A Pack of Those D Batteries, Too, Please

Today’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for yet another installment of JCO or JC NO, where I spin the yarn and you decide whether the story I relay is fact (JCO) or fiction (JC NO). To see if you were right, come back next week when I will give you the skinny before delivering the next JCO or JC NO. SO, last week’s deplorable tale of me poaching food off the tables I bussed as a Fuddruckers’ employee? The overwhelming majority of you suspected that to be true.

It is with equal amounts of embarrassment and shame that I confirm that suspicion.

Simply put? It was a vile and vulgar act, one in which I engaged countless times. With little or no dignity whatsoever, I might add. Congrats to theMuskrat, Really?, DCUrbanDad, Eric, Mandy, Mary Ellen, LatifahShay (who, incidentally, is a brilliant artist, as well as a fellow triplet parent — our guys turned three yesterday, Latifah!), Patrick, SeattleDad, WEH, Stephanie, Nadu, Wendy Wisniewski, Lilola, Opus, Debbie, and theDadvocate for getting it right. The people who are highlighted provided links to their websites in their comments. I visit most of them regularly. I hope you’ll check them out, too. Thanks guys, for chiming in, even if it was to voice your belief that such a disgusting act was well within my reach, if not character.

Jerks.

Oh, and a quick note to the Fuddruckers’ legal department — I’m well aware of my rights, and I regret to inform you that the statutes of limitations expired long ago. So let’s all just move on, shall we?

This week’s tale comes from the same era, the summer I spent on Hilton Head Island between semesters at Vanderbilt. I call this one A Pfack of Those D Batteries, Too, Please.

young jco, the amicable hoodlum.

Thanks to my Fuddruckers fable, you’re probably well aware that I was not always the bastion of responsibility I am today. In fact, I was little more than a garden-variety hoodlum, albeit a amicable one. My friends and I fancied ourselves a band of merry pranksters, and much of that merriment was directly proportional to the alcohol we consumed. (On a serious note, I want to make it clear that we were ALWAYS responsible enough to assign a designated driver.)

There were two elements to our alcohol consumption that were problematic to us. (Sadly, neither of them had anything to do with the sheer volume of our consumption.) First, booze costs money. And if I was broke enough to eat cheeseburgers that had touched the dentures of ninety-year-old women, then it’s safe to say that I wasn’t exactly buying top shelf liquor that summer. Instead, I was a Milwaukee’s Best Light man, a putrid manifestation of carbonated alcohol which conjures up images of desperation. If not abject poverty. But the “Beast” was a necessary evil if I wanted have enough cash to put food (ramen noodles) on the table (milk crates bridged together with two-by-fours).

The second element of our alcohol consumption that was problematic? The timing of it. Like most college kids, we weren’t afraid to stay up late drinking. Nor were we afraid to crack open a cold beer on any given Sunday. Yet the governing powers that be in the great state of South Carolina provided a hurdle for us to negotiate during either one of these time slots. For one could not buy beer after 2:00am. Nor could one buy beer on Sundays.

But we had a plan. And though said plan was technically illegal, it wasn’t without its merits. For starters, it gave back to the community by increasing the gross profits of local business owners. It also increased tax revenue — something that, at least on paper, should please every legislator.

Here’s how it’d go down. Anytime my our desire for beer occurred within a forbidden time zone, we’d swing by our favorite convenient store. Back in the day, I was known to have a way with words, so I was always the “decoy.” I’d set up shop at the front counter and chat up the convenient store clerk about any and everything that came to mind. I found that well-intended, open-ended questions worked best, as they could not be answered with a simple yes or no. Answers to them often revealed other rabbit trails of conversation down which I could lead the clerk.

But small talk alone would not provide my accomplices with the time necessary to complete their operation, so, inevitably, I would need to ask the clerk questions about the merchandise that hung on the wall behind the register.

“Say, what all sizes of batteries do you carry?” was a typical inquiry. “Because we’ve got this flashlight at our apartment, and I’ll be damned if we can’t figure out what kind it takes.”

After what always felt like an eternity, my buddies would finally come up to the counter with a twelve pack of Diet Coke, taking great care, of course, to orient the package such that the bar code faced the clerk.

“Anything else?” the clerk would ask while scanning the code.

