I had been going to the same Albertson’s for about four years now, every other day, at least. I worked at a rival grocery store, and before this incident I actually shopped more that that place. The prices were better, it was a lot bigger, and had more variety. That, and it was sort of the halfway point to my bank, so I often stopped there to pick up something to eat and/or drink before heading home.
I had gotten the first of a series of nasty colds during the winter, to the point that I had called in sick. However, I still had bills to pay, so I had gone to the bank that day, looking like I had just rolled out of bed (so, I pretty much looked like crap), while wearing a large sweatshirt. Anyway, I do some business and decide to look around, to see if any cold medicine was on sale, or if anything stroked my fancy. The whole time I’m there, I’m listening to my ipod, aimlessly wandering the aisles, killing time, pretty much. It’s during this time I see the same short-haired employee nearly everywhere I go, and at one point I thought to ask her where something was, but other than that, I don’t think much of it.
Anyway, I pick up a few items at various points of the store, including a drink from some cold case, I head to the lanes and notice that all of them are packed, as in, people are half-way through the lanes packed. So, after a good five minutes, I figure a few dollars worth of stuff isn’t worth it, and decide to leave. Also, working at a grocery store myself, I also know how sucky it is to just have customers put stuff wherever (especially if there are perishables). So silly me, trying to be a good customer, go to put everything back, exactly where I got them.
I’m about fifteen feet from the entrance, after putting away the drink, when the short-haired employee pops out of nowhere, uttering “excuse me, excuse me, EXCUSE ME” until I stop (I guess that was a sucky thing for me to do, but I really didn’t think there was a reason to be stopped), as I hadn’t bought anything, and a quick check indicated I had everything I had come in with.
So, I turn around, put on the ultra bright customer service smile that is now my automatic reaction to someone calling my attentions, along with a friendly “Hello, can I help you?” And this little exchange takes place:
SH: Short-haired employee.
SH: (in condescending tone) So, where’s that energy drink you just had?
Me: (Smile fade, pretty damn confused at this point) Uh… I put it back?
SH: Uh-huh, I’m sure you did. (by this point, eying the large pocket in front of my sweatshirt).
Me: Listen, I don’t have anything in my pockets save for my wallet and my…. i… pod. (I kind of stalled at this point, because I really didn’t know whether or not it was even worth mentioning, especially with the ear-bud cord sticking out)
SH: Well, you do know we have cameras everywhere, right?
SH: Well, you better keep that in mind.
Her tone was just really snarky and outright rude, and the whole time she didn’t seem to believe me one bit. Not only that, but she stood there, outright accusing me during the midway rush. And yeah, there were people who stood and gawked.
I actually wrote the company and called to speak with the manager of the store, who told me that they had a few complaints regarding that particular employee. My dad even went into the store a few days later and told me he saw the exact same employee in a shouting match with a man, who was a lot more vocal about being accused of shoplifting than I was, apparently.