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Monday, September 27, 2010

Don’t Touch Other People’s Stuff

It’s something you try and teach your children at an early age. It’s something I am continually trying to teach my child. She’s in preschool, now, and there is a germ factor to deal with along with an ownership issue. First of all, kids aren’t the cleanest of beings as they touch everything without regard to what they can’t see on surfaces and objects. They will proceed to touch themselves or you and transfer who knows what in the process. In addition, if it doesn’t belong to them and they have not received explicit permission to handle it, they shouldn’t be touching it. This is what I’m trying to tech and it includes all remote and game controllers, purses, keys, knick knacks, and anything else not built out of an industrial strength alloy or space age polymer in my house.

But when an adult exercises such a lack in judgment you can’t help but become shocked by their inability to remember those childhood lessons. What the hell goes through some people’s heads? This post spawned after a quick shopping trip to my local Giant Eagle grocery store in Harrison City, PA. I needed to pick up a few things and relied on the Self-Checkout lanes for quicker service. Usually, my wife is with me and she bags while I scan, but being on my way home from work, at the time, I needed to multi-task.

I grabbed what I needed and headed to the front of the store. Swiped all my items and sent them down the belt. Paid for purchases and went to the other end of the belt to bag and place in my cart and that’s when it happened. Some dick touched my stuff.

As a rule, especially in this economy, every little bit helps. My wife will clip some coupons here or there and on occasion, we will get coupons at the checkout lane from using our Advantage Card. The Advantage Card is like other grocery store cards, I’m sure. You swipe it and receive discounts on certain items. Also, for every $50 we spend, we get $0.10 a gallon for gas. In turn, for every 10 gallons of gas you pump, you can earn 1% off of your grocery bill up to 20%. It also prints out coupons at the register which can be used for future purchases as well as the occasional advertisement which is thrown away at the register nine times out of ten. Regardless of how we acquire coupons, we appreciate them when we get them. Now, I don’t know if there is some unwritten rule out there about grocery stores but if we have a coupon for something we don’t use or will not purchase before the expiration date, we usually leave it on the shelf with the product. I see them left by other people a lot and sometimes they come in handy. Also, when we get printout coupons at the register, I tend to leave the ones I don’t use on top of the Self-Checkout register for others to use.

On more than one occasion and in multiple stores, I’ve seen employees walk by the Self-Checkout registers and throw away coupons left by shoppers for other shoppers. I understand why they do it. After all, a coupon is a loss to revenue. If it’s there, it’s considered trash and should be thrown away to help maintain the appearance of the store. However, there is a similar perk in convenience stores and gas stations called the penny tray. Have a penny, leave a penny. Need a penny, take a penny. So, I don’t see this as anything different. Have a coupon, leave a coupon and so forth. It’s a bit petty and “corporate” like to just walk by and throw away these coupons when the intention was for helping out your fellow consumer. I have a point here, bear with me.

So, as I’m bagging up my groceries last Friday, this guy comes by, grabs the coupons I had received from the register, crumbles them up and throws them away. I’m still in the line, mind you, watching all this happen. I was so shocked at the balls this guy had that I was just stunned speechless. Now, he wasn’t dressed in typical store uniform so I cannot guarantee that he was an employee. He was pushing a cart that had empty cardboard boxes in it so he may have been a vendor who was stocking specialty items from the manufacturer. Still, it was rather brazen that he just walked up and did what he did. Of course, two can play at that game. I have already proven that I can be a dick with the best of them.

So, it should shock no one that I took the time to go back to the front of the checkout lane to retrieve the coupons that dickhole threw away and placed them back on top of the register. Dickery turned to outright rage when I realized that he not only threw away any coupons that were laying there, but my receipt as well. MY EFFING RECEIPT. He yanked it from the printer, crumbled it up and tossed it in the garbage can underneath the counter. I use a credit card for grocery shopping and while not all of my numbers are on the receipt, still, who would throw a receipt away in plain sight inviting the possibility that someone could use it against you.

I wanted to find the guy. I wanted to wander all over the store, bags in tow, looking for the guy to just give him a “Don’t touch other people’s stuff, Eff-tard!” prepared statement. He even looked like one. Think of the bad guy from Lethal Weapon 3. He looked like him, complete with the gray brushtache. Yes, I said brushtache because it looked like a brush hanging off his face.

Well, I didn’t find Brustache the Eff-tard which is my World of Warcraft name… kidding. But I did get the satisfaction of going back and wasting energy by digging through the garbage for two advertisements and a coupon for Activia. I don’t care. You don’t touch other people’s stuff. Obviously, I wasn’t finished yet because my receipt was still there. And two. YOU DON’T TOUCH OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF! Oh, to be a fly on the inside of the windshield on the way home from the store. You know those moments you have where you talk out loud to nobody about what you would say or do to the person who pissed you off at that moment. You even start to verbally take it out on other drivers who aren’t even involved. “What, you wanted to turn at that stop sign, but I went first, causing you to lurch forward and slam on your brakes? Too bad, dick, you didn’t have your turn signal on at the time and you probably touch other people’s stuff, too. Eff off!”

I know there were other ways to handle the situation, the least of all, blogging about it. But, hey, if someone has a problem with that, come talk to me about it. I’m up for debate about the finer points of being a dick. Just ask my wife.

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