January 16, 2010

The Gambler

This morning I was at one of those Murphy Gas Stations that have sprung up in the parking lots of Walmarts across the nation.  I wonder what kind of sweetheart deal Walmart got out of that alliance.  Whatever it is, I'm sure they're not losing money on it.  I was thinking the other day that all a small town needs is one Super Walmart and they can self-subsist.  Think about it.  At just this one place, you can get  groceries, clothes, medicine, glasses, hardware, tires, car repair, gasoline. electronics.  Virtually anything.  I'm almost certain that Sam Walton had none of this in mind when he started his first store, but it took one of his minions, David Glass, to put this whole juggernaut into motion.  It's quite an accomplishment when you stop to think about it.

This isn't a whole smack-down on Walmart, because I shop there quite often, and as far as I know, 90 percent of everyone else in the U.S. does too, whether they admit it or not.

But back to the Murphy Gas Station ...  this morning. The enclosure where you pay for things, amid the sea of gas pumps, is no larger than a walk-in closet, so when you go in to pay for gas, a coke, cigarettes, etc.; you make it quick, because more than two people in that little space is a crowd.

So when I went in, there were already 5 people in there, which is a signal that one of the customers is acting like an inconsiderate fuckhead.  It didn't take long to spot him ... a dried up little Asian guy with a wad of bills in one hand, madly gesturing with the other as he put the lady behind the counter through her paces printing out lottery tickets for him.  I won't go into the details, but it took this little cocksucker at least five minutes to transact his laundry list of lottery buys.  I wanted to kill him.

He finally left and I stepped up to the counter.  The lady apologized to me about the wait, and I told her that was okay, because the guy was an asshole.  She didn't disagree with me.

This leads me into one of my bigger gripes about States in general and the way they transact their business today.  Whoever thought up the idea that State sponsored gambling was a good move should have his balls removed with a piece of broken glass.  There's almost no place you can shop today that doesn't have a honkin' ass lotto machine on the counter or a glass case of scratch off tickets.

Sure, when all of this started there was the lofty goal of providing all of the profits to education. Horsehit.  It's just a way for the State to try to make up for the fact that they don't know how to do business.  No one even talks about education anymore.  It's a revenue stream, and a lot of States would completely collapse if it weren't for the millions of dollars pouring in from gambling.

In the State I'm unlucky enough to be stuck in right now, Illinois, the budget is in the hole almost 13 billion dollars, and one of the ways that they're looking to trim that deficit is by sponsoring video poker machines.  The same machines that were outlawed not two years ago.  In a delightful twist of irony, I heard on one of the local radio stations the other morning that Illinois had to cut funding for programs designed to treat gambling addiction.  No more treatment for a mental problem brought on, in part, by the same programs that the State promotes on a daily basis.

This is just another of a long list of reasons that I can't wait to flee the Land of Lincoln for a place that knows how to handle the money they have without resorting to hardcore gambling or leasing away irreplaceable assets to balance their budgets.

And back to that little shit at the gas station.  I saw him put almost a hundred dollars down on lotto tickets.  And for pissing me off, I hope he doesn't win one ... red ... cent.

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