It was time to take a break from blogging about the redesign efforts that have been ongoing here. So here is a story for you.
She insulted my manhood and said that if she had a gun she would shoot me. I told the clerk to call 911 and asked them to bring the manager over.Â When he didn’t move I calmly repeated my request and told him that I didn’t want any trouble. She looked at him and said that if he picked up the phone she would kick his ass.
Hindsight is 20-20 but that was probably the moment I should have walked away. There are lots of other grocery stores to choose from and a smarter man than I would have found one. But I didn’t take her threats seriously so I stood there calmly and proceeded to scan my items, taking care to place them in the bags in the bagging area.
Did I mention that grocery stores are the source of one of the great mysteries of life.Â I want to know why they bother to set up 27 checkout stands but only have two or three of them manned by a cashier. I suppose that the growing number of self checkout stands proves that the stores have finally realized the folly of providing so many unmanned registers.
Who knows. What I do know is that that the problem started when she told me that the sign said that the line was for 12 items or less.Â She told me to get out of line or put something back. I smiled and said that I would be just a moment longer. “No, you put something back now or get out of line!”
I nodded my head and kept scanning my groceries.
“You selfish asshole, get the fuck out of line. You have too many things!”
Had she been a man I probably would have responded differently, but she wasn’t physically threatening to me. A medium size woman in a pair of flip-flops and a blue sundress. What reason did I have to worry. I was substantially bigger than her and certain that in less than two minutes I would finish checking out and be on my way to the car.
That would have been how it went except that the universe has a funny sense of humor and decided life would be far more interesting if it caused the machine to stop working.Â She told me to “stop fucking ignoring her” and I turned my head.
“Relax, I don’t respond to hysterical bitches who can’t count.”
If I told you that I wasn’t trying to irritate her you would accuse me of lying and I would say that you were right. Â Experience has taught me that the combination of “relax and hysterical” will have the opposite effect.
I like to describe moments like that as having occurred because my “brain slipped into neutral.” The motor is running but we’re not going anywhere. Correction, we’re going somewhere and we’re moving quickly. Â We’re heading towards a cliff at a million miles per hour. The question is are we running there as The Road Runner or are we Wile E. Coyote.
And Then Things Took A Turn
When the scanner didn’t pick up my items I looked up and called the clerk over to help. It was the same kid who had ignored my requests to call 911 but this time he responded. “I don’t know how to fix this, let me find my manager.”
Somewhere in the back of my mind I could hear Robbie the Robot yelling Danger “Will Robinson!” but I am not Dr. Smith or that damn coyote so I stood there and waited for the manager.
Short, dumb and stupid screamed at me and then promised that her boyfriend would kick my ass. “I think you left your boyfriend in the produce section.” I couldn’t help but laugh at that line but I did note that instead of screaming at me she was screaming into her cellphone.
The guy that walked in the store wasn’t exceptionally tall but he was wide and heavily muscled. He must have been sitting in the car or maybe Scotty beamed him down because seconds after short, dumb and stupid finished screaming she gleefully announced that her boyfriend was going to “kill me.”
As he lumbered over I took a hard look at him and tried to decide if the better course of valor would be to exit stage right. And maybe I would have walked away. Â In a different time and a different place I might have chosen to handle things differently, but today was not that day.
No, today was the day that the guy next to me had a large salami in his basket. I looked up at the ceiling, thanked god and then took my impromptu Hebrew National hammer and walked towards the boyfriend.
Oh No You Didn’t
Oh yes I did. I took that salami and I told him to step back, turn around and leave the store. He sneered and kept advancing. I looked at the crowd and announced that I didn’t want trouble.
“Too late asshole, I am here.”
He probably should be grateful that I didn’t have a frozen leg of lamb because I didn’t hesitate to meet his charge. As he ran towards me I gracefully stepped to the side and smacked him in the back of the head with my salami. It wasn’t hard enough to knock him or slow him down which is why I found myself wrapped in a bear hug.
My friends, let me assure you that the last thing you ever want to emulate his technique. A bear hug is no match for an angry man with a salami. For I took said salami and proceeded to beat him silly with it. Fortunately I was smart enough not to hit the two cops who came ostensibly to break up the fight.
The same two cops who gave me the gift of silver bracelets that I wore behind my back. The same two cops who couldn’t stop laughing about the guy who got his ass kicked by a man with a salami. Something tells me that this story is going to become a station house legend.
Even so, it really wasn’t worth getting arrested.