Midnight Sanity, Morning Madness
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Fight at checkout:  8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. 4/2/2005

I went to check out with 4 gift cards.  Knowing that I would have to put money on the card in the first order, then use those cards on the second I put a divider between my two orders. 

The man in front of me was in his late 50’s or early 60’s, buying two Lava Vaders and some other SW swag, and he reaches over to take my gift cards.  I tell him those are mine, and the employee behind the counter offers to get him more.  He tells her to add them to that order with $5 on each of the two cards, and then he told her he wanted to use those cards on that purchase.  The computer did not like this so the front line manager, Richard or Stephen, can’t remember which, came over.  The manager explained it had to be two orders and that they would have to have him pay for the cards, then put the merchandise on a second order.  This would cost him nothing but a few minutes.  This makes the old man quite angry.  He starts screaming at Joanne, the checkout lady, “I just want to do whatever gets me out of here spending the least amount of money!” 

Now the old man goes over the line.  He puts his foot up on the cart portion of the woman’s counter in an aggressive manner and very angrily says “That guy is a front line manager.  He should be more clear.  I am going to complain about him and make sure he gets fired.”  The old man does this all quite loudly and aggressively.  I feel bad for Joann so I decide to try and calm the man down.  “Excuse me, sir,” I say very politely, “I understood the manager’s instructions quite clearly.  That’s why I have two orders.” 

The old man turns to me.  His hair is wild and so are his eyes.  His eyes were very bloodshot and, in all honesty, the man looked like something was not right with him.  “Well I don’t see what business it is of yours,” he says to me.  “Just shut up if you’re going to be so erudite about it.”  Actually he pronounced erudite like it was aerio-dyte, but whatever.

I persevere, “I’m just saying that there is no need to lose your temper with this lady, who is just trying to do her job.” 

This makes Crazy Old Man (COM) mad.  He turns his full gaze on me and says “You haven’t begun to see me lose my temper.”  It was a threat.

“So you’re going to yell at me now?” I ask, thankful for the cart between me and the man.  One, it provided distance.  Two, it was a weapon I could use to mow COM down.  Three, he’d have to leap over it to get to me, and it looked like he was thinking about it.

But instead he turns away from me.  “God damn Star Wars geeks buying toys,” he says.  

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