Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 1

I ran by Walgreens today to pick up a couple of things and check out the Halloween clearance sale.  There was a woman in the Halloween aisle who seemed quite flustered.   She was probably mid-50s, nicely dressed, and spoke with that “Old South” drawl that generally ignores the letter “r.”  She was talking to herself as she rummaged through the shelves, not a crazy kind of talking to herself, just the kind many of us do when we’re on a mission.  I watched her for a few moments, mostly because she was blocking the aisle and I had nothing else to do.  Finally she brushed past me and walked off to another part of the store.  I grabbed a Reese’s pumpkin and a Dora coloring book that were on clearance and walked toward the back of the store to finish my shopping.  As I made my way down the main thoroughfare in the middle of the store, the woman hustled around a corner, followed by one of the WAGS employees. 

“Now I need you to come back heah and help me find those decorations.  They wuh heah yestah-day, and I want them now that they ah half price.” 
I could tell the employee was already worn out by the woman.  I gave her a small smile and shook my head.  She sighed. 
A couple of minutes later, I decided to go back and grab another Halloween item I’d been debating.  The woman was still looking for her decorations.  She now had not one but TWO employees at her service—the first I saw with her and a second young lady.
“I just don’t undah-stand wheah they went.  They wuh heah yestah-day.”
The newest “assistant” attempted to reason with her.
“Ma’am, we had a lot of people come in here yesterday evening at the last minute.  And we’ve had a lot of people shopping today.  Maybe someone bought them”
“Well, you had quite a few of them.  Shuhly they ah not all gone.”
“It’s very possible, ma’am.”
“This is just ridiculous.  Would the other Walgreens still have them?”
“I’m not sure, ma’am.  It’s possible.  Sometimes our stock is a little different, though.”
“Different?  That doesn’t even make sense.  Ahn’t you both Walgreens?”
By now, the original employee had walked away, quite possibly afraid that she would be permanently affected by the insanity.  The second employee had little choice but to stick it out.
“Would you like me to call and see if they have it?  They could hold it for you.”
“Finally, a good idea.  Yes, call them.”
“Could you tell me exactly what it is you are looking for, ma’am?”
“Those things that go on tables.”
“Which things specifically?”
“The little decorations.  They had pumpkins on them.”
“Can you tell me anything else about them?”
“How is that not specific enough, young lady?”
At this point, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to laugh or club the old bat in the head so that the poor girl could escape.  I wanted to stick around and listen but half feared that a black hole of absurdity was about to open and swallow us all.  So instead of remaining a spectator, I pushed my cart to the front of the store and checked out, thankful that my source of income isn’t dependant on my dealing with crazy old women on a mission to find random decorations the day after Halloween.  I taught high school for almost ten years, so I’m used to my fair share of nuttiness, but my hat goes off to anyone in retail who can deal with that kind of bizzaro behavior on a daily basis and maintain any semblance of sanity.

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