Thursday, October 14, 2010

"You have got to be kidding me!"

Remember when I told you about how I was a security guard for the Grocery/Department store--Giant Foods?  Well, once I graduated from university and finally made it back to my hometown, I took on substitute teaching positions and eventually another job with Giants, which promised me a good pay packet for what the job demanded.  I wanted to make as much money as fast as I could, as I wanted to travel out to the East coast to apply for teaching positions, and of course, would need the financial backing to do this. 

So, when Giants decided to stay open 24/7, I was picked as the check-out chick who would work the 11:00 pm to 7:00 am shift.  It involved being the only check-out chick unless it got very busy, when I would call for assistance from the Night Manager--pretty cinchy job, which also involved stocking shelves within the front eye-sight of the front of the store. 

Well, I had worked this shift for a while, and was falling into the routine of not sleeping at night, and eventually learning how to sleep during the day--perhaps I was fortunate that I still lived with Mum and Dad, on their quiet little acreage, and they both worked all day--so I could sleep in the quiet zone.

But this story is about what happened one night during the early morning hours of one of my night long shifts.  It had been a fairly busy night, and I had collected a lot of cash in my register's drawer.  I had previously bagged a supply of counted cash into the store's vault, and my drawer was growing in bills once again.  I would get protective of these takings, as though it was my money, and always ensured that I counted correct change, and used caution when opening the drawer at night in front of customers, only allowing the drawer to open far enough for me to just reach the contents--no need for them to see all of the contents. ( I guess my past involvement with this store and this neighbourhood made me more observant and cautious than was always necessary).

On this particular night a young guy, about 17-18 years old had come into the store and wondered around.  He had on a pair of jeans, it was about 4:00 am and while it wasn't a hot summer night it was coolish, and he had on a t-shirt, with another t-shirt over that one - cut very short--just below his elbows.  He wandered around and left.  I was busy with customers, and the only other employee in the store at the time was Eugene, the night manager, and he was doing stock take in the back room.

About 15 minutes later this guy came in the store again, walked around and then walked past my register area as if he was looking for something.  I looked at him, and don't why but signalled the bell under my lane to let Eugene know that I was concerned about a customer.  The young kid disappeared into the store.  Eventually all of the other customers left, and I was debating going back to my shelf stocking duties again, when suddenly I was rushed by this guy with his 'infamous sawn-off' t-shirt over his face, pointing a small hand gun at me "Give me all of your money", he demanded. I looked at him somewhat surprised, and said  somewhat loudly so that Eugene would hear me in the back: "You have got to be kidding me!"

"Look-I'm not joking around here--give it to me!"  He had his gun pointed at me, in a quivering hand and his other hand was outstretched as though he was waiting for his change.  I decided to stall, and use his nervousness as a way of hoping that Eugene was calling the police from the back room. 

I started to reach for the $1.00 bill drawer and pulled out a few bills at a time, saying things like: "Why are you doing this--I saw you earlier. You're not going to get away with this!"  I just kept on slowly pulling out single $1.00 bills, and he stood there shaking and waiting with his outstretched hand.

"Hurry up--I need to get out of here--you're so damn slow!"  By this time I still hadn't heard any sirens--so grabbed a few $5.00 notes, stalled a bit longer as if determining change correctly and threw 2 $20.00 notes down on the lane before slamming the cash drawer. "Christ!  What are you doing ?" he screamed at me as he grabbed the money from my hand and the bills laying on the lane and ran out the door.  Sweat had been running profusely from his brow--I knew he was scared and I had just decided to play him, hoping my stall tactics were helping the police, who hopefully were on their way!

As the would be thief fled, I grabbed the register mike and yelled out to Eugene for help saying we had just been robbed.  Eugene came running up, and I asked him if the police were on the way. "Well-no."  "What--why not--Man I stalled forever! What were you doing back there?"  "Being quiet", Eugene yelled back at me.

I grabbed the phone in the office and dialled the police phone number that I had phoned so many times before, and they arrived very quickly.  By this time it was getting close to dawn, and the regular customers and delivery men would be in soon.  I sat in the office and told the police about the kid, and within a short period of time they caught him--stupid kid!

I just walked past Eugene and shook my head--so much for my stalling plan!

Footnote:  That morning, Charlie Fitzmorris reminded me strongly (Once again) that the money wasn't mine but had been the property of the store--and as such was not worth me being shot--"Never do that again, Jan. Promise me!"  "Yes, sir", I replied--the police officer at the time just grinned at me and shook his head--I think over time he was beginning to know me too well.....

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