I stopped at a Circle K convenience store a few blocks from my apartment on my way home from work tonight. The store at 1st and Limberlost in Tucson.
I am convinced that convenience stores are one of the most fascinating places ever.
I've gone to this store multiple times. Past visits have included seeing a beer run, finding someone's debit card on the ground (I called Bank of America and reported it found), found a banana peel on the ground outside of my car, and a woman who didn't squeeze the trigger on her gas pump nozzle and pulled the nozzle out only to cover her pants in gasoline.
Tonight's visit was equally as interesting / odd.
I stood in line behind two people. The man who was at the register purchasing what looked like about $30 worth of items and was in a wheelchair made the clerk put items in a specific order in the bags. The clerk would put bananas in a bag and the wheelchair guy would make him put some of the bananas in a different bag and then rearrange the whole set of stuff all over again. Oddly enough he kept a candy bar and two hot dogs out of the bags.
While this was going on a woman walked into the store and went over to the hot dog rolling rack and made the clerk stop checking out the man in the wheelchair to find out why there was only one hot dog on the rack. The clerk explained they don't put new hot dogs on there after 8 p.m. (I don't understand that but I don't work there so it'll remain a mystery). She then left the store, came back in, left the store, came back in, left the store, and came back in and wanted to know if it was safe to eat the one remaining hot dog on the rack. The clerk said that it was put there before 8 p.m. and she'd have to make that decision for herself. She then went out of the store and came back in and was walking around the store even after I left.
The man in front of me had two Gatorade drinks and after the lengthy transaction with the man in the wheelchair he got his turn and tried to pay for the two Gatorade drinks with a debit card that got declined. He shoved the drinks at the clerk after the card was declined and apologized for the hassle and left.
While all of this was going on there was a Budweiser beer truck unloading pallets of beer in front of the store and the delivery guy was informed by the clerk he would have to wait to verify the beer delivery until there weren't any customers that needed to be rang up. So the beer delivery guy paced outside the store the whole time I was there.
The clerk who works at that Circle K late nights has worked there for quite a while. He's kind of funny. He always looks like he's really stoned. I don't think he is. I think he's worked late nights for a long time and he always looks like he's ridiculously tired.
I've always admired anyone who works at a convenience store. I have a public job but I'm pretty insulated. The media companies I've worked for take measures to make sure the public is at arm's length. Those who work at convenience stores are exposed to extremely random people all day long. They don't get paid enough for what they do. But they probably have the most interesting stories to tell at the end of their day!