Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ah, Sweet Justice!

The local Lowes home improvement store is going out of business and for many reasons this has impacted my life the past few weeks. Mostly, I am poorer, as each week the stock is further discounted and there are so many projects that need doing, it is almost impossible to pass up the great deals.

This of course puts me in a troubling frame of mind, to be one of the multitude flocking to a dying carcass, grabbing tile and lumber and bathroom sinks as the eighty folks who are going to be jobless soon are forced to help me, along with all the other price-vultures. Being a small community, I know some of the people working at Lowes, or spouses of workers. I like the people there and have done all my shopping at Lowes in the past couple years, especially since moving closer to the store when I moved in with my future wife.

Yesterday, everything in the store was 50% off. As you might imagine, folks, there was hardly room inside the store to move around, let alone shop, but somehow we managed, my wife and I. We had too small carts and both were loaded. We had roof shingles for the shed, kitchen floor tiles, bathroom tiles, a sink top and a few other items. Then we found the end of a line and proceeded to inch our way out of the store.

My friend and coworker of almost twelve years was there and my wife had no trouble putting him to work pushing the heavy cart filled with tile as I pushed the one with shingles. He had four pieces of lumber and a handful of various items and was cartless because there were precious few carts available. So he loaded his stuff on our cart and he pushed forward on the rare occasions when we actually could push forward. My friend pushing the second cart freed my wife to wander and pick without a burden.

Behind us, directly behind me, there was an older woman with a larger cart who was shopping with her son. Her son asked me to help his mother pull the cart as he went off on a buying mission of his own to get lumber. I knew neither mother or son, but over the next two hours, we formed a weary band of three carts shuffling our way to the exit.

For all of the waiting, it was pleasant enough. The older woman was quite friendly and funny and my friend, he always a source of amusement- mostly for me and less for him, true, but amusement nonetheless. (Actually, my friend is the inspiration for a story I wrote several years ago, which can be found here.)

So here we were, three carts of stuff, four people, generally in good spirits, all trying to head toward a few registers and then freedom. Then from a side aisle, a group of guys began to assemble their purchases on a shared cart. I could see how they looked at the length of the line and the slow progress and knew that they wouldn’t be satisfied to wait like the rest of us. I kept an eye on them as we approached. My friend Mark pushed the lead cart, I pushed mine, then I would reach back and grab the cart of the woman behind me. The guys in the side aisle inched out, angling toward the registers instead of attempting to get a place at the back of the line.

Almost opposite the men, the  son of older woman behind me, returned. He had some lumber on a cart and proceeded to consolidate, stacking what was on his mother’s cart, onto his own. Everyone in line who wasn’t alone, was doing this, sending one out into the store while the other remained in line. My wife was doing that, the men in the side aisle were doing that, it was an accepted practice made up for this special occasion by silent agreement.

Then the line moved  and Mark rolled forward. I followed. As I reached back automatically to help with the cart behind me, forgetting that the son had returned, the men from the side aisle made their move, pushing in between me and the nice people behind me. Words were exchanged.

Now, I’m 5’7”. The son, he was of similar height. The men from the side aisle, two at the time, but four in all, were much taller, which I suppose isn’t difficult. The son argued, but then men had their place in line and were looking for a fight. The son backed down, I kept my mouth shut and we continued to inch.

But I have a hard time with keeping my mouth shut. My friend Mark was oblivious of the altercation, too busy positioning the cart he was pushing. When he noticed the change in the caravan, he gave me a look. I loudly said that the nice people behind us had lost their place in line because some people couldn’t wait.

Then I glowered and stewed and the fun of the day was lost. Later, the old woman came up to us, joked that I had done a poor job of helping her and tried to get me to buy turtle-shaped knee pads. When she returned to her knew place in line, I believe I said to my wife that it was too bad there were so many assholes in the store. She agreed. (The great thing about my wife? Even when I’m being stupid, I know I always have one person who has my back. That’s true love, to know that if I precipitated a brawl in Lowes, that my wife would be right there with me.)

So, I’ve already put a long tooth on the tale and wrapping up is what I need to do. Two additional registers opened and the line moved rapidly. When the new registers opened, our friends, the older woman and her son, leaped to the front of the line, pushing past the men behind me who now were grumbling about people cutting in line. Imagine!

Before leaving, the older woman sidled close to me and said, “My son put a drill bit in the pipe on those men’s cart. The security tag should get them pulled if they don’t find it.”

I thought the woman seemed sweet and innocent. Turns out from her delighted smile, she had a mischievous side. I laughed, made my way from the store, and loaded my truck.

The men behind me? The older woman walked up to me in the parking lot after I finished loading and said, sadly, one of the men had set the alarm off at the front door, something about hidden merchandise and theft. I say, justice. And like that, my mood improved.

The moral is that you can screw the little guy for only so long.


Penelope said...

Love this post! Sweet Justice indeed! :^)

MT Nickerson said...

Wish I had thought of doing that, with the drill bit. Classic.

Penelope said...

I had a similar incident happen to me at a NKOTBSB concert (don't laugh...yes, I'm 45 years old and I went to a New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys Concert). Anyhow, 2 ginormous women stood up during the pre-concert show and refused to sit down. They were blocking the view of the stage for about 20 people. Everyone kept asking them to be considerate, please sit down, etc, and they ignored us. Some folks have no interest in doing the right thing, being considerate, etc....they are only thinking about themselves, and nothing you can do or say will change that. But I believe, with all my heart and soul, they will get what's coming to 'em. (Especially if diabolical little old ladies help that along.)

MT Nickerson said...

I won't judge... much :)

It's always nice to see people get what's coming to them. Made what could have been a bad experience into a really cool story.

(New Kids and the Backstreet Boys?...)

Linda Rogers said...

What a great story and I'm so glad it turned out good for the good guys. Sweet Justice usually finds it's way when need be. Thanks for making me smile a little bigger today :-)

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

I recently read a study about why we feel better when we perceive that justice has been served - even if the injustice is something small like butting in line.
I'm sure keeping your cool was tough - I'd have a hard time in that crowd...period.

MT Nickerson said...

I feel like I should have said something more direct- but those boys were probably from Cherryfield or some place similar and they don't much care about trading insults. I didn't think I should get into a fistfight in Lowes.

moncler said...
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