There is something quite addictive about the customer appreciation programmes that takes place n July. Over the years, the way in which the outlets have shown their 'appreciation' has changed, but our addiction to taking part has not! We have to take part, and all else is put on hold!
As we were fast approaching the eleventh day of the month, my daughter was checking the item of 'appreciation' for the convenience store that shares its name with a date, to wit, 7-11. In England, of course, this would be the seventh day of November, but out in the 'good ol' US of A', it denotes the eleventh day of July. This year it clashed with another appreciation day; that of the 'Eat mor Chikin' company Chick-Fil-A.
I was quite happy to opt out this year, as the temperatures were soaring around one hundred degrees, and a swim at lunchtime was preferable to driving for an hour, even if it did mean providing lunch for everyone! However, traditions are traditions, and there is a sense of accomplishment (although, as the French so aptly say, je ne sais quoi!) in taking part.
Monday came and went quite quickly, and I prepared fish tacos for dinner. My new favourite dish was served with black beans and a variety of salsas, with my latest find in fish, the Ono! Apparently, this is a close relative of the King Mackerel. Another name for the Ono is (wait for it) Wahoo! I have visions of a cartoon fisherman, hooking this little vertebrate, asking, "What have we here", and the fish replying, "You don't want me, you want my uncle, the King Mackerel!" Suffice it to say, Monday night, when asked what was for dinner, I simply threw my hands in the air, and shouted, "Wahoo!" When we had finished, and I was asked again, "What was the fish", I replied, in a calmer manner, "It was a nephew of the mackerel". The look of "Can you give me a straight answer", was followed by a straight answer. "It was Ono". My husband smiled and said, "Okay, I give up. It was good though!" Once I showed him the packet, displaying the name, he said, "I prefer the first answer!"
Without eating any fish, we did have a "Wahoo" sort of day on Tuesday! I was able to go swimming, and then take part in the 'giveaway' extravaganza! I took my car and filled her with petrol, as the price was at a reasonable low (apparently the lowest for many years) and then hopped across to the first stop, which was immediately opposite, and not by coincidence, the Costco garage. The temperature was almost 100 degrees, and Samantha was dressed in her rather thick, full length, cow costume. I had on a black and white dress, black and white shoes, and a black and white hat, with black and white pearls around my neck, hanging from which was a bell that was made out of salt dough, by my grandson. Although the latter was reportedly a Christmas decoration, it was an excellent embellishment for my ensemble, which bore the tag, "A Stella Moo-Cartney 2017 original". The women laughed; the men offered no more than a blank stare! Our first stop was filled with parents with children, all dressed in black and white of some form. As we entered, a customer shouted to the herd, "Here is the winner", and held up Samantha's hand! The employee behind the counter was not as impressed. "Bit over the top, but I like it", he said, in a very 'unworthy, unlike' fashion of the usual fast-food server for this establishment.
When we first took part in this extravaganza, the rule of thumb was that if you were in full costume, you received a full meal; sandwich, drink and fries. If you were in partial costume, or merely held up a picture of a cow, you were entitled to a sandwich (burger). Over the years, the rules changed, and everyone was given a full meal. Then last year there was the 'eat in only' option. However, Samantha's costume has always stirred the crowd, and the first year she received double meals, and last year she was given dispensation to 'take out'. This year the sandwich only was the appreciation give-away, and if you wanted to 'take out', then that was your prerogative. We maintained our prerogative, and took two sandwiches out to the car.
The next stop was 'Half-price Books', where Samantha wanted to purchase a copy of a book for her neighbour. Immediately opposite, and not by coincidence, was another chikin establishment! Dressed in the winter costume, Samantha managed to hike to the front door with her mother in tow! "Wow, that is the most amazing one yet!" was the correct answer! The manager was enthralled by the bovine beauty on two legs! She was quite impressed with the 'Stella Moo-Cartney 2017 original'. Two sandwiches were taken and a book was then purchased. It was now time to take part in the 7-11 appreciation fun!
