Adventures At Kroger!

Updated: Jul 28


Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

Store Does Not Accept This Brand

Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

Cannot Read Barcode

After 2-1/2 months and 2 parties, amidst Covid lockdown, there I was, wearing a face mask and feeding 17,628 bottles and cans to a smelly machine at the bottle return section of our local Kroger, surrounded by equally unenthusiastic and grumpy returners and over-worked/underpaid employees who have spent months working with grumpy, pissed off people.

Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

Bottle return guy, who we'll call Reggie. . .

"So! Where do you work??"

Me, in my head, <Seriously dude?> "I was doing HVAC, until Covid."

Reggie: "What's ADAC?"

Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

Me: <Siggghh> " Not ADAC. HVAC. It's Heating and Cooling. But I don't do that anymore. Now I return bottles for a living."

Reggie: "Oh! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That's funny!"

Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

Store Does Not Accept This Brand

Me, to myself, (It wasn't really that funny man).

Reg starts talking to another customer, telling her what she's doing wrong and giving her professional pointers on the Arts of Empty Bottle-into-hole installation.

Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

I'm thinking to myself, sweet! I'm in the clear! Nope.

Reggie turns back to me and says, "What are those initials on your arm? What do they mean?

<Grrrrr. . . >

"It says THOR." (Can't read Olde English letters, eh, asshead?).

Reg: "Four? What's that mean?

Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

Seriously? I just want to return these forking bottles.

"No. THOR. It's my nickname. I used to have long blond hair. Looked just like the dude in the comic book."

Reg: "Oh! I have a lot of nicknames.One of my nicknames is KILLER. Cuz I just like. . . kill things, like a lot of food and things like that."

Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

Now, it is important at this time that I point out that Reggie seems perfectly normal. He is speaking coherently, doesn't seem to have any mental issues at all. Nice enough guy. Very helpful with everyone through the entire bottle return process, helping other customers Etc. Obviously he's worked too many hours though, because something definitely isn't quite right with Reggie. And I'm a nice enough fellow. I don't mind talking to lonely people. But there's 36 other people in line. Plenty of people for Reggie to discuss his nicknames with. I just want to return these damn cans, buy some moo-juice and some TV dinners and go the hell home.

Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!

Cannot Read Label

Reg: "No seriously! Where do you work?"

"ACME Bottle And Can. We're a new company. Very small. Only one employee. (Clink! <Whrrrr> Clunk!) Welp! That's the last one, got to go "Reggie!"

"WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!" sez Reggie "Killer" Bottleguy. "You forgot a ticket Thor!"

He hands me one of my return slips. I have 14 of them at this point because he keeps asking me questions and slowing me down enough to where the machine just spits the ticket out because I'm taking too long feeding it. I thank Reggie, and push the cart out of the bottle return aisle so fast I could blow the doors off of a Mopar Roadrunner in the quarter mile.

I get into the store, finally, grab a couple things from the fruit section, hit the cereal aisle and I see two employees talking real secretive like. One, with his mask down, is inches from the other guy's face and speaking in what he thinks is a whisper, but is actually loud enough to be heard for two aisles.

The guy talking looks about 60. He has a long grey, greasy, curly, ponytail that should have been cut off decades ago. Hasn't shaved in 3 or 4 days. And thick glasses with fingerprints all over them. The other employee is a 30-something guy, a little taller, that keeps trying to backup from ponytail guy but is not able to escape.

Comingnin at the tail end of the conversation, Ponytail guy says, "Now that was fun! Just like back when we would get in trouble for lighting matches in Grandpa's Barn and catching the grass on fire!"

Not even bothering to slow down from my 200 mile an hour grocery cart drag race, I swiped a box of Honeycomb off the shelf, rounded the corner on two wheels, and headed for the damn register. There is some strange shit going on at Kroger people. Think I might find some other place to shop for a little while until this blows over.



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