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After a Fashion

Your Style Avatar strikes a blow against the empire of 23-cent-overcharging convenience stores

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, Fri., July 28, 2006

Former local fashion editor Sarah Lewis returns to Austin as the in-story stylist for Anthropologie.
Former local fashion editor Sarah Lewis returns to Austin as the in-story stylist for Anthropologie.
Photo By Todd V. Wolfson

NONBREEDER Among the many charming names I've been called in my life, I can now delightfully add "nonbreeder." A devoted reader took offense to my mention of an experience at Nuevo Leon where a couple let their large number of ill-behaved children run rampant, screaming and crawling under the tables of other diners. Addressing me as a nonbreeder (as if we were discussing livestock), Devoted Reader claims to work at a fine-dining establishment where the behavior of children like that is permitted. Sorry, DR, I have been to every fine dining establishment in this city, and there is not a single one that would allow children to run rampant … unless DR's definition of fine dining includes Taco Bell. As for being a nonbreeder, it's instances like the one at Nuevo Leon that make me proud of being that. Smug, even.

GREAT SERVICE? The spate of ads announcing the change of name from Diamond Shamrock to Valero promises the "same great service." I regularly stop at the Diamond Shamrock/Valero station on Cesar Chavez and Tillery and have indeed received great service on many occasions. But not on a recent visit. Picking up two 2-liter bottles of Diet Pepsi, which are advertised in several places in the store at two for $2, cashier Roger scans them and they come up at $2.22 plus tax, bringing them to $2.40. I questioned the total, pointing out the sign on the door, on the display rack, and at the register, which said they were two for $2. Roger looks at me blankly saying, "That's not what they're ringing up at." "But, Roger," I said, "You know that's not the correct price." He said he knew that, but that's what they were ringing up at, and there was nothing he could do about it. "Nothing, Roger? Is it all right with you to knowingly overcharge your customers?" He got snippy with me and said, "Do you want them or not?" "Well, yes, Roger, I do want them – that's why I came here – but I want them at the advertised price." He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Then I can't help you." I asked for the manager, but there was not one on premises. Roger offered me the manager's phone number, which I then called from my cell phone. The manager, Mario, answered, and I explained the situation. He was very polite and understanding and remarked that the products were indeed two for $2. He said they should be totaling $2 plus 17 cents tax. I agreed, and he asked to speak to Roger, apparently telling Roger to override the price and enter the correct one. I took the phone back and thanked Mario. Then Roger rang the products up at $2.17 plus tax, totaling $2.35. "Um. Roger?" I queried. "Do you think that this is now the correct price?" "That's what the manager told me to ring them up as. So it's $2.17 plus tax. $2.17 is the subtotal." "Roger, the bottles are two for $2. With tax they come to $2.17. Not $2.17 plus tax. Do you understand that tax is 8.25% in Texas?" "We don't add the taxes ourselves," he said. "The computer does it for us." I was exasperated with his stupidity, not to mention that in the line behind me the beer-buyers were getting huffy. I calmly stated, "Let's do some simple math, Roger. If these products are two for $2, the subtotal is $2. When 8.25% tax is added, the total is $2.17." Roger sighed heavily, and, as if just to get rid of me, he relented to enter $2, and the total came up correctly to be $2.17. I paid and left. A small savings, to be sure, but a victory on principle alone. When we are paying a fortune to fill up our gas tanks, and the oil companies are crowing over record profits, I'll be damned if I'm going to give them a single cent more.

HIPPEST? A press release from Yellow Tape Construction Co. says that "as part of our quest to be the hippest theatre company on the planet, Yellow Tape has taken the first step into the fashion industry" by announcing a new weekly column, "Fashion Fridays," by their frequent costume designer Kendra Williams. I don't know Ms. Williams' work, but surely a theatre company trying to be the hippest theatre company on the planet can find a more original name than Fashion Fridays. Radio DJ Miss Kitty and I used that name for a very lengthy period when she was the hostess with the mostest on the late-lamented Mega 93.3FM. It was a name later co-opted by News 8's former fashion reporter Cheryl Bishop, and, currently, Mix 94.7FM, in association with Tribeza magazine, has its own Fashion Fridays. Hopefully the fashion that Ms. Williams covers will be more original, but see for yourself at www.yellowtapecc.blogspot.com/2006/07/fashion-friday-rock-my-frock_14.html.

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