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Change comes when you least expect it

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If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 6,932 times. Nothing in life lasts forever. I mean, there are likely a few exceptions.

And that’s because I generally don’t believe in absolutes.

Change is inevitable and typically comes when you least expect it. For example: There is a merchant on my work commute that’s been offering a 20-ounce coffee for 75 cents.

Much to my penny-pinching delight, I finally found an item that costs less than a copy of your hometown newspaper.

So the past few weeks, I’ve been knocking out cup after cup of that energizing bean juice. It’s cheap. And tasty.

I’m an old man now. Energy doesn’t come as naturally anymore. Caffeine is the most legal way I’ve found of supplementing that.

Regarding the purchase itself, I’ve become embarrassingly cocky about the transaction. My maneuvers are so orchestrated, Doja Cat should be adding them to her dance routines.

First, I confidently grab the empty 20-ounce cup. Add a bit of ice at the bottom. Followed by 90 percent house blend and topped off with the hazelnut-flavored coffee variety.

Then I march to the counter, jingling three quarters in my right hand. Before the cashier can announce the absurdly low 75-cent price, I’m already sliding the three coins across the counter with a wink and a quick head nod.

And then I strut towards the door, my hand aloft, desperately ready to high-five all the customers who are no doubt impressed by the whole routine. Like a boss.

(Full disclosure: No one has taken me up on the high-five offer yet, and I’m certain I hold the Guinness World Record under the sad category of Most Consecutive Times Left Hanging.)

Other than the void of congratulatory hand slapping, times were good. The caffeine was flowing, and my confidence (and energy) were sky high.

Until, like all things, the end arrived. Abruptly.

Yes, it all came crashing down around me Monday morning when I waltzed into the gas station for my morning fix. Cup grabbed, ice dumped, 90 percent, hazelnut top off, strut to counter, head nod, wink, slide coins, grab coffee, walk out …

“Sir.”

My head swiveled as I looked around, awaiting what had to be my high five at long last.

“Sir!”

It was then I realized everyone in the store was staring. And not in admiration.

 “Sir, that will be $1.50,” the cashier said. I could see the satisfying delivery of my comeuppance spreading across her face.

“The sale is over. It’s full price now,” she said.

Turns out, my beloved 75-cent coffee was one of those “limited time only” arrangements.

The return to regular price meant I had to sulk back to my vehicle and retrieve a dollar bill, lest I get arrested for shoplifting.

I returned with my dollar, but the cashier had already tossed my coffee in the trash, thinking I wasn’t coming back.

Full of self-pity, I poured my coffee once again – with far less fanfare than ever before. I reluctantly paid the $1.50 and dragged myself towards the door.

And just like that, the Great Coffee Bargain Event of 2021 ended.

Like I said, nothing lasts forever.

Which must mean one very important thing: In a gas station, somewhere in the future, I’ll finally get that long-awaited high-five.

JT Strasner is publisher of Phillips Media. Contact him at jays@phillipsmedia.com.

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