Capitalism Rules!

I quit smoking and had about 6 packs of cigarettes left in the carton, so what to do?   Nonsmokers would (naively) say “Just throw them away; they’re death sticks and the trashcan is the only place they belong!”    Sure, I could do that – but to throw these precious, expensive-as-hell nuggets of nicotine in the trash would have simply broken this dedicated capitalist’s heart.  Hey, I paid good money for those cigarettes, and while smoking them would have been like burning my money up, I would never consciously throw money into a trashcan.  

That’s just crazy.

So yesterday, I got a little box, filled it up with my six leftover packs, took it out to the warehouse and left it there with a sign that said $2.00 per pack.    Our company is chock full of hacking, wheezing smokers like my former self – which is quite the norm for our industry – and since smokes go for well over $3.00 a pack here in Missouri, I figured they’d sell out lickety split.   Interestingly, this would not be the case.

Perhaps, suspecting a set-up by management (me), involving hidden cameras or other sophisticated surveillance gizmos, aimed to glean the inner workings of the construction worker’s complex thought and behavior patterns, my little smoke stand was mostly shunned.  By the end of the day I’d only sold one pack, a discouraging first day return.  You know, it’s not like I was trying to sell Virginia Slims to a bunch of manly men.  These were 100% authentic Marlboro Lights.  Not Merits or Basics my friends, but Marlboro Lights.  The real deal.  

I refused to give up, however,  and felt confident that we had at least one enterprising employee who would eventually take advantage of this insanely good bargain.  I left my $2 in the box, a psychological ploy to entice others to buy, and went home. 

This morning dawned cool and crisp.  Taking a full breath for the first time in about a year, I hopped out of bed, eager to start my day and confident that today would be the day that Karen’s Schmoke Shoppe would definitely sell out of merchandise.  I drove work with the windows up, marveling at how much warmer the car stayed on these cool fall mornings, without the driver’s side window cracked for smoke venting purposes.   Downright cozy! I commented to myself.  My mind flashed back to last winter when I would don coat, gloves and a blanket just to pop out to the front porch for a fix.  Hey, no more of that either!  I thought.   Shit, does life get any better than this?

Arriving at work, I was met by a glorious sight:  A box filled with money!  Twelve whole dollars to do with whatever I pleased!  Why I could buy……   You know, the more you think about it, the more you realize how little $12 will actually buy these days.  Well I’m sure something will occur to me eventually.  Like a new lipstick or some other kind of fun object.  Which reminds me – $12 will buy 4 Bloody Mary’s at Hooper’s.   Can’t beat that kind of pricing!  Except drinking reminds me of smoking…. and you know where that leads.     Oh well, the important thing is that I was able to recoup some of my financial loss by furthering some other poor soul’s trip down Lung Cancer Lane.   How very Zen of me. 

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12 Responses to “Capitalism Rules!”


  1. 1 joebec October 9, 2007 at 11:24 am

    congrats on kicking the habit darlin!! i can’t believe they are only $3 in MO. in MI they are $5.25. it’s quite ridiculous, and i’ll only smoke marlboro lights. i really need to quit.

    They’re like $3.50 here now I think, but I always bought by the carton so they ended up being about $2.80. Yeah, they’re super cheap here in the land of the smoker. I think we have the 2nd highest smoking rate, next to N.Carolina.

  2. 2 V- October 9, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    I actually tossed a pack out the window last week.
    I bought a pack at the convenience store and smoked one. It tasted like crap. I felt like I had a loaded hand grenade in my car and I wasn’t sure what to do – so I through it like a hot potato out the window. In retrospect my first smoking experience was a pack I had found on the side of the road when I was 8. I guess I was perpetuating the vicious cycle

    That’s so damn funny! Some of the first marijuana I smoked was the ditch weed growing down the road from grandpa’s. All kinds of good smokes can be found on the side of the road!

