Skip to content

Ergo Sum

Personal tools
You are here: Home » Members » cmcurtin's Home » Forty Ounces

Forty Ounces

Document Actions
A deal that could be refused.

I worked for about four years at a grocery store chain called Big Bear. Toward the end of my time there, I had an early shift, starting at six in the morning. I'd get the front-end of the store ready for the day, covering the cash register until the first cashier of the day arrived at seven, after which I'd sweep the front of the store, stock shelves with fresh product that just arrived, or take are of about anything else that needed done. It wasn't a bad job at all, though I decided that I should probably get serious about finding a job in the field of my study about the time that I realized that among my favorite jobs there was mopping the floor.

Working nights and late evenings was often an adventure, with its disproportionate share of weirdos. Early mornings were much better because typically by five or six in the morning, the weirdos had run out of whatever it was that kept them going. A few, though seemed to have particular stamina.

One of them was a guy named Seth. He wasn't an old guy—I took him for maybe thirty years old—and he was invariably nice. Everyone liked him but felt sad thinking about him. He was almost always seen at the store at a little after six in the morning, completely inebriated. Every day, he came to the store and bought two forty-ounce bottles of malt liquor, “Olde English 800.” The greeting was always the same. “H-H-H-H-Hey buddy, how's it going?” Sometimes, he'd come back for another round between ten and eleven in the morning. “H-H-H-H-Hey buddy, how's it going?”

One morning, the bakery shipped us double our usual allotment of bread. Sometimes they'd simply make too much and spread it around to the stores but then we'd have to do things like make special displays and price them to move in order to avoid having it pile up in the store. Normally priced at ninety-nine cents per loaf, the bread had a special build-out that morning and was priced to move for the low, low cost of thirty-nine cents. In the middle of putting the bread on a shelf, four at a time, I heard his voice behind me. “H-H-H-H-Hey buddy, how's it going?”

“Pretty good,” I said. “Bread is on special sale: thirty-nine cents!”

Seth stood there for a moment, lookinat the two dollars or so needed for the two bottles of that awful stuff that he came in to buy. “That's a good deal,” he observed with a slur. “But I don't have enough money.”

I said, “I tell you what. I'll give you three for a dollar and you can have three loaves of bread for less than the cost of a single forty-ounce.” I watched the gears slowly turning in his head, straining against the effects of atrophy. I wasn't really in a position to play with prices like that usually but I thought that under the circumstances, I would either be supported by the manager who could play with prices or I'd just pay the eighteen cents out of my own pocket. Either way, it would be a good day for Seth if he'd take me up on my offer.

“I don't think I can do thaaaaaaat. Thanks anyway.” It's hard to make a deal like that sweet enough for someone in his predicament. We sadly parted: he slowly shuffled off toward the refrigerated cases with the forty-ounce bottles and I finished stocking the bread.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2007-08-26 12:55 PM
In Print

This site conforms to the following standards: