Friday, June 16, 2006

Keys to the Kingdom

So let me tell you about my day.

"Uh, oh" says Blue's collective audience warily, "Blue's been off the farm again."

Well, yeah, I have. See, the fence guys were out here all day Thursday. One of the things they did - in addition to putting up a bonny fence - was deplete my supplies of, well, everything: wooden posts, metal t-posts, clips, wire, field fencing. All gone.

So that, coupled with our being out of , erm ... bread and milk and cheese and stuff, prompted me to go out.

My first stop was Wal-Mart for the groceries (I was in the truck and didn't want to get the v. v. expensive fencing and risk having it nicked out of the bed of my truck while I shopped.) I had to get Fix-a-Flat because the tyre on my horsetrailer is down and as I stood there, perusing the automotive goodies, I heard the sound of a key cutter.

It may as well have been the sound of impending doom.

"Aha" said my brain, "You need a few extra keys for the truck since you lost the spares, you moron."

So I had the little bloke whip me up three and I went merrily on my way.

Cut to the truck, 20 minutes later. I've shopped, loaded the groceries in the VEEhicle, and decided to try the new keys. The first new key doesn't work ... neither do the other two.


So with trepidation in my heart, and poles and wire on my mind, and while eyeing the four gallons of milk warming slowly in the cab of the truck, I drove around to the service entrance, leapt out, and went in.

Standing in line by the key cutter (of course) were two people: an unremarkable, portly, red-faced gent; and a scrawny, scowling, over-tanned old woman with yellow toenails. She was in regrettably short shorts and open-toed (yellow nails!) faux leather chunky wedges that she seemed to be slipping slowly down into, compressing her gnarled feet alarmingly.

Chunky black wedges. Gross bile-coloured toenails.

Perhaps that was why she was scowling so.

At any rate I explained to the little bloke about the keys and he said that 1) I would have to walk the quarter mile back up to the service desk because he couldn't take returns or exchange keys, and 2) the other chap (at the key-cutter) would cut me a new key but I'd have to pay for it: a fourth key.

He handed my key to the cutter, I stepped up behind YellowNails who frowned briefly at my facial peircings. At least I think it was a frown. Her purse-leather tanned face was so wrinkly (but tanned!) that I'm not certain.

Cutter Boy got done with the red-faced guy and I thought he was going to cut my key, but he didn't even look at me, he looked at YellowNails.

Beef Number One: Now, correct me if I'm wrong here but, if a customer who's order is NOT correct returns to the store - and assuming righting the wrong will take only a moment - you take her next, yes? She was supposed to have been helped but she was not. She is assisted as soon as is politely possible as she was technically there first.

If you got the wrong sandwich at Greaseball Burgers and you stepped up to the counter again, the cashier doesn't help everyone in line in the store before correcting your order. You excuse yourself, she excuses herself to the next customer and grabs your correct sandwich real quick. That's the way it works in my opinion.

So I was taken aback. But I figured, hell, a key only takes a handful of seconds to cut, I'll wait.

Then YellowNails proceeded to instruct Cutter Boy: "Ah want four of them on that one and two of them on that other one, the gold one, and two more uh THAT one ..." I kid you not, she wanted EIGHT keys cut.

Beef Number Two: if you are in line, say with a cartload of groceries, and someone steps up behind you with a packet of crisps, what do you do? I dunno about you but I always let them go ahead of me. I mean, hell, it's one item. Why should he wait behind my 45 item cart? I mean, how bloody minded can you be? That's like intentionally not letting someone who's waiting politely with his blinker on out into traffic. You're just being a wanker.

So I asked for my keys back and left.

On to the Lowe's (Aerodog please note correct punctuation!) to price treated 4x4s for the pantry.

At the Lowe's I apparently lost my mind. Not in the good running-naked-thru-the-store-waving-your-credit-card kinda way either.

No, I marched past the treated lumber and right up to the key cutting counter.

There I met ... let's call him Lenny ... The Control Freak. Now, I immediately explained the recent WalMart debacle to him. I explained how they'd cut the keys on the '20' blank and they looked fine but wouldn't turn in the ignition.

He listened carefully, nodded sagely, tested my key in the keyhole device thingy that was identical to Wal-Mart's and picked up a '20' blank ...

"That's what the bloke at the Wal-Mart used, " I said.

"A '20'?"


(inserting the blank and my key a tad briskly into the cutter) "Well, let's see what happens!"

Now, I should have known that ole Lenny had a problem. He had this sort of mad glint in his eye - like game roosters get - a bright, 'oh you wanna peice of me?!' sort of look.

He was also a little short guy. I have had this problem with these men my whole life. I'm a big girl. I'm just a hair shy of 5'9' which is not all that tall but I'm also, erm, solid. Add to that my own bold attitude and some bodacious ta tas and the whole package is, apparently, intimidating to the staturally challenged man.

A handful of seconds later we had a new key.

"Is your vehicle here?"

