And a Bag of Chips

I glanced down at the clock on my computer and realized that my train was leaving in exactly seven minutes. I glanced up at the unread emails that had piled up in my inbox while I was in meetings all day long.
Even if I run, there’s no way I’ll make it. Damn.
I had reached the point in the evening when my train only runs every hour, so I knew I was stuck in the office for a while. Stomach growling, I grabbed some change from my desk drawer and headed over to the kitchen in search of some vending treats.
The first thing that caught my eye was a tasty Twix, my candy bar of choice, but I decided I should get something slightly healthier. My attention was drawn toward the bright packaging of the “30% Less Fat!” Harvest Cheddar Multigrain Sun Chips I always saw the athletic set eating, so I dropped in my $0.65, fully expecting what happened next. The coils spun slowly, my chips nearing the ledge, only to stop short of dropping. I was unfazed since this happens 7 out of 10 times in this machine, but annoyed because I had to walk back to my desk to get another $0.65.
After sliding another few coins into the slot, the second bag started to push out the first one, according to plan, but suddenly stopped short of full release.
Oh, come on!
Usually a good hip check will free a precariously positioned snack, but a few slams later, nothing had budged. I listened for a second to make sure everyone had left the office, then grabbed the top of the machine and tried to rattle it like I’d seen a couple of burly coworkers do before. The machine shifted slightly, but not enough to free my $1.30 dinner from its grasp.
Just as I was about to pull harder, I had a flash of the night janitor finding my body pinned underneath the vending machine, toes slightly curled like that unfortunate easterly witch. Could there be anything more humiliating than to be found crushed under a vending machine at work, all because I couldn’t live without that $0.65 bag of chips? I think not. Except perhaps being found naked and crushed under a vending machine at work, but my company has strict dress code policies, so that scenario was highly unlikely.
I paused for a minute with my head against the plastic of the vending machine. It was slightly warm from the bright lights that had beckoned me near, and as I tapped my head lightly, I contemplated my options.
I should just walk away. I’m not even that hungry anymore. NO! That’s what it wants you to think!
Now this was a game. A game of strategy and patience. Man versus machine. Who could hold out longer? I had a whole wallet full of singles and another 45 minutes before I had to leave for my train. I went back to my desk and grabbed five crisp $1 bills.
As I fed the next dollar into the machine, I suddenly understood why those little women sit in front of the same slot machines in the casinos, hour after hour, no matter how much money they lose.
It’s bound to hit sooner or later. I feel it. It’s time. My time.
I slowly punched in 124 on the keypad, careful not to slip and accidentally buy those rainbow Twizzlers in 126. The metal coil spun steadily and the chips inched further and further toward the edge, but then instead of dropping down, they began to fan upwards, pinned against the shelf above.
Oh you have got to be kidding me! What the hell – are they sewn together!? Bitch, I am not walking away with three bags of chips hanging there!
Another uneventful hip check, one paced lap around the kitchen with my hands on my head to gain my composure, and I was pulling out another dollar to feed my nemesis. I would have paid $20 for those chips at that point, because it had become a matter of principle. Fortunately, I didn’t have to test my mettle because with the fourth dollar, all four bags of Sun Chips exploded against the plastic and slid down to the slot below.
I scooped up the bags of chips in my arms, again praying that no late night colleagues would see me walking through the hall with a bushel of snacks, and returned to my desk.
Now I don’t need to buy snacks all week. Yeah, sucker. Who did you think you were dealing with?
I tossed the three spare bags of chips in my file drawer and ripped open the original one. I admired the unique waffle shape for a second, then popped an entire chip into my now salivating mouth.
Oh. Oh god. These taste like… shit!
I thought that maybe I had just gotten a bad chip, like when you bite into a burnt peanut M&M, so I gave it another shot. But the second tasted even worse than the first, its garlicky gritty debris building up in my molars and under my tongue. I quickly took a swig of water and swished it around to remove all remnants of this $2.60 disaster.
I guess I should have known by the name alone that they would be bad. Harvest Cheddar? I mean, I’m from Wisconsin. We don’t harvest cheese. What does that even mean? Cheese doesn’t grow in fields. It ferments in caves, or… something like that.
Harvest Cheddar. If by Harvest, they meant Pile of, and if by Cheddar, they meant Crap, then yes, this was definitely Harvest Cheddar. I would even go so far as to say that this tasted like a Huge Steaming Harvest Cheddar.
And I was now the proud owner of four bags of it.
I threw the open bag of Sun Chips in my trash and went back to scanning my emails. Eventually I glanced down at the clock on my computer and realized it was time to catch my train. As I cut through the kitchen on my way out, I tossed the three remaining bags of Harvest Cheddar Multigrain Sun Chips on the table.
This time I had lost, but luckily for me, what happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen.

