Shell Lacking

Posted on November 23, 2013 under Storytelling with no comments yet

The state of Florida thrives on tourism.  Yesterday was one of those days when I had the opportunity to get “up close and personal” with the industry.

After a morning walk on the beach, a regular part of our vacation diet, I was charged with the task of getting the shoppers to their destinations.  It is a sacrilege to miss “senior’s day” at Bealls and, believe it or not, there was one mall that a few of the women had never visited.  Every mountain must be scaled.

I piled six happy shoppers into the Dodge Caravan and the day began in earnest.

It was Remembrance Day in Canada and Veteran’s Day in the U.S.  The traffic flows indicated that this is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, only being surpassed by Black Friday.  It took most of the morning to get everyone situated as I headed back to our time share to shower and shave before heading to the airport to pick up my son.

En route to the airport, I stopped at a gas station, a Shell gas station, to be precise.  I always get my gas there. The staff is friendly, the gas is cheap and I get a discount because I get my groceries at one of the national chains.  If you have a Canadian credit card you have to go in and get pre-authorized.  I believe that they think we’re a flight risk.  With the low price here of booze, food, smokes and gas, this is highly unlikely.

I presented my card.  I mistook the lady on the other side of the counter for a human for she was certainly a scorpion, possibly a scorpion who had had a disagreement with its partner earlier that day.    She could barely disguise her foul humor. Her name tag said Becky and I immediately dubbed her “Bad Attitude Becky.”  Too charitable, methinks.

After filling the tank, I then had to go back inside to finalize the purchase and get my discount. But apparently I had gotten the sequencing all wrong and was supposed to provide these credentials before the purchase.  Becky made no attempt to change protocol.  I wished her a good day and went looking for a veterinarian so that I could purchase a distemper shot.

After the run to the airport and some luggage issues, I drove back to the mall in Clearwater to pick up the shoppers.  By this time of the day, every driver in western Florida was on the highways and bi-ways along with road construction crews.

After some precious time in the hot tub, a few of us meandered over to a restaurant.  The stress of the day had begun to wear off.

That is when I was greeted by a voice that sounded much like the pneumatic drill that the construction workers were using earlier in the day.  It was our waitress.  Too cheerful by half, her voice had the quality of industrial grade sandpaper.

There are no bad days in Florida.  Some are just better than others.  And sometimes you take a shellacking.

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The Macdonald Notebook: Business & Politics in Atlantic Canada

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