A Glove Compartment Full of American Cheese Food

2019 December 26
by mockers

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, I was working as a sort of secretary for the City of Independence, Missouri’s Health Department. I have since learned that a few years later they shut down that Health Department, and quite possibly the City of Independence, Missouri. An inspector that I loved named Amanda’s little brother must not have had any friends, as he was basically calling phone numbers that he knew and telling whoever answered that some idiot small-engine pilot had crashed into the World Trade Center. He stumbled upon my number, told me the news, and seemed disappointed by my, “Yup, that’ll happen. Do you have a Health Department-related issue?” response.

Of course, as the day unfolded, the tragic truth revealed itself. I went through the day in a stupor. Everything seemed surreal. As I drove home at the end of the day, I thought about the world that I was bringing a child into. My wife was pretty pregnant by now. The boy would be born that coming January. I concluded that the world was, and has always been, fucked up…it was way past our turn to host some of it here in the states.

I wondered if our upcoming flight to Chicago would be cancelled. It wasn’t. On one of the first days that planes started flying again, my beautiful wife and her giant pregnant ass and I were quietly and patriotically complying with scared-shitless airport security at O’Hare.

I took a right on to the main thoroughfare and was snapped back into reality as I nearly rear-ended the last of what appeared to be three million cars stopped in the right lane…waiting to get gas at the station that was barely visible on the horizon. I swear I wasn’t a douchey know-it-all about this like I am about everything else. I just simply knew what was going on. I signaled, got in the left lane, ignored the whole thing, and continued the trek home. I shook my head in sadness as I drove past the gas station. The sign had been advertising gas at $1.40 per gallon that morning on the way to work. It was now $5.19. This was an increase of about 371%. And it wasn’t just Independence, Missouri. This was happening all over the country.

I got home and immediately grabbed my wife. As we often did during important times, we just laid in the bed and talked. At the end of the discussion, we made two principal conclusions: first, that what happened, while awful in every sense of the word, was one of the “costs” associated with “beating the communists at any cost”…we did it to ourselves; and, we could never repeat that fact to anyone.

The world changed a lot as a result of that day. Dozens of thousands of lives were lost, trillions of dollars spent, a billion academic papers were now required to house the phrase “post-9-11 America” … And the price gougers? Those bastards got what was coming to them. In jurisdictions where anti-gouging legislation was on the books, they threw those books at them. Jurisdictions who didn’t have anti-gouging legislation quickly passed anti-gouging legislation. Many gougers were sued. Many of those settled. Some faced criminal fraud charges. Regardless of the remedy, nearly everyone agreed that it was despicable to profit off an emergency in which so many Americans perished.

The world has changed a lot since those days too. I am now living in Michigan for some reason. My wife remains beautiful, but she now claims the title of “ex-wife #1”. The boy was born into this crazy post-9-11 America…and conjured a little sister about twenty months later. Despite considerable obstacles, both kids grew up to be happy, intelligent, decent almost-adult humans. I hate my job, a lot, but it pays a bill or two…but on the whole, life is pretty okay. There’s certainly not a gouger in sight…’cause fuck those guys.

So today after a long day of doing stupid shit for people I hate in exchange for not enough money, I decided to swing through Burger King and grab two Whoppers with cheese. You see, I have grown up to be quite the fat fuck and Burger King has been advertising two premium sandwiches for six dollars and that totally sounded amazing. Quick aside – next time that commercial comes on tv, turn it way up and listen to the bass line…it is in a totally different key and has nothing to do with the song…I have no idea why.

So I get to this ruralish BK that’s about an hour from my house and order the two premium sandwiches for $6 deal. The eight-year-old girl on the other side of the sign says, “That’ll be $7.63, please pull around to the second window…”

“That can’t possibly be right…” I mutter to myself. I used to recommend the annual sales tax rate back when I was a city administrator. An average sales tax in the Kansas City metro back in those days was around 8%. $1.63 tax on a $6 dinner? That’s around 27%! Could the rate have more than tripled since I left that world?! Is Michigan that shitty?

The answers are no, sales tax rates have not increased exponentially by a factor greater than three within the last decade. And yes, Michigan is that shitty, but for totally unrelated reasons. As you can see, Gavin only charged me $0.43 tax on a total of $7.20 – a very respectable tax rate of 6%. Now you maize and blue cocks need to immediately raise it an additional 4%, fix the goddamn roads and use the rest to mail Bob Seger far, far away…you stupid fucks.

So why was my two premium sandwiches for $6 deal really $7.20? Cheese. Motherfuckers charged me $.60 per slice for pasteurized processed American cheese food. An old anger I hadn’t felt since Independence, Missouri started to bubble up inside of me…and it wasn’t the notion that my wife and I were the only ones in town who weren’t Mormons, on meth, or both. I was being gouged.

Is obesity not an epidemic of emergency proportions? Are these assholes not profiting from the country’s loss? Never mind the fact BK’s “cheese” is purchased in bulk via exclusive agreements that make the cost per slice close to nothing…I present to you, dear reader, a “most expensive” scenario:

brand name, individually wrapped, small-unit packaged product purchased from Target is $3.29 for 16 slices. That’s $0.20.5 per slice! $0.60 is a 293% markup!! In a most-expensive scenario!!! Call your state’s Attorney General! It’s time to fight these price-gouging bastards!!!

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