Grab What You Need

I remember when Preparation H was the most shoplifted item from Longs.  I found this out the hard way late one night when I made a special trip there and they were out.  But I was kind of in dire need, and I didn’t really want the generic brand if possible, so I asked, just in case.  Yes.  They had it.  Behind – no pun intended – the counter.

Maybe people stole it because they were too embarrassed to let the cashier and other customers know they had hemorrhoids, piles, as my dad used to call them. Like when you buy condoms.  Except condoms are still out on the shelves, so maybe it’s not the shame.

Coincidentally, I’d just seen a David Letterman interview with some rock star who said he could party all night long and still look young and fresh-faced the next day.  His secret?  Preparation H for bags under the eyes.  But would you shoplift it for that reason?  That doesn’t make sense.  Stealing it because you don’t want people to know you use it to tighten up your baggy eyes?  No, it’s that application to the anus embarrassment, if anything.

The next thing I remember that went behind the counter at Longs was razor blades.  Fortunately, that problem went away very quickly with the speedy invention of little lockboxes for them.  These devices are very convenient when you can’t find an employee to unlock them, and even more convenient when that employee can’t find the key.

Sadly, Amazon won’t ship razor blades to my area code, so even though they’re still pretty expensive, I buy them at Costco because I can just grab them.  By grab them I don’t mean steal them, I mean just toss them in my cart without hunting down a Sales Associate to help me secure them.

Next it was anything related to pseudoephedrine.  Methamphetamine cookers needed it to produce their product:  Batu, Crank, Ice.  So I had to ask at the pharmacy for my go-to allergy pill:  Actifed.  And that was even after they’d changed the formula so you couldn’t use it for making crystal meth anymore.  I guess the stores were worried criminals would still shoplift it. By mistake.

The new safe formula never worked for me.

Last week I decided I wanted some corned beef.  I don’t eat it very often, but when I have that urge, I gotta have it, you know what I’m saying?  I tell you I woke up needing it bad.  I mean I was full on jonesing for corned beef and cabbage. And a fried egg. And rice.

Damn.  It looked like they were all out of it.  The slot on the shelf was vacant, as bare as Walter White’s head.  I fumbled behind the cans on both sides of the empty space.  Nothing.  Okay, right, I know it’s a pandemic after all, and some things, yeah, they’re in short supply because of hoarding, or shipping difficulties, or manufacturer plant closures.

But I needed it, so I just had to ask.  It was behind the counter.  Hallelujah. I bought five.  The max.  It’s the only thing I’ve ever hoarded in my life.  I still have four cans.  I have no idea how long it’ll be before my stash goes bad. As I say, I can lay off the stuff if I want to.

While I was waiting for the Customer Service Representative to gimme my corned beef, I spotted something I’d not seen in a long time.

“Is that abalone?” I asked her.  It had been eons since I’d seen that familiar pink can from my childhood.  I’d just assumed abalone had become so rare you couldn’t get your hands on it anymore.

“Yes,” she said, “people really like to steal that.”

I was wrong.  It existed.  For like $18 a can.  A heavily shoplifted item.  Who knew?  Those people have good taste.  I couldn’t afford it either.

The next thing you’ll find behind the counter is what?  There should be a pool.  Everyone throw in a dollar.  Gamble on what will be the most stolen item next.  I’m thinking hand sanitizer.  Maybe masks.  Vienna sausage?  We are living in a whole new world.

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterSunday, I hope your weekend is off to a good, safe start. Today’s #WritingPrompt is


Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or simply post it as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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