The Ralph's grocery store near the UCSB campus is done up to look like a hacienda, complete with a red tile roof, glaringly white walls, and freshly planted palms. The guys dropped Lorenzo off in front. It was his bright idea, after all. He wandered past the organic produce section, trying to build up his courage. He passed an elderly lady examining eggplant - he was too embarrassed to ask her. Next, he saw a young woman in jeans shopping for shampoo.Link (Thanks, Greg!)
"Excuse me, madam," he began. He wasn't used to approaching women, let alone well-dressed white women. He saw apprehension flash across her face. Maybe she thought he was trying to sell magazines or candy bars, but he steeled himself. He explained that he was building a robot for an underwater contest, and it was leaking. He wanted to soak up the water with tampons but didn't know which ones to buy. "Could you help me buy the most best tampons?"
The woman broke into a big smile and led him to feminine hygiene. She handed him a box of O.B. ultra-absorbency. "These don't have an applicator, so they'll be easier to fit inside your robot," she said. He stared at the ground, mumbled his thanks, and headed quickly for the checkout.
"I hope you win," she called out, laughing.
Update: Greg points out that there's an online tipjar for donating to the kids' college fund
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.