Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Thriftway Ass Bandit

When stories come to me, as I sit fishin’, or running about in my daily life, I sometimes say to myself, nah, can’t tell that one. The story I am about to tell is on the edge. But I can see, by my list of “blog ideas”, which I keep stickied on my desktop, I must’ve thought, though it is bluish, my readers can handle it.

It was about 1979, and I had been in business at my first bakery, “Richard’s Bakery”, of Tualatin, Oregon, for about 4 years. Richard’s Bakery was in a Thriftway grocery store, and I had built it there on the invitation of the grocery store owner, from the ground up, within the warehousing area of the store. Our sale’s department, however, was featured in the retail area, and we were a hot little business, slappin’ out pastries, doughnuts, cookies, cakes, bread, all of it. If you arrived at my store at 7a.m., you would find 5 oak Columbus showcases, chock full of good things to eat, still warm cake and raised doughnuts, danish pastries, fresh hot french bread, decorated cakes, on and on.

The production department was located to the rear of the grocery store, which was a bit of a hassle, but we dealt with it. Business was good, so we gladly accepted the fact that we had to wheel our goods 100 feet to our display cases. It also gave me time, if I was the one to wheel the products out, to hang out with my customers a bit, maybe shoot the shit with the produce guys, see what was happening in the rest of the store.

On one occasion, I had just finished wheeling out the products, and as I looked down the row of the Thriftway’s checkstands, I could see that there was some commotion and hollering going on at the other end of the store. There was a man and woman, attempting to leave the store, and another man, a scruffy guy, trying to prevent them from leaving, getting in their face, yelling and carrying on, spewing four letter words and accusations.

I could see that the Store Manager and his assistant were on the case, attempting to calm this guy down, get him outa there, but he was a whirlwind of anger, and they were having no effect whatsoever.

Apparently, the yeller guy, who looked to be in his thirties, and was, may I say, a bit unkempt, had been walking down the meat aisle, where a couple was shopping, and all of a sudden, and I swear this actually happened, this guy drops to his knees, right there in the meat aisle, and attempts to look up this woman's dress. You know, like, hmmmm, what if I just hit the ground, right here by the top sirloin, see if I can get a peek at this gal’s butt, yeah, that’s the ticket. One can imagine the shock and fear this woman must have felt, and her partner, as this guy squirmed around on the floor, obviously up to no good. At that point, the woman’s partner started to yell at the guy, as in what the hell do you think you are doing, etc., and then called for help, at the top of his lungs, and that’s when store personnel arrived. By then, the guy had gotten to his feet, and was yelling back at this woman’s partner, and at everyone, jus’ spittin’ with anger. So the couple, whose cart was full, began to leave the store, but the guy was following them and being completely loud and obnoxious, probably dangerous.

By this point, the cops were on their way, called by other store personnel. I had joined the ranks of onlookers, there by the meat cases and the automatic doors.The store manager and his assistants tried to escort the couple to their car, while the perpetrator stood right with them all, yelling profanities, saying they were a bunch of liars, that sorta thing. F’n this and F’n that.

But the thing that makes me remember this story, the thing that makes it so surreal, is that, as the couple drove away, this guy, this guy who had dropped to the ground to look up this woman’s dress, began following the car out of the parking lot, running alongside the car, kicking the car, hitting the windows, calling names, threatening them. Is that not too odd? Wouldn’t a more sane scenario be, if one could be more sane, I mean in the case of a guy falling to the floor to look up a woman’s dress on the meat aisle of a Thriftway, for the bad guy to run away? I mean, hey you, quit looking up my wife’s dress, get lost! And then, the bad guy dashes? The whole time, this guy was acting as if it was the dress lady and her partner who were in the wrong!

The Police arrived, and I am certain that the Store Manager and others told the story similarly to my version. I envisioned then, and now, the two young cops, after being polite and taking down the details, getting in their car, drivng off, and finally, looking at each other, and bursting out laughing. The Thriftway Ass Bandit was never apprehended.

Visit Ric Seaberg's Website
My photo
Pacific Beach, Washington, United States