“Yes. A pack of those D batteries, too, please.”

After a simple cash transaction, off we’d go, my band of merry-making friends and I. With a coupla D batteries. And twelve cans of Old Milwaukee’s Best Light all dressed up like Diet Coke thanks to the ol’ switcheroo my boys had executed as I asked countless questions pertaining to county of origin and tobacco products.

Hey, the way we saw it, we were doing everyone a favor. You see, we paid a premium for the beer as Diet Coke actually cost more than Old Milwaukee’s Best Light. Which, I might point out, meant we were paying more tax, too. Not only did the business owner come out on top, but so did the state.

The only guy who wasn’t a winner in the deal was the poor bastard who thought he was picking up a twelve pack of “Beast Light” and wound up with a bunch of girly soft drinks instead. But we never really ran in to him. So we were relatively okay with that.

What do you think? Did we really empty out a twelve pack of soft drinks and put in a twelve pack of beer inside the cardboard container thus enabling us to acquire beer (albeit at a premium) late at night or on Sundays? JCO or JC NO?

PLEASE NOTE: I am in the process of revamping my site. During the transition, there may be a day or two when you have to access my blog via http://johncaveosborne.WORDPRESS.com instead of http://johncaveosborne.com. This will most likely begin on Sunday. By Monday or Tuesday, however, I will once again be on johncaveosborne.com with a brand new look. If you subscribe to me via my RSS link (or even if you clicked the button to get my posts emailed to you), you’ll need to visit me early next week and get the new feed. Sorry for the inconvenience, but the new site will be a ton better. Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it. -jco-

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • http://liayf.blogspot.com Seattledad

    I’ll say JCO on this one. College kids will do about anything for beer.

  • http://liayf.blogspot.com Seattledad

    I’ll say JCO on this one. College kids will do about anything for beer.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    JCNO

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    JCNO

  • Rob

    Negative. A denture affected cheeseburger is one thing, but I don’t see your moral compass deteriorating to the point of basic theft, even if well disguised as a ‘switcheroo’.

  • Rob

    Negative. A denture affected cheeseburger is one thing, but I don’t see your moral compass deteriorating to the point of basic theft, even if well disguised as a ‘switcheroo’.

  • http://www.myspellingsucks.com Kevin(TheDADvocate)

    I quite honestly believe you would do this. I know I’m a jerk but hey pot calling the Kettle here. That said the fact that you took the time to chat up the clerk and one poorly written statement above makes me think this is false. I’ll quote:

    “The only guy who wasn’t a winner in the deal was the poor bastard who thought he was picking up a twelve pack of diet soda for his wife. But we never really ran in to him. So we were relatively okay with that.”

    You see the poor bastard would have thought he was picking up a 12 pack of “Beast” but ended up with a 12 pack of soda. Is this a flaw in your story telling logic, did you actually intend to give a hint, or did you simply never pull this one off?

    I’m going with a JCNO here.

    BTW I have seen this done as I worked in a convenience store in college and working in the store was the real key to getting beer on any given Sunday in SC. You simply went in and left a note that you would pay on Monday and took the beer.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com john cave osborne

      WOW, inspector cleuseau! NICE WORK! the sentence you point out, is, indeed, incorrect. but, honest engine, it has nothing to do with whether or not the story is legit. it’s simply an erroneous, superfluous part of the story.

      in other words, as college kids, we never once considered what would happen on down the line to the next customer. nor did we ever discuss the extra tax revenue our transaction had garnered. facets such as these are superfluous info to the story, itself — one which i didn’t even begin writing until midnight last night. so in my fatigue, i simply got my wires crossed when garnishing up the story with little angles such as these. i changed the sentence to make it jive.

      still, i’m genuinely impressed w/ your detective work. but, as you suggested, it was just a flaw in the logic of a tangental flair to the main story. not a clue either way.

      all that said, i have you down as JC NO.

  • http://www.myspellingsucks.com Kevin(TheDADvocate)

    I quite honestly believe you would do this. I know I’m a jerk but hey pot calling the Kettle here. That said the fact that you took the time to chat up the clerk and one poorly written statement above makes me think this is false. I’ll quote:

    “The only guy who wasn’t a winner in the deal was the poor bastard who thought he was picking up a twelve pack of diet soda for his wife. But we never really ran in to him. So we were relatively okay with that.”

