Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Hate Walgreens

This morning, I awoke to discover that, much to my dismay, I was out of dental floss. Unfortunately, I don't use just any shitty old dental floss your dentist might throw in the bag with the Crest toothpaste and Crest toothbrush that he's obligated to throw in because of a deal he cut with (you guessed it) Aquafresh. (I mean, seriously--those samples are so awful that I'm convinced competitors pay to place them in dentists offices so that it'll drive more folks to buy their products).

No, no, no, Captain Fancypants over here has to use those individual floss picks that you can easily use and discard after one use, saving me the trouble of twisting floss around my fingers way too tightly, and the resultant poor circulation in my hands.

And not just any individual floss picks: the Oral-B ones are for shit--the floss part breaks way too easily. Seriously, I go through like four or five picks in one flossing session. It's devastating.

The sad thing is, as simple as this technology may seem, pretty much ALL of the competitors use the same horrible, cut-rate floss probably made from chicken tendons in China.

All, that is, except for two brands: Plackers, and the Walgreens store brand.

Somehow, some way, an organization as ass-backwards as Walgreens managed to get the exclusive rights to both.

Which means that once a month or so, I have to make the trek over to Walgreens pretty much exclusively to get dental floss picks.

Wanna know where all the old people are at 9:30 am? WALGREENS! Of course, while I'm dragging my up-'til-2:00 am-writing-or-copywriting-or-learning-wordpress-or-some-other-godforsaken-computer-skill ass in there on the way to the gym, these lunatics have already been up for 6 hours, bright-and-spry. "Hurry up, Harold--we're gonna miss lunch at IHOP!"



Needless to say, these old people are ALWAYS slow in line, WITHOUT FAIL! One suspicious old lady stopped the line for a legitimate five minutes because the cashier asked her "Do you have a free rewards card?", and she took that as an invitation to try to suss out all of the "gotcha!" loopholes these jerks at Walgreens had obviously laid for her. Ridiculous!

Not to mention the crazy shit they try to pull. Today in line, an old guy was in front of me and had two things to pay for--what must've been a $15 bottle of Tyenol, and like a $0.69 candy bar. He put the candy bar on the counter, opened his wallet full of $20s, took out a $5 and handed it to the cashier.

[Five Seconds]

[Ten Seconds]

[Cashier tilts head to the counter to check the candy bar again]

[ANOTHER ten seconds]

"Sir, you need to give me that Tylenol."

[Long pause]

"What?!" [Mock outrage]

"The pills that are still in your hand--I need to scan them."

[Seething] "Oh..."

These cashiers need to put up with this garbage every day! I would've said "poor" cashiers, but sadly they're just as miserable as the patrons. Unfortunately, there seems to be a set "timeline" for Walgreens employees. Here's what I've been able to figure out thus far through my Dr. Doolittle-like observations:

-Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed: "I got me a job at Walgreens and boy-howdy, I'm ready to take on anything! Look out, world!"

-Bored out of their mind: "How many more fucking people are going to ask where the goddamned Metamucil is?"

-Zombie employee: "BREAAAAAAAAKSSSSSS..."

-Methed-out: "This oughtta make this shift excit--WHO THE FUCK JUST SAID THAT?!? I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU, EVERY ONE'A YA!"

-Totally batshit: "What're ya' gonna do with those floss picks?"


"No, no...WHATchya gonna FLOSS?"


"I gotta go--keep the change!"

-Old and awful: Absolutely true story: I like to go on long walks during the summer (vitamin D and whatnot), and there's a Walgreens on one of my walking routes. If it's especially hot out, I'll stop in at Walscreams for a big, cold bottle of water.

One day this summer, I waited in line forever as four or five of the walking dead bought their various sundries and finally got to the front. The cashier was a rather portly elderly woman, who had stopped the customer in front of me to discuss the weather and her purchases--pretty much anything but having to check me out.

HER: "Sorry about the wait." (What she meant: Fuck you.)

ME: "No worries." (Just get me out of here.)

HER: (Notices I'm in workout clothes): "A little hot to be running outside, isn't it?"

ME: (Unwilling to explain I'm only walking): "That's what the water's for."

HER: "Yeah, when it gets to be this hot, sometimes you just wanna--"

This next part is going to seem CRAZY, but I swear to GOD ALMIGHTY it's 100% TRUE!

[She takes the cold bottle of water and RUBS IT ON HER WRINKLED, LIVER-SPOTTED UPPER BREAST AND NECK AREA] "--cool off a bit, am I right?!"

ME: (Words cannot describe how angry I--)

HER: "Would you like a bag?"

At that point, I could've asked for a condom for the water bottle and it wouldn't have made a difference--it was one of the most disgusting things that's ever happened to me in a retail setting.


In addition to being the co-founder and CEO of Hunt to Read, D.J. Gelner is a writer in St. Louis Missouri. Check out his books, available at his Amazon Author Page and on Nook, iBooks, and Kobo. Follow him on twitter (@djgelner) or facebook (here). E-mail him directly at

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Calling All Writers

Are you a writer (or aspiring writer)?

Do you write science fiction or fantasy?

My good friend J.M. Ney-Grimm and I are putting together an anthology of short stories for release Spring 2014.

The writing prompt is "zoo." That doesn't mean that the story has to take place in a zoo, or that animals even have to be involved; it's really just a jumping-off point for getting your creative juices flowing.

J.M. and I thought this would be a great way to pool our collective resources, to get indie writers more exposure and publicity.

"Ha! Writing for 'exposure?' I've heard that one before!"

Actually, this time, it's true. We're plowing 100% of our sales in advertising the anthology, to a point--once we reach a certain threshold, profits will be divided equally among the authors.

Let's face it, advertising costs are too high nowadays for any one mid-list (or lower-list) indie (did I just create a new term? Sure, why not?) to roll the dice on by themselves, unless they like putting hundreds of dollars down on a single roll of the dice.

Some might--heck, everyone knows I've hit the blackjack tables from time-to-time in my younger years.

But now that my hairline is receding more quickly than the French army, it seems more sensible to pool the risk, to try to expose our audiences to similarly top-notch fiction, and then see what works in the goofy realm of book promotion.

That way, some of my readers can become your readers, and your readers can become our readers...

You get the idea.

The price of admission? One well-written short story that somehow hatches from the idea of a "zoo."

We might not be able to accept every story--at the moment, we're thinking 10-15 stories or so, but there's no set limit. If it fits, it fits. If not, it doesn't mean that your story is somehow "bad" or "wrong," just that it's not right for this particular anthology. If that's the case, we encourage you to submit it to other publications and/or indie publish it--by all means, prove us wrong!

Here's the relevant info to get you started:

Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy

Submission Deadline:
January 31, 2014

Word Count: No more than 9,000 words, please

Writing Prompt:
Zoo (as discussed above)

A little bit about J.M.-- J.M. writes wonderfully visual fantasy stories that dazzle the imagination with their vivid imagery, and tear at the heart with a touch of romance.

Still interested? We hope so--this should be a great chance to connect with some similarly-minded indies on this project and future endeavors. Email us at for more information.

J.M. and I look forward to hearing from you!


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