Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Carl's Jr. broke my heart

I have made many visits to Carl's Jr. Today's was a heart breaker.

I received a $10 gift card from Leslie (my co-worker) on Christmas for Carl's Jr. and I decided to spend it tonight. I also had a promotional gift card I had scored after buying a Big Carl combo a few weeks back. The promotional gift card has a mystery amount on it ranging from $1 up to $100. I didn't know how much was on it until I made a return visit. That was tonight.

I've made many visits to this Carl's Jr. location because it is close to work (Broadway & Pantano). I don't love this one because I've never encountered a single staff member who speaks clear English. But the employees have always been nice and get my order right. So I cannot complain.

I placed my order inside and handed over the promotional gift card with great anticipation. If I actually won $100 worth of Carl's Jr. food it would have been the greatest day ever. I work on the radio. I have given away hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of prizes in my career but I have rarely won anything. At the very least, it would be worth a dollar. That's exciting too.

The clerk swiped the card. The register said "processing". And we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. He tried it again. And we waited. And waited. And waited. I started feeling sad. My great anticipation for winning quickly faded.

The card never did process. He gave me a dollar off the combo and I paid for the rest with the gift card from Leslie.

The Six Dollar Cheeseburger was delicious (I knew it would be!). The restaurant was slow at the time I went (7 p.m. on a Tuesday) so there wasn't much people watching to do except for a guy sitting three tables away from me who kept stopping between every bite to close his eyes, clench his hands, and then make a call on his cell phone to someone to tell them he prayed for them. He repeated this process eight times during the fifteen minutes it took me to eat. I counted.

I should have known better than to get excited for a prize I was not likely to win. But, I still get enthusiastic anyway even when the outcome is predictable (as in, yeah Ken, you're not winning squat). At least I got a dollar off and a full stomach. And, the eternal optimism that one day.... maybe.... my dreams will come true.