December 6, 2013 by T. Gregory Argall
I stopped at a grocery store on the way home from work a few nights ago. I think Pringles potato chips were on sale. Well, I hope they were on sale. The fellow in line ahead of me bought seventy tubes of Pringles.
Yep. Seventy. Seven zero.
Sixty-nine tubes stayed in the cart because the cashier was clever enough to know that it’s the same barcode on all of them. She stood there scanning a single tube of Pringles seventy times.
It occurred to me how lax the training was in the store because apparently no one had ever shown her the four simple keystrokes that would have multiplied a single scan seventy times.
But, oh, well.
We stood there, the three of us, and shared an awkward friendly laugh about the uniqueness of his purchase. We semi-enthusiastically cheered when she reached the final scan of the barcode.
“67, 68, 69 70, yay.”
Afterwards, I started pondering the obvious question in all of this…
Why the hell was this guy buying seventy tubes of Pringles chips?
(Internet protocols demand that I give him a name, so in accordance with world wide web tradition I will dub him Epic Chip Tube Guy.)
The Pringles were the only thing in his cart. It’s not like he was grocery shopping anyway and suddenly, “Oh, look, Pringles are on sale. I think, while I’m here, I’ll get one or two. Or six… dozen.”
No, he made a specific trip to the store for the sole purpose of buying seventy tubes of Pringles potato chips. Maybe he’d wanted to buy a hundred tubes but they only had seventy left. I don’t know. Either way, he was there to buy a ridiculous amount of Pringles and nothing else.
Epic Chip Tube Guy was not a large man. He was somewhat average, not really in shape but not really out of shape either. So it was unlikely this was some weird fad diet he’d heard about. He didn’t seem like the fad diet type.
In my mind, I started compiling a list of possible reasons why he would be buying tubed chips in such a quantity.
– Christmas presents. He intended to give everyone on his list a memorable and disappointingly meaningless gift. This was his interpretation of Step One of my own Christmas shopping plan (as outlined a couple of weeks ago). If that’s the case, then he’s probably a regular reader of this blog and I inadvertantly inspired him to make this purchase. He’s probably reading this right now.
Hi, Epic Chip Tube Guy.
Yeah, probably not.
– He plans to build a delicious and crunchy model of the CN Tower at 1/20 scale.
What? It could happen.
– He’s improvising a multi-lane bowling league in his basement. If he dumps out the chips he’ll have enough tubes to use as pins for seven bowling lanes.
– He plans to build an expansive and multi-terrain Nerf-gun shooting range and the chip tubes will be targets set up throughout the course.
– Lashing the empty tubes together he will build a raft and use it to cross Lake Ontario on New Year’s Day, a plan that will result in either a truly inspirational tale of determination and courage, or one of clearly avoidable tragedy and stupidity. Oh, Nature, thou art a harsh mistress.
– His next stop after the grocery store (and this is my fervent hope) was the makeup counter at Target where he bought a gross of compacts. Using the small mirrors from the compacts and the tubes from the Pringles, he will build the world’s most awesome periscope chain, which will give him a narrow and unfocused view of a small portion of something very far away and around several corners.
Whatever his reasons for buying seventy tubes of Pringles potato chips, the more I think about it, the more certain I am that it will be amazing, impressive and an amusing footnote on the news a few weeks from now.
Rock on, Epic Chip Tube Guy.