By Vince Van Patten
Read Part I here:
Through the glass doors, I went. I nodded politely as I passed two Asian ladies working the cashiers. The large rows of displayed food permeated with all sorts of tasty smells.
As I passed the check out ladies nodded slightly. I was sure they recognized me from the days before when I had bought a couple of lunches from them and ate right there in the adjoining room.
I confidently strolled to the coffee and condiment table which was at least 15 feet long. It had numerous coffee kegs with assorted creams/milk/soy containers, you name it, it was all there!
I quickly popped a little cream into my coffee, no more than a pinch and was on my way back past a different check out counter where a couple of people waited in line. I paused for a moment, smiled and nodded to the cashier, I stared down at a banana in a basket, seriously considering whether to buy it and almost went to grab one. I then had second thoughts and decided to move on.
With a couple of customers in front of me, I decided to be on my way. I started to leave when the checkout lady stopped me with a loud and serious voice while pointing!
“You take cream? I see you take cream,” she said in a hateful voice.
I stopped a little bit surprised and smiled.
“Yes, I took cream…a little pinch but I brought in my own coffee.” I didn’t think there was any problem.
Just then from across the market at the other register, another lady pointed at me and said loudly for all to hear!
“He took cream! I see him… he cream thief!”
Then the one right in front of me quickly responded again!
“She’s right! You cream thief! We see you and you no pay! Cream thief!”
Now I was completely startled and embarrassed…
“I’m not a cream thief, I’m a customer. I took a pinch of cream the size of a quarter and I was going to buy this banana anyhow. What are you talking about?!”
“You no buy banana! You take cream! You cream thief!”
Now I was getting mad. Surely they couldn’t be this ticky-tack about a spot of cream the size of a quarter??!! Especially since I had been a solid customer for the last 48 hours and weirdly, even though we had a sort of international rapport. They knew me!! I even tipped them the leftover change on both prior occasions!
Now the other one from across the room piped in again.
“Yeah, he no buy-banana! He just cream thief!”
Out of frustration and embarrassment, I quickly whipped out two dollars from my pocket and slapped it on the table in front of me!
“Here!! Here’s money for the banana! This is ridiculous!”
She looked back at me shaking her head.
“Too late for that! We don’t want money, you cream thief! You leave now!”
Then the other one across the store went back at it.
“Yes, you leave now! Cream thief, cream thief!”
I was getting strange looks from everyone. What could I do? Holding my coffee and espresso, I let go of the banana, and quickly scurried out of the grocery store. But not without hearing ‘cream thief’ echoing behind me.
Moral of the story
Next time, buy coffee at the fancy hotel.
Until next time, play loose and bluff on the river!