I pointed mutely out the huge glass entrance doors: the farm truck was parked directly in front of them (with four gallons of milk inside). One could see it clearly in the bright sunshine. It was right there.

"Well, try this key out right now!" Says Len.

That sounded like a plan! I held out my hand for the key. Lenny, however, clutched it to his chest and got out his radio. I frowned perplexedly.

Turns out that Lenny didn't trust me to go out to my truck with his $1.50 key (which I had NOT asked him to cut on that blank) and try it with out driving wildly off, cackling with avaricious glee at my larcenous acquisition. No, he was calling for someone to replace him at the key counter (there was already a woman there, just sitting) while he escorted the precious key out to my truck.

OK, fine. Fair enough. Someone could steal a key, I suppose. I waited less than patiently for the replacement and we set off.

It is the design of the Lowe's that they have only one exit door - situated behind the registers. This is assumedly to thwart shoplifting (of valuable keys, no doubt!) and makes sense. The bad part is that the entrance door and the exit door are roughly one eighth of a mile apart and I was parked in front of the former. So Lenny and I had to walk down to the exit. Or rather, Lenny bore the key, and his radio, down to the exit and I trailed after.

So we walked, Lenny aggressively out in front and me contemplating the top of his wee head and daydreaming of getting to pick up my fencing and go home at some point. Suddenly, I spotted something on the floor. Lenny stepped right over it and I realized it was a gold coloured watch. I stopped and said: "Someone lost her watch" and bent to pick it up.

Quick as a mongoose Lenny spun around and pounced on the watch, taking it right out my hand.

"That needs to go to Customer Service," I said.

"I'll take this to customer service!" Lenny announced, "Someone's going to be very unhappy that they (sic) lost this watch!"

At that second a v. well-dressed older woman cried: "That's my watch!" and Lenny glued himself to her and proceeded to tell her how he found it and that he was - at that moment - searching for it's owner while the woman thanked him over and over (the watch was gold and a family heirloom I gathered) and he assured her that he was just doing his job.

As I stood there watching Lenny just doing his job and wondering if there was a funny T-shirt design in this, a woman who had witnessed the whole thing nudged my elbow, "Why don't you tell her that YOU found the watch?"

I shrugged: "It doesn't matter. The important thing is that she got her watch back."

Finally Lenny finished fawning over GoldWatchLady and resumed his escorting my key out to the truck - again, walking in front of me. It was more of a strut at this point.

When we reached the parking lot, I again held my hand out for the key. Lenny ignored me entirely, walked right up to my truck, opened the door, got in and tried the key.

I looked pretty silly standing there with my hand out and my mouth open.

Of course, I was pretty silly. I mean there I was, in the presence of a Key Professional, an Expert in Keys, thinking that I could crank my own damned truck! Was I crazy? that sort of thing takes expertise!

"It doesn't work," exclaimed Lenny, grunting slightly as he tried to force the new key to turn (like that's all it needed was a little MAN strength.)

"No duh, asshat", I thought. What I said, however, was: "Yes, I know. The bloke at the Wal-Mart used the same blank." I pointed at the three keys that had been cut at the Wal-Mart which were lying on the dash.

Lenny picked up one and inspected it. It was identical to his. He tried the other one in the ignition. He tried his again. I scratched the back of my neck. The sun was very hot and my hair was itching my skin. Lenny pointed at the truck key in my hand, the original.

"Does that one work?"

I stopped scratching and had this brief inner monologue: How the hell else could I have driven here today, you dolt? Do you think that this is some elabourate scheme to make off with a key that doesn't even start my truck? Do you think I walked here with misguided larcenous intent?

I held my key out wordlessly. I couldn't stop myself. I think they call this morbid fascination.

Lenny tried my key and the truck cranked. He seemed genuinely startled.

I did eventually extricate myself from Lenny. Since he could no longer dominate the situation he kind of wandered off (his radio crackled - probably a desperate Key Emergency!) and it was a good thing, too, as I was having to shove my fist in my mouth to stifle hysterical insane-person type giggles.

I never did get my prices on the lumber. After the Lenny encounter I just drove away, dazed.

I did stop at the Tractor Supply, though, and ended up there for almost an hour. A blog for another day. *sigh*

Oh ... and if you come over for a visit? Don't drink the milk.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:59 pm   5 comments


At 8:58 am, Blogger Zach & Brie's Mom said...

Oh. My. God.

That was too damn funny.

Also, I hate the key counter. Anywhere.

But I do hope Lenny solved the Key Emergency for whoever was calling him.

At 9:26 am, Blogger macboudica said...

Oh yes, the Napolean complex! It is always fun to deal with those guys.

At 11:41 am, Blogger Sharpie said...

OMG!! Too freaking funny!! Why do they see a woman coming and assume they we are stupid??

At 7:06 pm, Anonymous Contrary said...

You gotta love Little Man Complex. He needed smacking, in a big way. Proud of you for being the bigger (hah!) person.

I wish we were gonna be passing by you way, but we won't. :(

I would totally come over and get in your way while you tried to work. I'm good like that.

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