So I’ve been on the road a lot these past few weeks going to tournament basketball games and I’ve made some late night stops in convenient stores, which always leads to bad decisions. It says right in their name “convenient”, not “smart shopping stops”.
I walk into the bright glare of the fluorescent lights. There’s a rumble in my tummy. I haven’t eaten in a few hours and after most of these games, I’m ramped up a bit. So I traipse through the three aisles, moving right past the cans of motor oil and antifreeze and over-priced household items and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals that people only buy here in an emergency in the middle of the night.
That’s when I espy what I’ve been seeking. The siren song that has charmed and lured me into the facility in the first place – the snack food section. I peruse the candy bars, immediately eliminating my least favorites as a potential option. Wait, would a visit with Little Debbie be a better choice? Ok, these would satisfy the need for sweets.
But what about the salty snacks? Chips and nuts. Yeah, salty may be winning out.
And that’s when something catches my eye that I didn’t expect to attract my attention. Right in front of me, in its bright red and yellow plastic wrapper almost dancing on the shelf like the foods in the cartoons at movies tempting you to head on out to the lobby. A Slim Jim. I think to myself, “When’s the last time I’ve had one of those? That might be a nice change of pace, something a little different.” So I grab one of the slender sticks and head to the counter, forking over the change necessary to complete my purchase.
At home, settled in front of the TV, winding down after the game, I peel back the eye-popping wrapper, pondering that it’s probably been a least a couple of years since I’ve snapped into one of these meat sticks.
Then I take that first bite and I’m pretty much immediately repulsed. I certainly don’t remember the outer “skin” on these things being so tough and thick. Maybe it’s just me, so I take one more bite and, yup, it’s not me, it’s this nasty dark brown snack that’s chock full of strange spices and seasoning mixed with whatever beasty they’ve ground up and stuffed inside a cardboard-like sheath. Needless to say my hounds weren’t nearly as picky as me. They woofed down their shares of the remainder of my snack-choice gone awry.
I’ve officially sworn off Slim Jims. Tossing them into the same category as Funyuns, another food item that is only purchased after 11 p.m. in convenience stores and no longer to be purchased by me. The way this used to happen – there I am strolling the aisles waiting to find a culinary inspiration when a bag of Funyuns snags my attention. The influence of alcohol is often another factor in the purchase of these vile onion-flavored snacks. The bag is ripped open and after two bites, I recall, even through a beer haze, why it’s been four years since I’ve had this styrofoam consistency coating the inside of my mouth. These things are dang nasty. I believe this is why you rarely see giant-sized bags of Funyuns in grocery stores. No one without a minimum of four beers fogging their system would buy these things. Snack-sized bags only and available, for your convenience of course, in a quick mart on a corner near you.
Lesson learned - caveat emptor my convenience store cruisin’ cohorts.