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Braving the Storm

Last night was a real exercise in frustration as I threw myself an impromptu Black Thursday evening of shopping. I'd somehow managed to work myself up into a buying frenzy yesterday (read it firsthand in this post over at The Greedy Gamer). It was an itch that needed scratching...

My goals for the evening were pretty simple:


  1. Drive to my local Blockbuster despite the snow storm pounding Ottawa.

  2. Buy a brand-spanking new copy of Half-Life 2: The Orange Box using Blockbuster store credit.

  3. Stop at Tim Horton's on the way home to buy a donut.

  4. Get home and eat my delicious donut while trying out Portal (game-play video at the end of this post, if you're interested).

Easy right? Easy. Right?!

At 9:00 PM, I jump into my little Hyundai Accent (car shopping on a budget leaves very few options) and skid my way out of the driveway. As I start to make my way to Blockbuster, my car starts to twist and turn and I find myself skidding like a bastard all over the road. I check my speed - 30 km/h - and can only wonder why Koreans would want to build a car that weighs just shy of 100 lbs. and then market this car to Canadians. Although I could have easily given up and returned to the warmth and safety of my house, I decided to press on through the blizzard.

I skidded into Blockbuster's parking lot twenty minutes later. For a man pushing a deuce and a half, I jumped out of the car like a fat ninja and slunk into the store. I quickly and quietly made my way to the back of the store, so as to avoid the pointless and awkward chit-chat with bored store employees, and started browsing the shelf of new Xbox 360 games. A couple minutes later, I realized that not a single copy of The Orange Box was on display.

Off to the used games shelf. Orange Box? Nothing. They had fifteen copies of some Sonic the Hedgehog game (awful!) and countless copies of The Outfit (crap!), yet the game I wanted was nowhere to be found.

With no other alternatives, I was forced to ask the only Blockbuster employee in sight about my game.

"Do you have any copies of Half-Life 2: The Orange Box?"

"No.", he replied.

"Could you call another store and ask them if they have any copies?"

I could tell by the look on his face that I was pushing my luck. How dare I force him to work on such a snowy evening!

One phone call and five minutes later, the clerk hung up the phone and gave me the bad news. "Sorry dude - they're sold out too."

Now I was desperate. If I couldn't have The Orange Box, perhaps I could walk away with Mass Effect? "I notice that you're selling Mass Effect for $69.99. Every other store in Ottawa sells the game for $59.99. Any chance of getting a price match?"

He quickly typed some information into his computer terminal, nodded his head ever so slightly and then answered - "No. The computer says it's $69.99. Do you want to buy a copy of The Outfit instead? They're on sale for, like, ten bucks."

I stumbled out of the store, hopes crushed, dreams gone. There would be no Half-Life 2 for me this evening. The only comfort I would have on this cold evening would be the love of my wife, the screams of my youngest son, and the delicious custard filling of a Boston Cream donut.

After fifteen more minutes of driving perpendicular to the flow of traffic, I slid into the drive-thru of the local Tim Horton's. I opened my window and leaned towards the speaker just as a voice came over the speaker.

"Good evening, welcome to Tim Horton's. How may I help you?"

"Hi. I'll take a Boston Cream donut please."

"Will that be all?", the speaker asked.

"Yep.", I answered.

"Your total comes to 73 cents - please drive through."

I pulled up to the window where a Japanese woman in her mid-forties waited for me. "We're all out of Boston Cream tonight. Can I get you something else?"

"Sure, I'll take a cheese tea biscuit."

The drive-thru lady rushed off to grab my biscuit but returned scant seconds later. "We're all ouf of tea biscuits tonight. Can I get you something else?"

"Hmmm. I guess I'll take a cheese croissant."

First no Half-Life 2. And now, no Boston Cream donut or tea biscuit! What a great night I was having! Imagine my lack of surprise when the Tim Horton's cashier returned empty-handed yet again: "We're all out of cheese croissants tonight. Can I get you something else?"

"What do you have?". I was getting a little frustrated but I've got a pretty long fuse when it comes to getting annoyed by incompetents.

"Have you tried our new Lemon Crinkle Raspberry-Filled donut?", she asked.

"No, I haven't.", I replied. "I'll take one."

Cashier leaves and returns. "I'm sorry sir. We just sold the last one. Can I get you something else?"

Fucking hilarious...

"An sesame seed bagel with light cream cheese?".

"I'm sorry sir, we're out of sesame seed bagels."

I drove off, my spirit crushed from disapointment after disapointment, skidding my crappy little car all the way home.

When I finally walked through the front door, game-less and donut-less, I made my way up to the bedroom where my wife was sitting on the bed with my son in her lap. He'd just been fed and was fast asleep. I took my place beside them on the bed and my wife and I watched TV for next couple hours in absolute peace and quiet as the snow continued to fall outside.

I guess it wasn't such a bad night after all...

--

Here's the Portal trailer and game-play footage I mentioned earlier.



Buy Half-Life 2: The Orange Box, which includes the ground-breaking and highly-acclaimed game Portal, right here.

2 comments:

sag said...

Portal IS fun. you will see it in case you get it ;)

Klopzi said...

sag -

I can't wait to play it. Should be arriving in the mail in the next couple days.