J e p h r e y

Cashier gets upset about frozen tuna in my rucksack

Incident at the Supermarket

My partner and I decide to make beef steaks for the boys tonight and tuna steaks for ourselves – we're both vegetarians who eat fish from time to time. And tonight was going to be one of those times. So, I bicycle off to town to get the meat, fish and other odds and ends.

Unfortunately, this will be a two supermarket job. The local D-market has better meat and vegetables. The local C-market has better frozen tuna. I buy the tuna first, pop it in my rucksack and head to D-market, where I select meat, vegetables and a few other odds and ends.

At the D-market checkout counter a new lass asks to check my rucksack. Fair enough. It is, after all, store policy to check people's bags and there are even signs to the effect at the counter; but because most of the staff know me as a regular customer, they seldom ask. Nevertheless, it's not a problem. I've not pinched anything. I'm not insulted. She's just doing her job.

I open my bag and pass it to the young woman who looks inside and then pulls out a box of frozen tuna. “What is this?!” she demands.

“It's cool,” I explain. “It's tuna from the C-market – you can see their label...”

“I know what it is!” she says. “But what the fuck are you doing with C-market products in a D-market, bitch!?” she shrieks at me.

“Well,” I stutter, “The C-market frozen tuna is better than the D-market....”

She grabs the top of my rucksack and swings it hard at me, knocking me to the floor.

“No it's not,” she shouts.

I see the managers – the couple who own and run the place – running over and, I think, thank goodness they are coming here. This girl is clearly insane.

“What's going on here?” demands the woman owner.

“This slime ball brought C-market tuna into the D-market,” says the cashier.

“What!?!” shouts the owner. I never knew she could shout so loud. She always seemed rather mousy to me. I am sure she realises the cashier has gone overboard and is upset with her.

Or, so I thought.

“Let's bring him to the back room and beat the shit out of him, where our trustworthy customers won't see what's happening,” the woman owner says.

There's a Polish woman at one of the checkout counters. I don't know her name, but she's always very friendly towards me. She is watching with concern and I can see she is debating whether or not to speak up for me. But, I am sure she's also worried about her job. She's got young kids. I don't want her to get into trouble over me, so I shake my head firmly and smile at her. She smiles back, but it is a worried smile.

The owners, the bonkers cashier and the stock boy each grab an appendage, roughly drag me to the back room and drop me on the floor.

“So, you like fish, do you?” asks the owner man, speaking for the first time – and in a friendly voice. I always reckoned he was the kinder of the two.

“Well, not really,” I begin to explain, standing up. “I'm actually a vegetarian...”

“Well, here's a fish for you,” he says, picking up a long fish, a trout I think, but I am not a fish expert. Holding the fish by the tail, he swings it at my face, knocking me to the floor.

“Hey,” I shout, trying to stand up.

“Hey is for horses,” he says, laughing and swinging the fish at me again.

After a moderate beating involving the probable trout, punches and the occasional kicks, they toss me out the back door. To their credit, they also toss my shopping basket and rucksack out the door. I am relieved. My partner would be upset if I came home without dinner.


Names have been changed to protect the innocent.


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© 2018 Jeffrey Baumgartner