Days Rated: 182
Average Day: 1.26
Today I made several trips to the worthless Alaskan PX to purchase things I’d need for my trip to Iraq. I borrowed Clemmer’s truck. That is always interesting because when I get to my destination, someone always stops me in the parking lot and says something like:
“Excuse me sir, did you know that your muffler/tire/engine fell off as you pulled into the parking lot?”
Or if it is nighttime, they are angry that I was driving without my lights on. That is not my fault, the lights were on when I started driving. They just turn off every few miles like they’re possessed. More about Clemmer’s truck. I know I shouldn’t make fun of Clemmer’s truck when I don’t have a vehicle of my own.
The PX in Alaska always runs out of things like Gatorade, socks or stupid patches/ribbons that you need for your uniform. Come to think about it, it’s not really the PX’s fault. It is the fault of the chain of command who decides that everybody MUST have the Meritorious Unit Patch with Valor Star on their uniform by Friday, without realizing that the rickety PX has like 3 of them and there are 500 dudes in the battalion. Or they run out of socks because everyone is going to Ranger School. Or powdered Gatorade because they make us go out into the field for 3 weeks. In these last two cases the PX will be picked clean of not only what you want, but also any
substitutes that are even remotely close. For example, you want powdered Gatorade, and the PX is also out of powdered Kool-Aid, bottled Gatorade, bottled water, juice boxes, Powerbars, Slim Jims, and Camelbaks.
Still, the PX in Alaska is infinitely better than the PX at Ft. Bragg. The PXs at Ft. Bragg are poop. Alaska at least has this excuse: It’s Alaska. Forty years ago, Anchorage was a collection of mud huts and people routinely starved to death trying to get here. Brown lettuce? No attractive women? PX doesn’t have the latest video games? It’s Alaska. Fort Bragg on the other hand has been a military base since 1663, and has about 25,000 active duty troops stationed there. One of the things that always amazed me is how the Fort Bragg PXs would run
out of stuff like razors. Razors are a non-perishable commodity. Not only that, but there will always be a demand for them, since we are all required to shave every morning. They also don’t take up a huge amount of room in the back. It would seem to me that you could have boxes and boxes of razors in the back room just in case the Gillette truck crashed or something. But no. I can’t count how many times I was forced to choose between a pink lady’s leg-shaving razor, or borrowing an electric razor from my friend. They also have a problem with chewing tobacco. I think that stuff is nasty, but there are 3 types of people who dip. Baseball players, hillbillies and military folk. I remember my pal telling me that you had to buy your dip/chew/whatever on a Tuesday, because all the stores would be out by that evening. That includes gas stations and other local suppliers, not just the PX. Have they ever thought of ordering more? I hate Fayetteville.
Going to the PX before you go out in the field or PCS or get deployed is like a trip to Walmart. I go to Walmart intending to buy something like an extension cord. Whoa! Five dollar movie bin! After a half hour of digging, I have 7 new DVDs. Holy crap! Oh yeah, I need a hammer. What’s this? A nail gun? Well, you never know when you’re going to need a nail gun. And not just any nail gun. They’ll typically have six different sizes of nail gun, ranging from the tiny pink travel model that is basically a stapler, all the way up to the one that looks like a weapon from Aliens, that you basically wear like a backpack, and can use to shoot down low-flying planes. Guess which one I get? Three hundred dollars of junk later, I’m trying to fit all this stuff in the trunk of my car and I realize that I never bought an extension cord.
When I go to the PX normally, we browse around for an hour or so, and I walk out with a soda or something. When I went today, I came out with bags and bags of various flashlights, ammo pouches, knives, uniform items and various trash.