Four tries: Brand new Speck's Liquor Store said, "Come back in a week." (The one man I saw.) They were stocking their shelves. On my way out a kind lady said, "Try HEB. The one across the street." Then she pointed in case I was addle pated. I thanked her.
HEB? "Yes, we have cigar boxes." Then the lady led me to their display cases. Thinking I'd hit the mother lode, I felt addle pated when she said, "We don't have any empty boxes." I counted four. Five if we included the one with only two cigars. I asked, "How much are these? I'll buy them just to get the box." That's when she hammered me with, "Oh, we don't get new boxes. Our cigars come from HEB warehouses in plastic bags. We put them in these boxes. Those cigars are $5.96."
"What? A piece?" Then I checked the prices on some of the others. Wow. The
cheapest least expensive brand was $3.96. I put it together. I still don't get why she implied there were empties . . . I clearly stated I wanted empty boxes for art projects. I thanked her most graciously, and I left.
Halfway across the parking lot I remembered a new Speck's near Fry and Clay. Why are these stores staffed with women? But I struck out again. I was cordially greeted from the moment I walked in though. I think the young woman who chatted me up was surprised to see me, another told me to "Try Speck's on FM 529 and Barker Cypress. They have lots." Keep in mind they're a good piece away from where we were, and home was a heck of a lot closer, but I was on a mission. I was looking for cigar boxes for The Girlfriend Bling Club Members. So, I was off.
This Speck's was once a Walgreen's. I was sad to see it go. This Speck's was dimly lighted. More unsmiling women. I don't understand why so many liquor stores are owned by Muslims, when the Koran teaches against its use. One man, a devout Muslim being interviewed after a recent liquor store robbery, told a newsman, "Well, I have to earn my living. This is America." I digress, but my grin lit it up when I heard, "Yes, we have lots of empty cigar boxes. They're over here." Poor thing. I almost tripped on her heels in my zeal. None of the women looked happy to be there. They stood, almost at attention--hands resting cupped atop the light blue counter. But, there, against a glass wall sat a table with a few empties. Neatly stacked.
The cigars were inside a small glass room. To keep out moisture?
Those boxes were waiting for me. "Um, do you have a box I can carry them in?" She waited until I said, "I'll take them" before she thought to mention they were for SALE, and "The wooden boxes are $1.25 a piece." Not a problem. I told her I'd take them. All. I said it a little bit louder, but I grinned. My emphasis was on "all." She put the cardboard cigar boxes inside this. Had to say "all" one more time.
As a graphic designer I give props to the artist who designed this. Tres cool, yes? Didn't know young people went for ale, but what do I know any more?
I almost want to taste it. But I won't. You get the impression it's brewed with orange peel, huh? No matter. I have three boxes for my girls. I need one more. Am trying for the same box, but will take what I can get next week when I go back. The idea is for their moms or nanas to help them decorate their boxes. Then they can keep their bling and their mail inside their creations. Nice project, huh?
Note to parents: The boxes must smell of tobacco since I sneeze when I open one, and my skin tingles. So does my top lip, and my sinuses protest. Here's what I do for such problems: Let the box air outside for a while. I'll pour some baking soda into a ramekin, place it inside the offender, close the lid, let it set for a few days, until it's good to go. You might want to line the inside just to be safer. If these tips don't work, simply toss the box.
Okay. Am off to silence again. Write on!
P.S. Have photos of the first Bling Girlfriend wearing her bling! Such a cute little thing! First box goes out to her tomorrow. Thanks, to gf's mom!