My father, Big Julie by name, was an electrician by profession, but a gambler and a poet in his heart of hearts. Big Julie’s game of choice? Dice. Now, I too, amid the coronavirus pandemic, am a gambler. My game, not by choice, is Game of Carts. Yes, I play the Amazon delivery system, hitting my computer’s “refresh” button 10, 11, 12 times a day, hoping to hit a jackpot and score a delivery time that day … any day!
And I’m not alone. Indeed, though the massively popular HBO series Game of Thrones has ended, millions of stuck-at-home Americans are transfixed by Game of Carts, our nation’s latest can’t be missed fad.
It’s attracting players of virtually all ages. Hungry and bored sheltering-at-home Boomers, Gens X, Y, and Z are all spending hours each day filling up their Amazon shopping e-carts with groceries, grooming products, and goo gahs, only to have their cooking hopes and daily dreams crushed by the sudden e-notices that this or that product is “unavailable” or won’t be delivered mid-summer.
More maddening than that, we cannot find available delivery slots for our groceries … today … tonight … tomorrow … the day after … the day after that or …
Game of Carts
Yes, it’s online grocery shopping hell. But still, we’re addicted. Some of us have no choice. We’re the ones with the dubious distinction of being part of the “in-crowd, the “at-risk” oldsters or those with pre-existing respiratory conditions crowd in this Coronavirus Era.
We may not have been big online shoppers before COVID-19 struck. (I know I wasn’t.) We may not be super-tech savvy. (I’m definitely wasn’t.) But, as I said, it’s shop online successfully or brave the crowded unsafe markets!
So, like Nicely-Nicely Johnson, played by Stubby Kaye, in the musical Guys and Dolls wagering on the big race, I’ve got my own “system” for when I think the chances are best for scoring a delivery window from Amazon.
And, sorry, like any superstitious gambler, I won’t share my system with you for fear of jinxing it!
Big Julie and Me
This, I will tell you. When I win, oh, how happy I am. I’m just like my father when he hit it big at craps (dice). My face gets flushed and I’m very generous.
When Big Julie won, waiters in fancy restaurants got big tips — in casino chips, of course. My mother got fancy new bling from the casino jewelry shop, located “conveniently” just a few steps from the cashier’s window, where winnings were converted from chips to cash. (It was also where much more frequently cash and dreams were converted to chips and debt.)
When I score big, my winnings come in the form of organic produce and vegan pizza. No bling. But still, there’s still a rush of excitement. I pass around the M & Ms and mini Snickers bars like there’s no tomorrow. And, man, oh, man, if I manage to procure toilet paper or paper towels … Well, I am a God among online shoppers.
High Stakes Toilet Paper Play
And speaking of procuring toilet paper. To succeed, you truly do need both the speed and steady nerves of a seasoned gambler.
First, once it becomes clear that toilet paper is available, you must act fast. You not only put it in your cart, but you need to order enough items to qualify for free delivery. Failure to do so, qualifies you as a “mark,” a “chump.” You don’t want that. So, helter-skelter, you’ve got to start shopping and throwing items into your e-cart. Bonus points if they’re items you actually want to consume!
Then, you’ve got to lock in a delivery time BEFORE the TP or paper towel supply runs out. Otherwise, you’ve ordered a bunch of stuff you only have a marginal interest in. Cue the loser’s buzzer. You’ve been played! You’ve made a sucker’s bet. You’re out. You don’t qualify for the next round on Game of Carts. And just like that — you’re out of the running for the Nationals and the Championship Competition.
Game of Carts Championship
As I said, I’ve got gambler’s blood running through my veins. It’s early in the competition. We’re only on Week 5 of sheltering-in-place here in the SF Bay, but I’m confident. I’m a real contender and will make it all the way to the Finals. I’m gonna make Big Julie proud! So, see you on the Nationals … on Zoom.
Oh, my! Come to think of it. I’d much rather see you at the market or the mall or the museum or the manicure shop!
Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out my daily COVID Chronicles: A Sheltering-in-Place Journal. You can find it on the home page of my website.