    You see the poor bastard would have thought he was picking up a 12 pack of “Beast” but ended up with a 12 pack of soda. Is this a flaw in your story telling logic, did you actually intend to give a hint, or did you simply never pull this one off?

    I’m going with a JCNO here.

    BTW I have seen this done as I worked in a convenience store in college and working in the store was the real key to getting beer on any given Sunday in SC. You simply went in and left a note that you would pay on Monday and took the beer.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com john cave osborne

      WOW, inspector cleuseau! NICE WORK! the sentence you point out, is, indeed, incorrect. but, honest engine, it has nothing to do with whether or not the story is legit. it’s simply an erroneous, superfluous part of the story.

      in other words, as college kids, we never once considered what would happen on down the line to the next customer. nor did we ever discuss the extra tax revenue our transaction had garnered. facets such as these are superfluous info to the story, itself — one which i didn’t even begin writing until midnight last night. so in my fatigue, i simply got my wires crossed when garnishing up the story with little angles such as these. i changed the sentence to make it jive.

      still, i’m genuinely impressed w/ your detective work. but, as you suggested, it was just a flaw in the logic of a tangental flair to the main story. not a clue either way.

      all that said, i have you down as JC NO.

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    I’m 0-2 on judging the veracity of the little yarns you’ve been spinning, so I’m flipping a coin on this one – JCO. Plus, I agree with Seattle Dad.

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    I’m 0-2 on judging the veracity of the little yarns you’ve been spinning, so I’m flipping a coin on this one – JCO. Plus, I agree with Seattle Dad.

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    Man, another toughie. JCNO.

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    Man, another toughie. JCNO.

  • Opus

    Wow, I don’t know about this one. . . . . I flipped a coin and came up with JCNO. Wonder what the Magic Eight Ball will say? :)

    • Stephanie

      No because switching cans is loud and time consuming

  • Opus

    Wow, I don’t know about this one. . . . . I flipped a coin and came up with JCNO. Wonder what the Magic Eight Ball will say? :)

    • Stephanie

      No because switching cans is loud and time consuming

  • http://www.whydwell.blogspot.com wendy wisniewski

    Count me in as JCO.

    The Wagon Wheel outside of Jamestown NY “may” have have noticed an increase in the sale of beef jerky and Fanta Orange on certain days. But if memory serves it was Genny Cream. Not Old Milwaukee Light.

  • http://www.whydwell.blogspot.com wendy wisniewski

    Count me in as JCO.

    The Wagon Wheel outside of Jamestown NY “may” have have noticed an increase in the sale of beef jerky and Fanta Orange on certain days. But if memory serves it was Genny Cream. Not Old Milwaukee Light.

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    I know you, and I remember your younger self too, so I’m going to vote JCO on this one. And, again, I’ll choose to remember it as true no matter what the answer. :-p

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    I know you, and I remember your younger self too, so I’m going to vote JCO on this one. And, again, I’ll choose to remember it as true no matter what the answer. :-p

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    I’m going to say JCO, although the idea that the clerk behind the counter late at night or on Sunday could answer questions about batteries or tobacco origins with coherent conversation and full sentences would be the most amazing part of this story, if true.

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    I’m going to say JCO, although the idea that the clerk behind the counter late at night or on Sunday could answer questions about batteries or tobacco origins with coherent conversation and full sentences would be the most amazing part of this story, if true.

  • http://www.liloladenvers.blogspot.com Lilola

    I’m gonna say JC NO. Not that I think you and or other college students wouldn’t do it, but college students would have done this because of lack of money, not because they didn’t think to get the beer before. Beer and sex being the primary focus of college age young men, it is not a last minute purchase. Unless of course they were already inebriated, in which case, you wouldn’t have been nearly as charming to the clerk.

  • http://www.liloladenvers.blogspot.com Lilola

    I’m gonna say JC NO. Not that I think you and or other college students wouldn’t do it, but college students would have done this because of lack of money, not because they didn’t think to get the beer before. Beer and sex being the primary focus of college age young men, it is not a last minute purchase. Unless of course they were already inebriated, in which case, you wouldn’t have been nearly as charming to the clerk.