten dollars more than I’d paid for my miniature toaster oven! it might be too good to be true! I looked at the boxes on the bottom shelf, trying to find the matching brand/model, and found the box, checking twice to make sure that I wasn’t about to make the same mistake! the box, however, was empty. the model on the shelf was the last of them! probably because it’s against the law to put metal in the microwave, and I’m pretty sure that the stuff inside that does the whole “toaster oven” job is metal….but I’m not going to be concerned with trivial matters. it’s for sale, and I’m buying it even if it blows up my little apartment!

I put the one from the shelf into the box (not getting the styrofoam padding onto the equipment properly, so the box didn’t close perfectly) and went and found my friend. he finished up his shopping and we went up to the front, where we both struggled with the “check yourself out” lanes.

as I managed to solve the riddles of the modern-day sphinx that is the completely automated cashier, I realized that I was getting another 20% off the price of the thing, bringing it down to LESS than the little-baby toaster oven that was sitting at home! maybe it was a “saturday night and you pathetic losers are shopping at meijer” special sale, or maybe it was just because it was the display model, but whatever it was, it was saving me another ten or twelve dollars. no complaints.

I took my friend home and eagerly went home to unpack my new toy. I put the old one back into the box (it fit properly) to take back to meijer and set up the new one. I’ve eaten two frozen pizzas and three chimichangas (not all in one sitting) and have been quite pleased with the purchase.

I have not, however, used the microwave function. nervous? maybe.

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