6th Contest Submission – Discount Tobacco

by Austen Humphrey
The place where I buy my cigarettes is one of my favorite stores in Bloomington, IN. It’s one of these discount tobacco stores aptly named Discount Tobacco. They carry some of the drugstore brand pipe tobaccos, cheap cigars, and cigarettes by the carton.

Why I love this store:

There is a very old lady at the counter. It’s like she has sat on the stool by the register since the beginning of time and the store was built around her.

I go in about once a week for my carton of Camel Lights – I refuse to call them Blues despite Camel’s rebranding of them – and sometimes to pick up a new corn cob, and every week it’s the same conversation. You see, I have two names. My name is C. Austen Humphrey, which is what my driver’s license says, but my name is also Charles A. Humphrey, which is what my credit card says. Each week she asks for my i.d., and I hand her my license. She looks at it and says, “Oh! My nephew’s name is Austin, but he spells it with an ‘i.'” I’m always polite and I smile really big and say, “It’s a great name no matter how you spell it!”

Then she goes to get my cigarettes and/or cob pipe. When she returns to the register, I hand her my credit card to pay with. She looks at the card for a minute and asks, “Who’s card is this?” I say, “It’s mine.” “I thought you were Austen?” “I am.” “Well, then who’s Charles?” “That’s me too,” I say. Then I have to go through the whole explanation of my name, she seems suspicious, but sells me the smokes anyway. I always leave shaking my head, smiling, and laughing to myself, because it’s the same conversation every single week.

God bless old ladies, some are sweet, some are crazy, this one happens to be both and that’s the reason I keep going back in. That has to be the reason, because for a place called Discount Tobacco, the tobacco isn’t any cheaper than the gas station across the street. Yes, God bless old ladies.

2 thoughts on “6th Contest Submission – Discount Tobacco

  1. Thanks for this, and for making the competition more fierce by entering at the streak of the bell! It’s possible this lady has early stage dementia, but she sure seems nice, and I would probably shop there too.

  2. Pingback: Vote For Your Favorite | Smoking Jacket Magazine

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