Frauline Alles-Uberal and I worked together almost all day, in Garden with freight and in Seasonal with Valentine plush. She kept making me laugh with her grumblings of frustration at how every time she turned around someone had messed with the plush, knocking them off the shelves, mainly the larger stuffed animals. (Those things are top-heavy anyway, hard to stock, and don’t need much help to fall over.) She started talking about getting a hammer and smackin’ shoppers. “Don’t touch it unless you’re going to buy it!” she wanted to say.
Well, I thought that was a bit extreme. I would choose a yard-long stick of split bamboo, which makes a lot more noise than pain. In fact, I can think of several other situations in which I would eagerly start smackin’ customers: Don’t leave that there—is that where you found it? Smack! Stop whining—everyone has to wait in line! Smack! Stop bothering me—can’t you see I’m working? Smack! Don’t leave your cart at the register! Smack smack!
My most aggravating example began right after my meal break. An elderly couple wanted a patio table, the rectangular version with a glass top. We had a white one on display, but as far as I could discover we only had the brown ones from last year, and they were up on the patio steel. I explained that to the woman, and she was fine with the color. I then told them that it would be a while before I could get it down, so if they had more shopping to do they should go ahead and I would have it ready when they came back. The woman agreed.
So with one of my favorite spotters, Bonnie Sod, helping me, I drove the forklift onto the patio, pulled the pallet of tables down from the top of the south steel, set the box on an Lcart, and put the pallet back up. Three hours later, when I left to clock out, the table was still there, on the Lcart behind register 73. I wanted to hunt them down for a good smacking: How dare you—smack—make me—smack—take it down—smack—and not buy it! Smack smack smack! (I found it still there the next morning, and that’s the first thing I did, put it back up.)
We also had two incidences of shoppers leaving their full carts behind, for whatever reason. (There is no excuse!) I discovered one loaded with plants and gardening tools pushed against the grill wall, but the other, down the Y8 aisle, had, along with heaps of paper products and boxed foods, several cartons of milk, and many packages of meat and frozen vegetables. Thank you for shopping at Exwork—and how about if you put everything back or at least let one of us know about it! For that person, I would choose a yard of un-split bamboo. Whack! Whack whack whack!
Think I’m unreasonable? Not at all. I’ve done it myself. Five and a half years ago, when my youngest grandsons were just getting into baseball, I went a little wild at Exwork and put in my cart a 33-inch wooden slugger, a small light-weight bat for the boys, four baseballs, two T-balls, a T-ball stand, a spring net for pitching practice, batting gloves, a baseball glove, good runners from the shoe department, and figured I’d also go to a sports store for a pair of cleats. Fortunately, I was in line behind three grocery shoppers (the shortest line I could find) and the first one was using WIC, so I had plenty of time to think about what I was buying and came to my senses. I had about ninety dollars’ worth of sporting equipment that I would probably use once or maybe twice. So I got out of line, retraced my steps, and put everything back. And I’ve done the same with boxed and canned goods when I discovered I had the wrong kinds. I haven’t yet decided against anything from the coolers or freezers, but if I did, I would track down or call for a worker to let them know. I do such things because I am civilized.
24 January 2021
Unrelated P.S. Last week Julie Maglio, editor of The Hernando Sun, called me to ask if I had meant to type Ellwood bowl, instead of Ellwood bowel. I don’t know if Ellwood makes wooden bowels, but they certainly do make wooden bowls, so I told her to remove the “e” and I thanked her very much for catching the mistake. I blame it on computer gremlins, but really it was my fault. It used to be, on my old computer, I could change the function of the F keys, and I turned F12 into my “save document” key. And I could bring up the computer’s dictionary in order to add or delete words. My current device will not let me do either. They are both HP and use Microsoft Word. Go figure. But if I could access the dictionary, the first thing I’d do is delete bowel, so that if I accidentally type it, it’ll be displayed with a red squiggly line.