Sunday, September 21, 2008

BUS STORY # 100 (State Fair 2008)

My wife wants me to stop off at the State Fair and pick up a salsa maker. She knows the Rapid Ride goes right by the fair grounds on Central. I could easily stop off one night on my way home.

Normally, my wife would not be asking me to do this. She’d do it herself. She’d do it herself because she truly loves going to the State Fair, and she loves the tradition of buying one of the manual food processors there every year just like she did a decade ago after watching the demo.

My wife loves salsa. She watched the salesman make salsa with the processor, and when he was done, she stepped right up and bought one. When she got it home, it lived up to its demonstration. By the time the next State Fair rolled around, we’d dulled the blades making salsa and chopping onions. She’s bought a new one every year since.

But she’s out of town this State Fair season, so she’s asked me to go get one for her. I have suggested maybe we could find one elsewhere – Target, Now We’re Cooking, Sears. She’s looked. They’re not the same, she tells me. I consider shopping on line. She considers that would mean not getting it at the fair. There’s no arguing with that logic. So I keep to myself the observation that the State Fair admission price will effectively add $9.00 to the cost of the processor.

I decide to go early Saturday morning rather than after work. I check the ABQ RIDE website to see if the Park and Ride is the way to go. It isn’t. It costs $4.00 round trip.

But I can take the Lomas bus using my bus pass, and there’s a bonus for doing so. The last sentence on the page reads: Passengers who use regular ABQ RIDE fixed routes to the Fair can get $1.00 off regular Fair admission by presenting a transfer at the gate. Well, all right!

Saturday morning, I catch the Lomas bus. I ask the driver for a transfer.

“You don’t need a transfer. Just show the driver your pass like you just did with me.”

“Ah,” I reply, “but the ABQ RIDE website says if I take one of the fixed routes to the fair, I can present a transfer slip at the gate and get a dollar off my admission.”

“All you have to do is show them your pass. I can’t give out transfers to riders with bus passes.”

My gut tells me showing my pass isn't going to work, but I can see arguing the point isn't going to work, either. I get off at Lomas and San Pedro and walk south to the San Pedro entrance. I wait my turn in line, then show them my bus pass and ask for my dollar discount. The woman doesn’t know what I’m talking about. I explain about the transfer ticket and the driver. She says just a minute and goes into another room.

I know how this is gonna end, but while she’s gone, I see a sign that says seniors get a discounted admission ticket for $5.00. Well, all right! I pull out my driver’s license and exchange my ten for a five. When she comes back, she says nobody knows anything about any bus pass discount. I give her my driver’s license and my five, and she gives me a ticket, and a buck, back. My ticket says “$4.00.” I’m thinking how cool it is she gave me the bus pass discount after all – and on top of the senior discount. That evening, a friend tells me the governor has reduced State Fair admission prices across the board by a dollar.

I go to Expo Hall and find the demo booth where I catch two salesmen taking a break between demos. I see the processor disassembled on the display counter. It’s ours, all right. I walk up and ask for one. They’re taken aback. Had I seen the demo earlier? "Yes," I answer, not bothering to explain it was a few years ago. I whip out my credit card, they run the charge, and my mission is now accomplished.

On the bus home, I look at the box. It’s a Gourmet Quick Chopper 2000 “As seen on TV.” We will never, ever refer to it as “the Quick Chopper.” It will always be “the salsa maker.”

Later, I google Quick Chopper and get 139,000 results. Same price as at the State Fair, minus the tax. I figure my bus pass and senior discount probably cancel out shipping charges.

That evening I call my wife. “Did you get the salsa maker?” she asks me. I tell her I did. “You went to the fair?” “Yes,” I tell her. “Oh, good. What else did you do?” I tell her I stopped by the Moriarty sweet corn stand for a roasted ear, watched the slingshot ride, and finished at the Asbury Café with some homemade apple-raisin-nut pie. She’s pleased. I don’t tell her about the bus. I’m saving that for Bus Stories.

I’m also saving the tomatoes and tomatillos and jalapeños from the garden for when she gets home and unpacks the salsa maker. It’ll be a hot time in the old town that night.

Thanks to Paul Ingles for this week’s This Week In feature: an NPR story about the selling of, among other things, the Quick Chopper 2000 at the 2002 New Mexico State Fair.


Blogger JM said...

Is there a link for this week's This Week In feature?

7:38 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

jm, I hope you're seeing it in the column on the right-hand side of the story itself, under Links. This particular link should be directly to the right of the title.

9:04 PM  

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