Not Quite Drinking In LA

Tomorrow I’m visiting a friend for dinner, and since I failed to take anything with me the last time I went to see him, this time I’ve overcompensated by fetching two bottles of wine and a triplet of different gins from BevMo, some sort of beverage supermarket. This was as not much fun as it sounds.

The BevMo shuts at nine and I got in there at 8:45, when the staff were probably hoping to be shuffling off. Unlike places where I’m used to buying booze, all dark and sinister, the BevMo is mostly bright lights and brighter red plastic and even brighter red aprons, the last worn by the grumpy staff. I rushed around, picking wine as swiftly as I could, then took my spoils to the tills to pay.

The shop assistant, a very tall but flabby man (how do you get tall fat people? It’s not a comedy archetype like short fat people, or fat men rowing boats, so he confused me) muttered something about going to till 1. (There were two tills, either side of an island of red plastic and plywood. I was standing by the till on one side of the island. Because it was closer to me.) Then he lumbered over to the tills, and grumbled at me that I was at the wrong till.

Come on now, sir. You weren’t at the till. You had to walk to the till. The two tills were equidistant from you. So why, when you could see me at the till (unless you only walked over as the result of Brownian motion) did you decide it was more efficient for me to walk around to the other till, than serve me where I stood?

Still, people selling alcohol are often very morose, probably because of their clientele. He rang up my drinks on the register, then grumbled at me for my ID. I gave him my passport, (which probably looks bogus to an American, because there’s no flags anywhere on it, whereas a US passport has so many bald eagles and Stars and Stripes emblazoned across the inner pages that it looks like it’s satirising the very idea of patriotism) and he grumbled some more, before asking me if I wanted a box to carry my bottles in.

Sorry, let me rephrase that. He asked me, in the tone usually appropriate for enquiries about whether somebody has eaten the last slice of cake that you were saving for a special occasion, if I wanted a box to carry my bottles in. Of course I wanted a box. I had by this point 7 bottles of liquid with me. Did he think I was just going to stick them in the back pocket of my jeans and waltz out into the night?

I tried to fix him with a baleful stare but the brim of my cap got in the way. So I took my drinks to Whole Foods, and then had a barely-clothed man drive me home in his Ford Focus. It’s been an interesting night.

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