Combini Battle! Osss!
So I’m at my local Family Mart today, looking for a little deep fried action. I head over to the drink cooler and grab myself a diet coke. At that moment, I see her out of the corner of my eye. There is a woman, making a motion towards the fried food area near the til. What am I going to do? The last time I was here, they were all out of tasty hot dogs and croquettes. The guy in front of me ordered up all of the meat stick awesomeness, leaving me holding the bag. I cannot fail this time. I need to act quickly. It’s me or her, and the artery clogging goodness is on the line.
I make a mad dash past the porno magazines and women’s underwear and cross over into the cup ramen aisle. But it’s no good. She is faster than I am. I need to think. Then, I am given the break of a lifetime. She hits the line, and ends up stuck in front of some older woman who decides today is the day to have all of her bills paid. Here is my chance. I go up behind her and wait patiently. I’m hoping the other clerk will see the line and hop on a til.
Bingo. She’s on her way.
In Canada, I would have let the person in front of me go on ahead to the open til. But Japan that would have been a very large tactical error. It’s a no-man’s land in the combini. Those who tell you that Japan is a land of polite and patient people never had to battle for fried goodness before.
Before the clerk has a chance to say, “Tsugi no kyakusama, douzo”, I leap over to the open til and claim my spot. I then immediately order the remaining hot dog and beef croquette. It’s mine! And just as I thought it might be, the lady then tries to order the same thing and denied. That last train to flavor country is boarding and I have the last ticket.
As I walk out the door, towards my car, I can feel her eyes burning into my back. She has been relegated to the wasteland of nikuman and oden snacks. She is not a happy camper.
So ends another chapter is the constant battle for delicious Japanese convenience store snacks. If only they’d just cook up a few more at dinner time. Then we wouldn’t be at each other’s passive-aggressive throat. Grrrrr!