F 1 D 0 - 2004 08 28 at 0425

The Time It Takes.

I was kind of robbed at Dominion tonight.

Just Kind Of. They didn't get anything.

What did happen then?

Well, let me try to reconstruct it. I've had
to do this a few times tonight already. Once
for the night manager, once for the night cashier,
once for policegirl 1, once again for policegirl 2
who made notes carefullly.

Around 0045 am, (late friday night) early Saturday
morning, a normal enough customer puts his basket
onto my belt.

He bought a lot of things from the Spices and Baking
department: 2 packs of fish bouillon (aurora), 3 envelopes
of instant brown gravy, 1 small bottle of maple extract,
a 1-pound bag of brownie mix. He had to search for this:
in the next aisle, with the oil, near the floor, we sell
shortening: Crisco. He took one of these. He also chose
a box of chocolate coated Oreo, and a box of FrootLoop bars.

Of course, he didn't buy them, but I'll get to that.

Another customer is chafing at the bit, next to me, 
around the outside. It turns out he left his identification
at a register, and needed help getting it back. He'd 
gotten my attention, but another cashier came and cared
for him. 

So both the cashier and the Lost-ID customer got a good
look at my badguy.

I get back to him, and as always, ask if he's got an
Air Miles card. He said "No" to the Air Miles question.

Dominion/A+P have a loyalty program here which is used 
to track the sales. Each 20.00 you spend garners you 
a point. Some items on sale are regular price, but 
include extra points. At some time you will want to 
cash them in. There is a relationship between
Air Miles and real miles, but it's a loose connection.
But the best thing to do is cash them in at the low
end. Say 125 points: that gets you 20.00 in a certificate.
Say 25 points: that gets you a movie pass.

I ask him how he'd like to pay.

"I'm not going to pay; you are. Open the register, give
me all the money, and my groceries too."

He grabbed me by my tie to tell me that. He moves something
under his jacket or hooded thing, and says, "This is a gun.
Do this quietly and there won't be any trouble."

I begin shouting. I love shouting at Dominion.

"Security! Security! This guy has a gun!"

He right away takes his hands out and waves them, "You
weirdo! You F&cken Weirdo! I ain't got no gun! You weirdo!..."

He didn't stop with the F'Weirdo stuff, as I chased him out of
the store, but I wanted to catch him and hold him. I decided
against that after he turned the corner, and began accelerating.

Now, we normally have Alex do security for us. He's good!
He hangs out with me, and the other cashiers, chatting, 
complaining about boredom, and trying to stay alert. I wish
he was here tonight. 

Our security tonight was so sleepy. We've had sleepy security
before. They're worse than useless. 

When I shouted security, I'm not sure where he was, but he
didn't hear me. Everyone else in the store certainly did. 
They always do when I shout. Everyone can hear me shout.
Everyone awake can hear me shout.

Who did hear me? Some of the grocery guys. They look scary.
They're strong because they carry cases of goodies each
night, they have lots of piercings and tattoos, and are
generally tall and assertive. 

Some of my customers heard me too. One of them  
was a fiddler who buskers nearby. He comes in each night
for a fresh peach or some grapes. He was upset that I
didn't call the police. He didn't find out that I did call
them in the end.

The late cashier came to see. But nobody was around the
instant I was chasing the guy.

Fiddler saw him running down Spadina, and told me he
threw his backpack into the front of the store. Curious
behaviour, but the store still has his sack.

So what time is it? It's around 110am, and the people
who supervise me were away, outside the store, together.
I don't blame them; we're all entitled to time off, and
to not spend it in the store itself. They were at the 
Pizza Pizza nearby, I think.

I don't need supervision, per se, but when someone leaves
a bunch of goodies behind, how do we put the stuff back
onto the shelves? Easy. Void each item. This requires a
small paper report (validation). But more than 10.00 in
such negative transactions requires a supervisor override,
something I needed one of them for. Oh well.

One grocery guy happened to be the night manager. James.
He suggested that I prepare a written statement, and he'd
ensure it got to the store manager in the morning. Good, 
it gave me something to do while my cash register was still
locked up.

By 120am, I heard my name on the speakers, "Dave, come to
cash One!".  So I get back, and my register is released.
But she didn't know what happened, so I told her. She
flipped, and suddenly everyone is buzzing about it.

It was another supervisor who suggested that this kind of
incident requires the police, even if nothing is taken.

I'm sure it's a waste of time, but she's sure it's required.
We look for the police phone number, but can only locate
911, so that's who we call. They take quite a statement
from me over the phone. 

So 130am comes and goes, and I'm still at the office.

I'm offered a slice of pizza, and I figure, well, as long
as I have to wait perhaps many hours for the police, and
as long as I'm being paid, I wanted something to do, so I
was instructed on how the grocery people do "facing". 

Facing in our store is done by pushing all of the goods
to the back of the shelf, and bringing two items neatly
to the front, square and pretty. So I did this wherever
I didn't see a grocery guy actually laying out fresh 

To their credit, the police didn't take forever. They showed
up around 2am, and so we talked upstairs, and I told them
this story, and then we went downstairs, to where James
opened the manager's office, and played the tapes which

A frequently asked question: why I didn't call 911 earlier.
Why did I wait until 125am to place the call. Answer: I
still believe it was a waste of time. This guy just didn't
come across as dangerous to me. 

During the composition, Jeff woke up, so I told him the
story I'm telling you. 

Life is full of stories. Why am I so alert, so joyous,
so happy? I've got another story, I guess. 

I hope I get sleepy soon. Tomorrow I'd like to do something
better than sleep all day long, as I did today, before 
going in to work.

So let me see. This started at 0045, and it's 0530 now.
I'm still thinking about it, alert. I don't want to do
it again. This takes too much time.

That's all I know.

A lovely working player piano at the main Goodwill
Store downtown Toronto, me at the helm, playing the
roll it had. Opening bid was 1000.00 Canadian.