  3. 3 Red October 9, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Oh girl, Im sooo happy for you!!!
    12 bucks in your pocket, no shmokes and you’re feeling good! That’s what I call success.
    I chuckled when you mentioned Merits. That’s what I started out on when I was 13 .. that’s dear ol’ dad’s brand right there.
    You’re doing great, MsKaren. Keep on truckin’ !

    I started out on my dad’s Winston’s. That’s a powerhouse cig – not the best to start out on…

  4. 4 poseidonsmuse October 9, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Congratulations Babe!

    Buy yourself some sexy panties with that $12…I’m thinking something lacy, racy and black…

    Bingo! Sexy panties it shall be. I should have known you’d come up with the perfect idea, Muse.

  5. 5 Doktor Holocaust October 9, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Bah, those who smoke are well aware of the consequences of their choice. They volunteer for that spectrum of possible consequences, so feel no guilt.

    I can’t remember the last time I felt guilt. Oh, wait. Toxic Ex had a knack for dealing out guilt trips. haven’t felt a twinge of guilt over anything since, which has kinda worried some of my friends…

    I’m not Catholic, so have been spared years of unnecessary guilt.

  6. 6 AnthonyNorth October 10, 2007 at 3:54 am

    Three dollars a pack? Blimey! A pack of 20 in the UK is over £5 – that’s about ten dollars.

    OK, the miser in me says I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to pay that much for cigarettes. Then again, when they were fifty cents a pack back when i was in high school I swore I’d never pay more than $1.00. Hey, you should take a trip to the US and stock up. It would probably end up saving you $$ in the long run…

  7. 7 Arm Jerker J. October 10, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Ok wait. Maybe I missed something…how did they not just take them without putting in money?

    Well, either they’re real honest or they really like me. Absolutely nothing prevented them from just taking them out of the box without paying. I was rather heartened to say the least.

  8. 8 Doktor Holocaust October 10, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Ma Holocaust is catholic, but somehow the rest of the family escaped it. Dad’s… umm… Generally indifferent to religion. Dunno about the kid sister, and I’ve been a member of several infamous fringe religions.

    Kind of the same here – mom tried but we kids revolted against the church so bad she had to give it up.

  9. 9 Doktor Holocaust October 11, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    we never had an organized revolt. Ma and Pa Holocaust both decided that raising the kids atheist would be easier than religious arguments since their families were from rival sects, and I as the eldest was required to attend one service with each set of grandparents to see if i had a religious preference. I was six. I didn’t understand any of it, and that settled it.

    it was an adolescent desire for Power and Zombie Minions what got me involved in fringe religions.

    Your parents sound like very hip individuals to have raised a free thinker like yourself. I worry more about kids raised to never question authority or to ask questions about religion. They’re the ones who become scary fundamentalists

  10. 10 pradapixie October 13, 2007 at 4:21 am

    So here’s an idea, when you are tempted to buy another pack, start putting the money you would normaly spend in a week in a jar, and wait six months, then take it out and buy something fabulous with all the hard earned non smoking fund.That way zen is working for you and your lungs!!
    pxx

    I bought some unneeded cosmetics this weekend, which was way fun.

  11. 11 Bella October 13, 2007 at 4:36 am

    Oh lordy, I just LMAO here at work. The poor bastids were terrified it was all just a set up? You are too funny, you know that right? Congrats on KICKING BUTT! I’m proud, and happy for you!
    ~Bella

    Probably – or they just love me so much.

  12. 12 Hawk October 13, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    My regrets for coming in after everyone else, but this was a great read! Congratulations with the ‘stop smoking’! The story was just delightful. I wonder if the majority would’ve smoked the remaining packs and then quit? Dunno… Though I still enjoy my Havanas and Gentleman Jack et al!

    Peace…

    Right now I’m off alcohol until I feel more confident. After that, I’m breaking out the new American Honey Wild Turkey – it’s lucious.


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