An inconvenient convenience (store)
Updated: Jul 7
W've all been there. Driving and short on time and in need of something you forgot to pick up earlier. You need a pit stop, but there's little time to spare. The best solution is a convenience store.
I pull into the store parking lot on a mission. If my calculations are correct, I'll be in-and-out in five (minutes). Time to burn and churn! You go to the restroom, grab a bottle of water and single-use Advil, and some cheese doodles for good measure. I'm first in line and right on time.
Then it slowly hits me... no... no... for the love of god, please no! There is one cashier and standing in front of her is lottery guy. He has a pile of scratch off tickets that need checking (to see if they are winners). "I don't think any are winners but I want to be sure," lottery guy says. Meanwhile he's inspecting the huge variety of tickets in the clear in-counter display. He's going through his routine for picking the winners, the unnecessary but elaborate process to for good luck. Damn, this can't be happening to me right now.
He slowly and methodically inspects the tickets for any clues to which will delivery the golden ticket. "I'll take whichever ticket is the winner," he says with a chuckle. The cashier, who has probably heard this hundreds of times, forces herself to smile.
"What ticket number is Rainbow Riches on?" he asks. The cashier is trying to find whatever number the display case is. Is that 7-11-21 game new? says LG. This process continues for what feels like an eternity (probably about 3 or 4 minutes).
My passive-aggressive eye rolling doesn't catch the attention of the cashier, or lottery guy, or the store manager doing inventory. None of them seem concerned about my timeline or the line of customers growing behind me. A couple of minutes pass before I passive-aggressively let out a sigh. I might as well be at the DMV.
Eventually lottery guy is satisfied with his scratchers and walks around the corner to begin scratching. I place my water and cheese doodles on the counter and avoid eye contact with the cashier, and any chit-chat that may take extra time. I get back in my car and blame lottery guy for making me late.
I try not to judge people, but I am not always successful. I judged lottery guy for being oblivious to his surroundings (or not caring). I judged the store manager for not jumping in to help the cashier. I judge them all for not being in a rush like me. I judge anyone but the person who I should judge most. The one who's always in a rush. The one who can't spare 4 minutes of his time. The one who gets annoyed for little inconveniences.
Jon Mullett, www.mullettmarketing.com
Note: Below are some of the tickets from my time as Promotional Ticket Product Manager at the Colorado Lottery.