Hubby sometimes likes to tell me what he had for lunch after getting home from work. About once a month, Rick starts with “I did a very dumb thing at lunch today.” That’s when I know an order of greasy onion rings somehow musta magically catapulted onto his plate. Yesterday was a tad different. “I stopped off at the local drug store and purchased some cheddar rice cakes and ate those for lunch,” Rick proudly stated. “Oh gee, did you know they recently had a national recall on that very brand? We had to scour the entire chip aisle to find one bag that the computer said was on the shelf. And you know, we never found that bag,” said Ricky. Our son, Ricky, has recently returned from working in a grocery store in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For six months the dude has been stocking, receiving and working the bottle room. I am quite certain his lovely girlfriend, Kate, had a little something to do with moving to the land of double-digit unemployment. She is a student at University of Michigan. Ricky considered hangin’ out with Kate a great way to twiddle his thumbs while waiting for his class date to come up with the Air Force. Now that Ricky is home it has been fun catching up and the wacky adventures of a stock dude are slowly spilling out. My favorite story was about a scavenger hunt in the store. “The weirdest thing that happened was one evening a high school church youth group came in. They were paired in twos to do a scavenger hunt. I was stocking on the juice aisle and these two teenagers came up to me and asked if I would give one of them a piggyback ride. So I said, ‘Sure.’ I didn’t think twice about it. For like thirty seconds I gave one a ride while the other took a picture to verify the event,” Ricky chuckled. “The other thing I helped them with was they had to have a stranger write their signature, not print mind you, on their forearm. I also did not hesitate for that one. Later, I told my manager what happened and she thought it was weird. Thought she would laugh but she was just annoyed,” Rick related. Ricky told me he liked the holidays because they were exciting, as exciting as it could be in a grocery store. “I remember there was one lady who came in the day before Thanksgiving and asked for 12 cans of pumpkin and we were out. I mean none coming in and none in the entire store. I guess people don’t realize that everyone in the United States is making pumpkin pie that day,” said Ricky. “One time I was stocking cans of pumpkin pie mix and some lady asked me for three. I said three cans? She said no, three cases. That is 12 in a case. I’d have to give it to her, but geez that made it tough on everyone else.” He told me about another time while he was in the back room which is restricted to employees only. Some lady opened up the door and yelled for help. Since Ricky was closest to the door he volunteered to assist the customer. “She was looking for a specific kind of purified water. So I told her I would go check in the back. I looked and also asked my manager but couldn’t find any. So I went back to her and told her we were out and she got all huffy,” Ricky related. “Basically, she asked me if I wasn’t just being lazy, in a real nasty voice. I wanted to tell her that I had just graduated from a military college and wasn’t lazy but kept my shut because the customer is always right.” He spent five minutes explaining that they didn’t have any in the store and couldn’t make it magically appear but to check back tomorrow. “Well I’m not here tomorrow. I’m here tonight,” the lady angrily said before storming off. Another time Ricky was working the bottle room. We don’t have those in Texas. In Michigan lots of plastic, glass and aluminum bottles can be returned for ten cents deposit each. So this bottle room has a bunch of machines that sort bottles/cans and count them – that is – as long as the bar code is still attached. “This ‘Joe Dirt’ guy walks in with his neighbor’s garbage can full of bottles. Now the bottle machines can’t read the bar codes because they had all fallen off, so I had to count each one. I got to 80 in my count and then realized there were a bunch of broken ones in the bottom of the can. While I was sifting through the bottom, a mouse pops out. So I just stopped and told him I would just call that stuff in the bottom 20 bottles,” sighed Ricky. Ricky asked his manager what to do with the mouse and she freaked out. Heck, they already had a big bird problem. I never thought about it but they fly in the store and chow down on the produce. “We couldn’t get the mouse out of the trash can. I named him Winston Churchill and then we bid him farewell by putting the garbage can in the trash compactor, said Ricky. Betcha nine dollars next time hubby starts tells me what he ate for lunch it won’t be cheddar rice cakes. Dixie Frantz is a long-time Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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