So I did route sign posting for today’s L.A. River Ride with my good friend Stephen yesterday and afterwards we met Susan for lunch  who was waiting for us at Blue Star and then after that we scooted over to bike around enjoying the West Adams House/Art tour. On our way home we stopped at a 7-11 local to us because I was craving a Coke Slurpee, and while we were there Susan picked up a half-gallon of milk.

Later on that evening after watching “It’s Complicated” (which would have been more appropriately titled “It’s Almost Embarrassingly Stupid”) and while washing up the dinner dishes, Susan cracked open the milk and took a quick chug and immediately rushed to the bathroom to spit it out.

How decomposed was the cow juice?

Pretty damn so: the “Best Used By” date read 05/19/2010. As in 2.5 weeks ago. How the fuck does that happen?

Susan, like me, is not in the habit of ignoring dates of foodstuffs that can go bad. But in this case she misread the 5 as a 6, which is a relatively easy thing to do.

Fortunately she suffered nothing more than psychological ill effects from the encounter and this morning I brought the carton back to the 7-11, where I set it on the counter and told the lady behind the cash register that I had purchased the milk yesterday afternoon, that it was rotten, and that I’d like to exchange it, preferably for a carton with a date that’s somewhere in the future.

“Do you have the receipt?” she asked.

I smiled because I had a feeling that question was coming.

“No, I was not given a receipt.”

And the lady shook her head while trying to find the least idiotic way to use that as a ridiculous reason why they couldn’t accord me my entirely reasonable request.

“Are you seriously about to tell me no?”

“I’m sorry,” she started, and I stopped her.

“Because if you do that, I’m going to pour this crap all over your store, then I’m going to file complaints with the police, the  city attorney’s office, Knudsen, the Better Business Bureau, 7-11 headquarters, and the California Milk Advisory Board!”

That last one just kinda snuck out… I’m not at all sure I would’ve contacted them or if they would’ve given a damn.

The lady quickly grabs the carton off the counter and looks at the date. She doesn’t say anything but her eyes go wide.

“May 19!?” I say.

Then she asks the next stupid question: “Do you remember who was at the register?”

That amazes me, because it implies she thinks I’m trying to rip them off.  That I’ve either bought this milk elsewhere — or worse, that I’ve actually held on to this carton of milk for 18 days.

“What does that have to do with anything?” I ask. Pointedly.

She just stares at me, waiting an answer.

“Male. Had a beard. Mumbled his speech.” That last part is true, it took three tries for me to get him to say the total clearly enough for me to give him the proper amount of cash.

So now she calls out to someone in whatever her native tongue is and in response a young man who was not the fellow I had described steps out from one of the aisles, crosses to her and the two engage in a conversation until the young man finally asks me in English  if all I want to do is exchange.

The look I give him is the equivalent of DUH!? “Yes, that’s all I want.”

And so he takes the carton from the lady, his eyes going wide also when he looks at the date. Then he sets it down and escorts me to the dairy section, pulling out a carton whose “Best Used By” date is 06/11/2010.

“Perfect!” I say.