The Wolfpack Files

My Life in My Words

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Great Pepto Caper

Tonight marked the end of an era. I just finished my last bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Why is this a momentous occasion? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Since I moved back into New York in 2003, I've done almost all my big grocery shopping online. It's just easier that way since I don't like carrying 7 or 8 bags of groceries 5 or 6 blocks. For small stuff, I'll walk to the store, but when I want to buy a lot, I'll just get it online. You can order pretty much whatever you want, the prices are good, and they'll generally deliver it within 24 hours. And delivery only costs $4.95, so how can you beat that deal? So three years ago, I'm online buying my groceries and I'm looking for some kind of antacid. I was hoping for Pepcid, but the store I was using only had things like Maalox or Tums. And Pepto-Bismol.

I was never a huge fan of the pink stuff, only because I believed that pills worked better. But as I was looking over the options, I realized that the Pepto was on sale. For 25 cents. Yes, that's right, a normal sized bottle of Pepto was on sale of 25 cents. Normally that kind of size would sell for about $5. So I looked closer to make sure that I was looking at a regular sized bottle, and not some kind of promotional size where you'd get one sip and that was it. No, it was the regular size. I added one to my cart, figuring, OK, there's some kind of typo, but once it's in my cart, the right price will show up. I thought it was probably meant to be $2.50, which is still a good price. When I added it to the cart though, it was still 25 cents. So, I added 3 more. 4 bottles for a buck. Not a bad deal. I then continued shopping.

When I was done with everything, the total price wasn't all that high. And I kept thinking about the price of the Pepto. So I did what any reasonable person would do. I went back and added 15 more bottles. I now had 20 bottles of Pepto in my cart, all for a total of $5. Again, I didn't really believe I'd get 20 bottles of Pepto for $5. I presumed that once the transaction went through and someone on the other end looked at it, they'd realize the mistake and call me and tell me there was a pricing error. Or worst case, they'd just charge me normal price, and I'd have to argue with them on the phone. But, the next day as part of my order, I got an entire box of nothing but Pepto-Bismol.

It was rather glorious to look at. 20 bottles of pink liquid staring up at me from a cardboard box. I get the feeling that with this online shopping, a computer handles the money part of the order, and then prints out a slip that gets handed to one of the human workers, who then picks out the order, not really caring about prices. I can only imagine what my guy must have been thinking... 'Hmm, OK let's see here... a gallon of milk, some Frosted Flakes, 20 bottles of Pepto... Damn! This guy must choke down hot sauce like it's going out of season! 20 bottles of Pepto? I hope his heart doesn't get set on fire.' I took a quick look at the receipt I got and yes, it was still only 25 cents a bottle.

My first thought was, I should go out on the street and sell this for $5 a pop. I'll break even after the first bottle, and make pure profit on the rest. That idea lasted about 30 seconds because who in their right mind would buy Pepto from some guy on the street. Right? So I decided to keep all of them. And anytime someone would come over, I'd offer them a bottle. It was sort of like a parting gift. Thanks for stopping by, here's a bottle of Pepto for the road. Not everyone would take one of course, but I had one friend who took a couple of bottles just because he liked the taste. All in all, I think I gave out about 7-8 bottles. Which left 12-13 for me.

And tonight, 3 years later, I polished off the last of the bottles. It's actually a little sad. When I first saw that box of Pepto, I thought I'd never have to buy some ever again. Foolish dreams of a young man I suppose. Nothing lasts forever. However, tomorrow I am planning on buying some more groceries, so of course, I'm going to have to take a look and see if by random chance, they have something on sale at a ridiculous price, so I can once again cheat the system. And if I do, I'll make sure to let you all know, so you can stop by and pick some up for yourselves.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Before I start this new entry (first one in a month, I know!) I wanted you to know that I have updated my I Am A Marxist post with the correct dates AND a picture of the actual concert tickets...

They say that when you're an older sibling, your first memory generally has to do with your younger brother or sister. As it turns out, my first memory is the day my sister was brought home from the hospital. I still remember it; not as clear as day, but still pretty clearly. My grandmother was in the country visiting, mainly to take care of me. We were sitting at the dining table in our old apartment in Bloomfield. She was peeling an orange for me. And, as I think I've mentioned before, not just peeling it from the outer peel, but the inside as well, so all I was eating was pure orange. Suddenly, the door bursts open and my father walks in, carrying my sister. A few seconds later my mother walks in, her head covered. Why? Because it was raining out.

That rain had been something of contention between me and my mother for years. I firmly believed it was raining, and she believed it wasn't. This being my first memory, I'd kind of like to think that I knew what I was talking about, but she, for years, kept saying it wasn't raining. But how do you prove that it was raining on a particular day back in... well, for the sake of my sister, I won't provide the year, but let's just say, we're going back a while. So for most of my growing up years, every so often I'd just randomly bring up the fact that it was raining out the day she was brought home and my mother would say no, it wasn't.

So a few years back I was working in the PR department of a hospital. Some days there would be a lot of work to do and others... not so much. On one of these not-so-much days, the whole 'was it raining or not' discussion came into my head, and with the help of the internet, I thought I could prove it once and for all. But amazingly, rain records from that time are hard to come by. The afternoon adventure turned into a week. Every day I'd spend some time trying to figure out what search I could do to come up with the answer. Then, by chance, I happened upon a web site run by someone who said they kept weather charts for that time period. I sent off an email and continued my search. After a few more days, I gave up. I pride myself on being able to find just about anything, but I can only really find something if it's actually on the web.

A couple of months later I get this strange email in my inbox at work. I open it up and there is an email from this guy with the weather charts. And attached is a chart showing the rainfall in our town for the entire week. But there is a catch. It only rained one day that week. I printed out the chart and went home and asked my mother one, very important question. If my sister was born on the 6th, how many days did you spend in the hospital before coming home? My mother thought about it and said she spent three days in the hospital and came home on the 9th. I shouted 'ah ha!' and pulled out my chart. There, in black and white, was a chart that showed that the only day it rained that week in our old town was on the 9th.

I might have said something like 'in your face!' to my mother (in a nice way of course) but most importantly, she had been served with concrete evidence that my memory of the event was correct. And there was nothing she could do about it. The best part however, was the fact that from then on, anytime my mother and I got into an argument about something that happened in the past and we disagreed, I could always bring up the fact that her memory has been proven to be faulty. You know when you get into an argument with a parent, most of the time you, as the child, have to concede because it's just assumed they know more. But not any more. Granted, my mother is still right 99% of the time, but... that's not 100%.