I was in the backroom sorting supplies/dozing off/making out/… when I heard the ding as someone walked in. I peeked out into the main store to see what kind of person had walked in.
Black/6ft 1. Suspicious. Great big coat that looked like it could fit half of what was in the store, and a backpack for what was left over.
Just to be sure, I went to the counter and leaned on it with my elbows, my eyes tracking his every move, although I grew uneasy when he walked behind the shelves where he probably knew I couldn’t see him. He would walk aimlessly between the shelves, stop, pick something, stand looking at it for a minute, then replace it. Not once did he ever look towards the counter, but he had to know I was watching him.
This guy was good. I decided that he could go on for hours, and I’d get so used to seeing him patrol that I wouldn’t notice when he did pick something — for good.
Neural adaptation — that’s what it’s called. I barely graduated from high school, but I know the word because my daughter learned about it in a college freshman Psychology course.
I called out to him when he was close enough to the counter. I called out again, then once more, and he turned to me. He took out the earphone in his right ear and said, “Did you say something?”
His accent was foreign. My suspicions increased.
“Shoplifting might be accepted back where you come from, but here it’s a crime. You look like someone who’s going to walk out with something hidden in your coat, and I don’t want you around here, because I’ll get into trouble with the manager.”
I wanted to say that, but I didn’t. Instead, I said, “I need you to leave if you’re not going to buy anything. I have some work to do in the backroom, and I’m not going to stand around watching you walk up and down my store.”
He looked me right in the eye and said calmly, “I don’t like what you’re trying to imply.”
Imply. The devil probably looked up the word right before coming to the store.
“Look,” I said, getting angrier. “You’re not buying anything, you leave. It’s as simple as that. I don’t want you walking up and down, and then…”
“Wait…” he cut in. I wasn’t going to let him.
“I don’t want you walking up and down and then taking God-knows-what. I simply don’t have the time to watch you, because I’ve got things to do in the backroom.”
“Wait, wait, wait!” he said. “Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve come into this store to buy something. All the other guys who work here know me.”
“I come in here sometimes when I’m bored, walk around, and buy anything I feel like…”
“I don’t want anyone ‘bored, walking around and picking what he likes.’ If you’re not going to buy anything, I need you to leave,” I cut him short.
“I was going to buy these,” he held out two 25c combs.
“Just leave,” I took them from him and threw them beside the cash register, heading for the backroom where the greater pleasures of life awaited me.
“Hey!” he shouted. “I said I want to buy these.”
I returned to the counter and rang them up. 75c, including tax. I wanted to wallop his nose, but I dutifully made change, and handed them to him, although I made sure I didn’t put them in a paper bag, or ask him if he wanted one.
I heaved a sigh of relief when he left.
I (Azuka) have never been more insulted in my life. I think I handled this pretty well, considering that I’m sometimes a pushover, and will either take anything thrown at me meekly, or explode in anger.
This is the corner shop where I’m one of their (I hope) esteemed customers. I get a discount on a carton of Arizona Green Tea which I can reserve up to a week in advance. Some items I’ve requested have been added to the stock because I’m likely to buy items I request every week.
It happened this morning, but I’m still very angry at what happened. I’m going to talk to the manager tomorrow (today, actually — it’s 12:12am).