A 7.5kg bag of cat food is on sale for $3.49 in a grocery store in a different city than my own. There might be enough room in the car, but even if there isn’t I will just dump out half of the cat food, or give it to a homeless guy with a cat. I’m still getting a deal. The line-up at the checkout is long enough, but I find myself at the front.
My only item is scanned through at $7.49, a figure that, although reasonable, causes my eyebrows to raise questioningly. After thoughtlessly handing over my credit card to pay, I consider the situations that would account for such a price discrepancy. There could be a huge tax on cat food because of the mayor’s abhorrence of small pets. A deposit may be necessary, in order to incentivize people to bring back the containers which may be included. The sale could simply be over, with a delay on the signage removal.
As I’m handed my receipt, which I scan quickly and provides me with no additional information, I ask the young male cashier why the price was so much higher than I thought it was. His manager, a forty-something female who is clearly disappointed that her life consists of answering what she deems to be trivial questions, interrupts with, “It just is. What, do you want to return it something?”
I do not like her tone, and so on principal, I say, “Yes, I would actually,” in an admittedly-stubborn manner, and I am ushered off to the side to wait. The man behind me in line, who looks suspiciously like my uncle Whitey, begins bagging his groceries while intentionally banging into me with his hips and elbows.
I am confused as to why he is buffaloing me until he asks me a question. “Do you have a job?” I reply no, which is the truth. “Well if you did, you wouldn’t want little shits being saucy to you.” He was right, but I fail to grasp his meaning. “People work hard enough that they don’t need you returning stuff just because you thought it was a different price.”
“I’m just trying to get my money back for some cat food I didn’t use,” is all I can muster as a reply.
He must have assumed I said something far less acceptable, so he proceeds to push the sleeves of his white and blue plaid shirt up to his dangerous elbows. “You know what? I think I’m going to have to beat the shit out of you.”
“Seriously?” I ask with more astonishment than fear. I realize my powerlessness to defend myself when I say, “You definitely have old man strength too. I can tell.”
He nods in agreement, opens his eyes as wide as he can so as to better see the damage he is about to inflict, and then takes a swing. I dodge the first punch, weaving to my left, but I fall into the corner with my manoeuvre. The second punch lands, but instead of feeling pain, I wake up. There is a cat on my chest. Or a raccoon.