Last Wednesday was my birthday, and because I have great friends, I had to stop at the store right after work to pick up some pop to go with my favorite food that Todd brought back to Kalamazoo with him. So I stopped in at the store right by the church and headed first to the candy aisle. If Todd’s bringing Cousin’s Tasty Chicken for us, I can at least get him some Red Vines. Right? Of course, right. As I’m standing there, I see store security come down the aisle with that scrutinizing look on her face. She was one of those ones that wears plainclothes and has absolutely no acting ability when it comes to acting casual. I recognized her from a bust she made a couple of months ago when I was at the store, so I started looking around for the perp. I see an old guy to my left who looked too kindly to be stealing, so I ruled him out. To my right was another unlikely suspect, but he was more likely than the old guy, so I thought maybe it was him. The old guy leaves with his hard candies, so in my mind, the other guy is now the confirmed suspect. Then he left, and I was the only one left, standing next to security. She was pretending to look for candy while standing alone in an aisle with me. Color me surprised, because I’m the suspicious one.
As I’m standing there scanning the shelves for the Red Vines, I’m getting impatient. They weren’t there, but I knew I had purchased them there before. Now I’m in a tough spot. There was an employee less than five feet away from me. Thoughts are running through my head. “Should I ask her about the candy? She should know. She works here. I bet people steal a lot of candy, so she should be familiar with what’s here. Will she get angry if I ask her? It would be the same as telling her that she’s not very good at her job.” I was so torn. I wanted the candy, but I didn’t want to aggravate security. Finally, I caved.
“Hey, do you guys still carry Red Vines here?” For my southern readers, our use of “you guys” is like your use of “y’all.”
“I asked if you guys still sold Red Vines here.”
“Oh, I think so. Did you check down here?”
“Yes, but I didn’t see them, but I thought maybe I missed something, because I’ve purchased them here before.”
“Hmm. I don’t see them. Did you check up by the register? I work here, and I’m sure we carry them.”
“Yeah, I know you work here. That’s why I figured I’d just ask you.”
“Check up by the register.”
I walked away from our conversation – one where she never made eye contact with me and seemed to continue pretending to be looking for her own candy – and grabbed some pop. After I had the pop we needed, I headed towards the registers. There, at the end of the aisle, was this security guard. She was holding a bag of Red Vines up to me. I smiled and thanked her, because that saved me from walking five aisles, and I like to conserve my energy. She told me that she was just about to have me paged, which is odd, because I’m not sure what she would have said. “Would the fat guy looking for Red Vines please come to the front of the store? We have a bag for you.”
It was the weirdest interaction with security a completely innocent man could have. I guess I’m glad that I still look young enough to be suspected for candy theft.
Happy Valentine’s Day!