Once, while I still worked at Walmart, I was stocking the cough drops and I saw a lady in Sofie shorts, a yellow-that-used-to-be-white wifebeater, and flip-flop (just one flip-flop, not two!) walking down the aisle. Her hair was in a pony tail, a braid, and a clump resembling a failed dreadlock. She stopped at the area where we keep the 24 different kinds of pseudoephedrine (name brand Sudafed) cards. You take one of these 2-millimeter-thin card to the pharmacy counter, they take your ID, tell you that you aren’t allowed to make meth with it, give you whichever pseudoephedrine-containing product you wanted, and send you on your way. So, I asked the disheveled lady, “Do you need help finding anything today?”
I shrugged and continued stocking the cough drops. I then saw her surreptitiously take one of the Sudafed-24-hour cards down. She stared at it at arm’s length and then brought it closer for examination. She then started picking at the edges of this plastic card. She did that for about 5 minutes before deciding that she wasn’t going to be able to open that particular box of Sudafed. She then tried the same thing with the Claritin-D, the Zyrtec-D, and the 12-hour Sudafed. I decided to take pity on the woman and came up to help her. As I noticed an odd metallic smell, she looked at me with wild, dilated eyes and said quickly, “I ain’t shoplifting. I wouldn’t never shoplift. I just wanted to make sure there was pills in the box. Last time, there weren’t no pills in the box. Is there pills in this box? That box didn’t have no pills.”
I didn’t know how to respond, so I just said, “Ma’am, if you want to buy some Sudafed, you can take one of these PLASTIC CARDS up to the pharmacy. They’ll take your ID, and then you can buy it.”
“Oh, I didn’t wanna buy it. I just wanted to make sure there was pills before I got it home. Last time there weren’t no pills, so I was checking.”
“I thought you said you weren’t shoplifting? If you weren’t going to buy them and you weren’t shoplifting, how were you going to get them home?” I was having trouble containing my laughter, but I managed.
“Uuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh… ” She looked confused, but then her eyes took on a clever glint. “OOOK GLAA GLAA BINGO! I NO SPEEK-O ENGLISH-O! BYE BYE, WAL-MART LADY!”
She then ran out of the store, still clutching the 12-hour Sudafed box. I wonder if she came back to complain that there “weren’t no pills”…