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.