I had a meeting this morning. The meeting venue and a CVS (a pharmacy chain) share a parking lot, and, as usual, I arrived early, so I decided to pop into CVS to pick up a case of water.
I walked in, noticed a line, muttered the usual “fuck me” almost under my breath, and proceeded to the drinks aisle.
When I returned to the front with my water, the line had not moved. The same two people were at the cashiers, one doing something with coupons, and the other engaging in what appeared to be, but could not have been, some kind of complex banking transaction.
Not being a patient person, I stood in line, presumably looking exasperated. After a minute or so, I pulled out my phone, checked the time and saw that I had 7 minutes to get to my meeting.
After standing in line for another couple minutes, I was about to give up. The same customers were still at the registers, and, although “Marge” had called for backup, there were no new cashiers in sight.
As I was deciding whether or not to leave, the young lady a couple of people in front of me in line walked out. Understandable, but I noticed that she took the item she was going to purchase with her. The buzzer went off when she went through the detectors by the door, but she just kept on walking. And you know, what? I don’t blame her. What’s more, none of the store employees seemed to blame her, either, because they never even looked up when the alarm sounded.
About 30 seconds later, when the line still had not moved, except to fill the gap left by the righteously indignant thief, I put down the case of water in the middle of the floor and walked out, too.
I could never bring myself to take anything the way that young lady had, but it’s not a moral thing. Oh, now, my moral code would not allow me to simply steal items from a store, but in this case, I think both the young lady and I would have been justified to feel a bit of righteous indignation, and that deserves compensation.
What the thief’s compensation was, I do not know, because I never saw the item clearly, but surely a $3.99 case of water is not too much to ask for CVS wasting 5 minutes of my time, is it?
Fwiw, I went back after my meeting. The case of water I’d left in the middle of the floor had been moved, so I suppose the CVS employees are not totally apathetic about their jobs. There was no line. I purchased my water.
What kind of world is this, though, when we feel the need for immediate satisfaction? Difficult customers can jam up a line — that is perfectly understandable — and yet, I felt, as did apparently the young thief, that I deserved some kind of consideration for suffering through the jam.
I am struggling with my feelings about this incident.