A few years ago, I worked for a supermarket chain which, for the sake of propriety, I shall call The Mart. Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite supermarket? Some really funny shit, that’s what. Now, without further ado, I bring you the first installment of The Licorice Turd and Other Stressful Supermarket Stories. (names have been changed to protect the stupid).
We weren’t quite sure what was staggering across the parking lot on that foggy grey afternoon. It was upright and humanoid—for the most part anyway—and its dark hair was cropped short and stuck straight up, like something had scared the shit out of it. As it came closer, we observed the slack, dank cavern of its mouth and noted the lack of teeth. No problem there, cheap beer doesn’t need to be chewed. And what a stylish outfit it had on: a ripped and faded shirt in a lovely shade of puke green; baggy grey sweatpants (wait—are they SUPPOSED to be grey? And what smells like pee)? and, despite the fact that it was the middle of winter, a pair of deep discount flip-flops.
“It was in here a few days ago,” a voice behind me said. I turned to see The Dairy Guy joining our little observation crew at the window. “Caused a hell of a scene with another customer, too,” he added, then cackled, “It’s a Dumpster Chimp!”
I had a feeling that Dumpster Chimp had caused many scenes, perhaps with many customers, and although it shuffled past The Mart without coming in, I somehow knew it would be back.
And I was right.
Immersed in the stress of my management duties, I had almost forgotten about Dumpster Chimp until I looked up and there it was, obviously drunk, struggling to maneuver a shopping cart from the drugstore next door though The Mart’s express lane. I hate drunks. I admit it. Call me cruel or heartless if you want, but there it is. A scowl tightened my face as I watched the Dumpster Chimp grin delightedly at the lone can of beer in the green plastic shopping cart. The toothless mouth flopped open again, and the crusty grey tongue licked wrinkled lips in anticipation of a cold, foamy, liquid dinner. It was then that I made my decision: not gonna happen. Not on my watch! Besides, it’s illegal to sell alcohol to someone who is intoxicated. The cashier could lose his job—hell, I could lose my job for allowing it to happen!
I glanced over at my homie, Dairy Guy, who had been summoned earlier from his frosty lair in the milk cooler for a stint behind the register. “Heads up,” I said, “There’s going to be a Scene.”
He looked up from his dreary task and a huge grin spread across his face. Dairy Guy loved Scenes. “Bahaha!” he snickered. “No beer for the Chimp tonight!”
I nodded in absolute agreement, and stomped my way to the express lane with a grim determination.
Cashier Girl looked up at me innocently just as she was about to ring up DC’s can of beer. I put on my stern, no bullshit face and rattled my keys importantly. "No,” I said.
Dumpster Chimp’s glazed eyes rolled my way, and the slimy lips opened; the outrush of foul breath nearly knocked me back a step. Holy crap. One could almost see the wavy little stink-denoting lines coming out of that fetid pie hole. The dank mouth flapped and flopped, struggling to form coherent words. “Whaaaa…?” it finally managed to say.
“I’m sorry,” I said in my best Cindy-the-Front-End-Manager voice, “we can’t sell you any alcohol tonight.”
Judging by the expression on DC’s leathery face, them was some fightin’ words, and its screech of protest was a dreadful thing to hear: “Why the fuck not??”
“I can smell alcohol on you,” I replied, cool as ice. “It would be illegal for me to sell you any alcohol tonight. It’s for your own safety.”
My, oh my! The effect that sentence had on the Dumpster Chimp was both dramatic and frightening! The filthy face reddened, weak veins popped up on its forehead, and week-old beer crust mixed with slobber flew in all directions as the toothless mouth screeched and babbled. It can be kinda funny when toothless people talk, but when they are toothless and drunk, it’s a regular laugh riot!
“Aaaargahbaaaabbble!” screamed The Chimp.
From the corner of my eye I saw Cashier Girl trying to hold back her amusement while Dairy Guy watched the action from his vantage point at checkstand 6, his evil grin gleaming.
Oh, how The Dumpster Chimp carried on! This was quite possibly the biggest Scene it had ever caused. “Ragaflappp!” it raged. “Gargaflapdoodle! GAAAH!!”
I stuck to my guns and continued to shake my head from side to side. “Nope,” I said with false remorse, “Sorry.”
“Y—you!” sobbed The Chimp. “You’re being SO MEAN!!”
Ever the polite one, Cashier Girl laughed into her hand while Dairy Guy nearly collapsed with mirth. I thought I spotted tears in DC’s eyes, but I continued to glare with a complete lack of sympathy. The air around the checkstand was growing thick and greenish with expelled drunk breath.
“You know what you can do?” DC howled. “You can take that can of beer and shove it straight up your ass!”
(Wow! What a great idea)!
“I’ll do that as soon as I get home,” I replied calmly.
(Boy did I ever get some mad props for that one)!
Eventually our new friend wandered off and left us to our mundane chores, and we continued our shifts that evening a little more light of heart, sharing a little more laughter than usual now that we had something new to talk about. I actually think some thanks are in order here, in fact. Yes, thank you, little Dumpster Chimp, for bringing us a bit of amusement, some entertainment and something to talk about until we meet again.
Thanks for reading. Peace.