Fortunately, there is a store not far from the office. I say fortunately, because even with air-conditioning, the 'icee' melts in the soaring heat that we were experiencing. Our first '7-11' appreciation day was a supply of coffee. As the 'appreciation' is now shown between 11am and 7pm (rather than 7am to 11pm), morning coffee has been purchased. Samantha had removed the cow costume, and was now in a much cooler attire of shorts and a t-shirt. I had removed the bell and label, but the rest of my outfit was in tact. We thanked the lady behind the counter for her appreciation and headed back to work.
After all were fed, I called my mother, taking the phone out to the front of the building. As I stood pacing, whilst talking, one of our neighbours exited the building. "Beautiful", she said, and thinking she was talking about the day, I nodded enthusiastically, and mouthed, "Yes". She smiled, a curious smile, and got into her car. I then replayed the audible memory, and realised that she had actually said, "You look beautiful". A simple "thank you" may have averted the curious smile! I felt a little silly and made a mental note to correct my appearance of vanity when next seeing her. I didn't see her all week!
Thursday morning arrived with the realisation that we were already over the half way mark for the week. I was quite shocked that it had passed so quickly. My mind had been working overtime regarding my up and coming trip to England, and whilst I had booked the flight a couple of months ago, I had not yet booked a car. The booking of the vehicle was simple, but to add insurance was a little more complicated. Since paying a price for insurance that would have bought me a whole car (albeit an old one) two years ago, I now purchase it when hiring the vehicle from a 'Global' company, that is connected to my credit card. It is simple, and much cheaper. However, the option was not given to me when I reserved the car. I opted for the 'online chat' programme, and started a conversation. "I have booked the car, but want to take out insurance, and cannot see the option", I typed. Having been asked for my booking reference, I obliged. In the meantime, I remembered the name of the insurance company, and brought up a web page to see if I could purchase the insurance directly. An option for 'online chat' was available, and I availed! "I cannot find your booking. What is your name", came back the print from the car company. "Yes, you will be covered in the UK", came back the print from the insurance company. "Okay, found it. I will see if I can get you a refund", came back the print from the car company. "Yes, fully comprehensive on the vehicle you are given", came back the print from the insurance company. "I don't want a refund. I want to add insurance", I told the Jane-Sue at the car company. "Thank you", I told Kevin at the insurance company. It was after I had purchased the insurance that I realised my mistake. Jane-Sue had assumed that I was purchasing the insurance from elsewhere, which would cover the 'third-party' automatically included by my credit card company, and assumed that 'take out insurance' meant to 'remove it' from the package. Thirteen years on, and I am still not speaking Murican! All ended well, however, and the appreciation was flowing from all!
It was announced, by the appreciation Queen, that Starbucks were giving away tea, between one and two on Friday! I didn't care! I just wanted to get the work done, and get home and enjoy my weekend! However, the pull was too much, and I was going to be appreciated one way or another! After swimming, we headed to the shop on our way to the office, and retrieved our plastic glasses, one of peach, and one of strawberry, tea! I had to take a letter to the post office, and immediately opposite, and not by coincidence, was another Starbucks! I am not such a great fan of the coffee sold by the chain, but their hot chocolate (at least in the New York City shops) is quite delicious. I did not feel as if I was taking advantage of the appreciation and this time took the pineapple variety of tea. After getting my 'registered letter' deposited with the clerk behind the desk at the post office, I returned to the car, and we headed back to the office with tea for all!
Appreciation was accepted at the weekend, when visiting Sam's and Costco, with the samples being plentiful, and I was also appreciated by Majic radio station, when I collected my birthday treat of a box of chocolate covered fruit from Edible Arrangements, with their compliments!
The 'Appreciation' days are fun! They are all part of the experience of living in Austin, and I feel that by constantly participating, I will never take my move here for granted. In a strange sort of way, it keeps it all new, and that stops life from becoming mundane. As the anthem states, we are in the 'Land of the Free and the home of the brave', and are free to enjoy all that is being offered! The title of this post is not meant to be flippant, but encompassing!
Rain stopped play as we were down by the pool on Saturday, and it poured for a few hours. That was appreciated too! Dana and I went out for dinner, earlier than usual, and returned to our condo where we enjoyed tea and ice-cream! I am unaware of any extra appreciation days next week. However, I am appreciative each week when I see the 'post stats' on this blog, and am most thankful to all who return, regularly, to read .......... another story!