13 Responses to “And a Bag of Chips”

  1. Don Says:

    You inspire me so. I always get so serious and dour. Then I post something serious and dour that I’m not even sure I believe is true, and so I quit blogging forever. Forever takes about two days, and then I want to be just me again, but it never quite happens cuz I post a pic or a ramble and next thing you know I’m serious and dour again. But you! You tell of Life, and Laugh in its Face! Or is it Death we laugh at? I forget. Either way. I can so relate to your story.

  2. sizzle Says:

    the whole time i am reading this i am thinking, “but those chips taste like shit!” and wanting to yell it out to you like when i watch a horror movie and the girl inevitably opens the door to the killer.
    what a chip disaster.

  3. Dustin Says:

    Jenny, I totally feel your pain on this one. My office vending machines are actually evil beings from an alternate universe that take no greater delight than torturing us poor peons by taking our money and then dangling our tasty treats in front of our faces. The record for the soda machine is six seperate attempts with all six cans jamming half way down.

  4. jenny Says:

    don: aw, thanks! but really, if you can’t be serious and dour on your own blog, where can you be? and i, for one, am very glad you have a loose definition of forever – you scared us that one time. ;)
    sizzle: it was exactly like that! what i needed was someone to tell me not to go investigate that growling sound in the garage in my underwear. how was i supposed to know?
    dustin: ok – six cans of soda jammed in a machine is the makeshift equivalent of a pipe bomb. you’re lucky you didn’t take out the whole building!

  5. kat Says:

    i never really liked the harvest cheddar sun chips, but the sour cream and onion are actually quite tasty.

  6. mainja Says:

    really? I really like sun chips. Although I’ve never had the reduced fat ones, maybe that’s the difference, maybe you need the full fat experience…

  7. roy Says:

    Thanks for the chuckles. :) You really are absolutely nuts and we love that.
    Harvest Cheddar. I never would have questioned that, but then I live near a subdivision named “Town Village.” Hmmp.

  8. Laurel Says:

    I had the same experience last week. Only I ended up with three bags of sour cream & onion chips. Mmmmmmmmm…
    That’s what you get for forsaking the Twix and trying to be 30% less fat. It never pays…
    PS: How’s that milk experiment treating ya?

  9. Mad William Says:

    Thanks, I needed that.
    I am going to giggle all the way home, and most likely every time I see a bag of those chips.

  10. Fiorello La Guardia Says:

    While waiting for the train, I would have thrown those remaining 3 bags of Sun Chips (brrrrr) on the third rail.

  11. claire Says:

    Ooh, if I’d been you and had headphones, I totally would’ve tried this (and looked like a raving loon perhaps)

  12. Karl Says:

    Fortunately, no one will ever know your plight.

  13. churlita Says:

    That happened to me once as well. Except it was only one bag and after I kicked the machine and swore at it, a tiny woman (about half my size) came out of nowhere hugged the machine and practically picked it up to get the chips to move. It was awesome. I wish you had had such a woman around when you needed her.

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