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(originally written 4/20/19)

There I am, at the local laundromat. Not too crowded (which would trigger my angst), not too empty (which would trigger my angst for different reasons).

Clothes are loaded, quarters are inserted, all I gotta do is pop in the deterg---

DAMNIT! Out of soap.

But that’s okay! The laundromat has a detergent dispenser only about 30 feet east of where I’m currently standing! YEAH!

I walk over, pop in three more coins in the Tide slot, and...nothing.
Tide slot #2: nothing. Tide slot #3: nothing.

Okay, it’s gonna be like THAT, huh?

There is a discount store around the side of the building that’d surely have detergent. It’d be off-brand, brown and of questionable quality, but desperate times...
I’ve only shopped there once, seemingly annoying the middle-aged clerk by interrupting his conversation with my meager two-item purchase. On my poo-poo list they went. But I’m not here to talk about the past.

I walk to this discount store (so irrelevant in these parts its name isn’t even on the building) to find it...closed. At 6:30 pm on a Saturday.
Probably so the clerk could yap some more...basturd.

Now, two options remain: get in the car and leave the premises for more soap (which I REALLY don’t wanna do) or stagger around the laundromat begging for spare soap. I split the difference and beg Jesus for more soap, scouring every nook and cranny of the trunk/backseat for a wayward Tide pod...but no such luck.

So I depart for the nearby Wal-Mart, hoping nobody realizes my two washers are already paid and steals a free wash (on the other hand, if you’re brave enough to touch and smell my dirty laundry, you’ve truly earned a free wash.)

At Wal-Mart, I reach the detergent aisle...and find all the soaps behind locked plexiglass (and myself on camera with facial scanning...WTH?) I push the “Call For Help” button, but no one comes. There are no employees in sight. After some effort, I finally track a worker down and politely express my desire to purchase laundry soap.

EMPLOYEE 1: “I already got a lot to do; I’ll be there.”

Uh...I got a lot to do, too, sir. Including multiple loads of laundry.
This is one of those times my medication prevented a scene.

Eventually, two other guys and a family of five join the detergent aisle party, pushing the button repeatedly and fruitlessly. A different employee passes by and cheerfully instructs us to “Push the button!” as if we were brain-damaged squirrels too stupid to have done so already.

ME: “We’ve BEEN doing that!”
EMPLOYEE 2: “Keep doing it, they’ll come!” And off he went down the yellow brick road.

Eventually Employee #1 does arrive and—after doing a double-take at the waiting crowd—unlocks the soap. Finally, I can leave. FINALLY, I’ve got soap..., I don’t. Per store policy, he’s not allowed to pass anyone the detergent. He must personally escort it to the front, where we potential thieves can claim it as we check out. It was easier for me to take my newborn out of Kaiser than it was to get this soap out of flippin’ Wal-Mart.

You gotta love a store where the liquor isn’t locked up, but the Tide is.

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