The Grill

(Please note, because of the time that has passed since I wrote this article, it may no longer reflect my current views or the most accurate and complete information available on this subject.)

I have this problem with impulsiveness. On Sunday, Carrie and I were sitting in the park, soaking up some of the first real sun of the season, and we reflected on how nice it would be to grill out that night. Stating what I thought was a minor detail, I noted that we did not, in fact, possess a grill.

No problem! The Modern American Way dictates that even though it's 6 PM on a Sunday evening, one should still be able to go from soup to nuts, no grill in sight to happily grilling out, with just a few stops at your handy neighborhood megastore.

Cut to Lowe's Home Improvement, where the selection of grills and grill accessories were admirable. I had my eye on a pretty little number with 35,000 BTUs and a free tank of grill gas thrown in. My, those Lowe's folks are helpful.

But Carrie, in her infinite, irrefutable, indisputable wisdom, suggested that we hop over to Target to compare prices. Sure...we're in the neighborhood of a couple of megastores, why not. Cut to Target, where the selection of grills is much smaller, the outdoor section indoors, and the spirit of grilling on a Sunday afternoon (getting on evening) muted by less than fabulous customer service. So we decided to go back to Lowe's, but picked up a few el-cheapo Grill Accessories while we were there. It was our commitment to grilling that evening. We have Accessories. We can't stop now.

Cut to the Lowe's front door, where I stand with my hands cupped against the glass as the friendly customer service representative inside hangs up her friendly face and puts on the "we're closed, and no way no how are you coming in here to spend money" face.

Cut to Target, where we decided that the small selection of grills was actually just a sign of their dedication to premium choices. Why flood the market with cheap imitations when you can have a small, elite group of the Real Thing. With grill in tow, we head to the car to take care of that one last detail of finding grill gas on the way home.

Ladies and gentlemen, don't ever try to buy grill gas on a Sunday afternoon during one of the first nice, sunny weekends of the season. It's like trying to buy an American Flag in downtown Paris these days; they're out of stock, and not many people are interested in helping you find one.

1 gas stations. 2 gas stations. 3 gas stations. 4 gas stations. This is ridiculous. Oh no. Dare we? It could be our only hope. "Operator, please connect me to our local neighborhood Wal-Mart." "Wal-Mart, can I help you?" Carrie explains the situation. Thankfully, they say that they do have grill gas, and we just need to show up and go to the Outdoor section. I normally avoid Wal-Mart at all costs, but it's safe to say we were desperate, as the clock approached 8:30 PM and not a grilled dog, not a smoked burger, not a softened vegetable was in sight. Heh...wouldn't it be funny if we got to Wal-Mart and they didn't have any grill gas?

"Sir, we're all out of grill gas." "But, we just called, and they said you had some." "Well, sir, I didn't answer the phone. That person was in another part of the store, a whole other time zone probably. Those phone operators don't get out to Lawn and Garden much, especially since they cut back on the shuttle service from that part of the store." Oh. My. God.

When the gas station attendant at the next stop casually said "oh yeah we've got some, let me get it out for you", I seriously considered inviting him over to enjoy the ecstasy that his fine little "Gas-N-Slurp" or whatever it was called had brought us.

I didn't, but we got home with our gas, I put the grill together, and at the fine dining hour of 10:30 PM, we sat down to some deliciously grilled cuisine. I think the moral of the story is clear: as an American, you have a right to grill out, even if you have to shop at megastores that hurt the local economy by putting small businesses out of business, even if you have to endure hideously poor customer service that makes you want to yell, even if you have to use a tank of gas to buy a tank of gas. Let nothing come between you and the fulfillment of whatever home improvement project you might take on on a Sunday night. It's your right and obligation to follow through to the end, whatever the cost.

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