May 21, 2020
By Vince Van Patten
I recently went to buy a new pair of workout sneakers. I was so tired of going into Nike or Adidas with all the expensive prices so I went to Big 5 sporting goods! I knew it had discounts and I’m not fussy with a pair of sneakers so I drove out there 45 minutes away!
Of course, no one helps you at Big 5, that’s why it has some discount prices, right? So I picked up a pair of sneakers I saw right in front of me and quickly went to the cash register within two minutes flat.
I paid for it cash (75 bucks!) and I told the lady I’m wearing them now and I prefer just to walk out with them and throw away my old ones please and she said fine!
The doors were wide open and I walked out very happy with my new pair of discounted B level sneakers.
I was proud of myself that I could get in and out of Big 5 within five minutes and my feet felt especially good with my new purchase
20 minutes later I drove to the park, I was going to hit against the tennis wall for a little exercise. I hit a few balls and was enjoying the moment when I noticed there was a strange whizzing sound coming from my shoe.
I looked down and realized the strange sound was the Big 5 security button was still on the sneaker! I laughed at my situation and thought “this is really strange.” I walked out of there with this thing on and nobody even stopped me! I thought, “How could they let me do that?”
But because of my impatience, I didn’t want to drive back there to get it clipped off! I figured I’d just wear it home and clip it at home with some scissors.
Then I tweeted about it and someone warned me that whatever I did, don’t clip it off. Blue ink would splatter everywhere! (flashback to bank robbery movies, thousands in cash and blue ink exploding everywhere, but. did this really happen with a pair of sneakers?).
So the plot thickened…
I live about 45 minutes away from Big 5 so I really didn’t want to drive back in horrible traffic in LA to get this little task done.
It was annoying but I realized I would have to bite the bullet and better do it. I decided the next day would be fine!
I told her to my wife and niece about it and they said: “Do you have the receipt?”
I said, “No I never keep receipts!” They said, “Well you better call them now and let them know!”
I agreed, so my niece called Big 5. After about 20 minutes on the phone with the manager discussing this debacle the manager finally said he would take my name down and when I came in he would clip the thing off and there would be no problem!
When I arrived at Big 5 the next day, after about an hour drive with the traffic I went in wearing my sneakers and went up to the front cashier and asked for the manager.
Five boring minutes I waited when the manager finally came down.
I explained I was the person that needed to get this clipped off and explained the whole story all over again.
He looked at me suspiciously and finally said, “I’ll have to check your name upstairs.”
He walked away and came back five minutes later and said there was no name written down by anyone and…
“Did I have a receipt?”
I said “No I don’t have a receipt but my name should’ve been written down there,” and explained the whole tedious story again for the umpteenth time! But to no avail. He looked at me like this was an impossible feat and was a big problem. He told me he would have to call other outlets and make other calls to know what to do next and this could take some time!
That’s when my New York side came out and I started to lose it. I raised my voice and told him this is ridiculous. Do I really look like a shoe thief? He was speechless. I realized I was dressed in old sweats and beat up t-shirt and actually I might fit that description. But never the less
I continued, “Look, I can’t wait any longer! You have inconvenienced me enough already!”
And then in my loudest voice I exclaimed: “Look, for Big 5s sake, just do the right thing!”
There was about four other customers in the store and they all stopped – transfixed on our confrontation. Then, the manager backed down and did a quick 180!
I think he realized that he could be dealing with a psycho or maybe just a bitter old get off my lawn kind of man. But he quickly nodded and said “OK!”
He got out his magic clippers and clipped my sneakers of the security button, and backed away cautiously.
I said, “Thank you very much, I still love Big 5!” As I was walking out, I think I heard two of the other customers applaud.
Till next time play loose and bluff on the river!