South Park Lady

 southparkmall.pngDear South Park Lady,

I want to thank you for cutting in front of me at Dick’s Sporting Goods at South Park Mall, around 12:30PM today. I can’t begin to tell you how you made my day.
You see, I only had one item, a T-ball bat I was picking up for my son. He just started playing T-ball last week. It’s really quite comical to watch a bunch of 4 year-olds attempt to play baseball. Some of the other kids had their own bats, so I thought I’d surprise him with one of his own.

So when you slipped in front of me from behind the candy bar display, you caught me a little off-guard. I noticed you didn’t appear to have any sporting goods. You only had your purse, your open wallet, and an opened Hershey’s Take5 candy bar. Oh yeah, and a very large mouthful of chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and pretzel goodness. I came to the conclusion that you must have been really jonesing for chocolate and decided to start munching even before you had paid for it. It happens.

South Park Lady, I decided right then and there that I was going to cut you some slack. Maybe you really didn’t see me coming and didn’t intentionally cut in front of me. I decided I would immediately cease and desist cursing you under my breath.

Then, instead of pulling out one of your many credit cards (I figure you had no less than 30), you pulled out a Dick’s receipt.

You were attempting to return a half-eaten chocolate bar.

The look on the cashier’s face was priceless. Surely, there must be something up with this candy bar.

“Has it gone bad,” the cashier asked?

I couldn’t see the offensive candy, but I imagined it must be squirming with maggots. I remembered hearing that old story as a kid – the one where someone was eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and when they looked at it after the first bite, there were maggots inside. To this day, I still break my Peanut Butter Cups in half before taking a bite.

“No. I just don’t like it,” you mumbled through a mouthful of the very candy bar you were trying to return.

When the cashier turned to the cashier beside him, and asked her advice, the look on her face was precisely the same as his. It was, to use a cliché, the classic deer-in-the-headlights look. I had a particularly nasty image of someone appearing from the hunting department and putting the poor cashiers out of their misery.

“Is something wrong with it,” she asked?

By this time you were clutching the candy wrapper to your chest. Still chewing, you shook your head, “I don’t like it.”

A third employee just happened to be walking by and caught the second exchange. All three cashiers were looking at each other, thoroughly confused. My friend and I were struggling to keep from totally breaking down into fits of laughter. It wasn’t so much your ridiculous request, South Park Lady — it was the looks on their faces! They all started looking around for the manager who, lucky for us, just happened to be headed our way.

The third kid stopped the manager, and explained your chocolaty displeasure. The manager looked at you, then looked at my friend and me. (We were both snickering loudly at that point.) With a familiar confused (and slightly annoyed) look on his face, the manager asked the following four words to all six of us standing there:

“Is this a joke?”

I’m sorry my friend and I laughed so hard. I think the manager thought maybe it really was a joke — that we and the cashiers had put you up to it as a prank on him.

At that point you obviously decided this was one of those rare instances where you weren’t going to get what you wanted. Maybe you realized what a ridiculous fool you were being. I’m sure you would have done a better job yelling at that manager if it weren’t for all the chocolate/pretzel/caramel mixture caked in your mouth. I think your case might have been stronger if you had spit it out on the floor and “raised some hell,” as we True Southerners are fond of saying. You might have even gotten your dollar back. You walked out, hands in the air, presumably never to return to that awful candy store again.

You’re obviously very bored. Hubby working long hours at the bank? Running out of stuff to buy? Bummer. Since Dick’s didn’t work out for you, I have some other suggestions for a fun day at South Park:

* Hallmark: Buy some greeting cards and promptly sign them and address the envelopes. Demand a refund because you wrote the wrong address, signed the wrong name, etc.

* Neiman Marcus/Macy’s/Nordstrom: Buy the most expensive perfume and immediately apply it. Demand a refund because it smells like horse piss. Bonus: Demand free soap to wash it off.

* Head across the street to the Taj Ma-Teeter and buy a big, fat cucumber. As soon as you leave the checkout lane, head back to the produce department and pleasure yourself with it. Return the cucumber for being “too bumpy.”

Really thanks. I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile. Everyone I’ve told this story to today has enjoyed the shock value of a moron trying to return a half-eaten candy bar — but for the real comedy, you had to be there. It was the looks on their faces! My kids and grandkids are going to hear the story of the “Crazy South Park Lady Who Returns Half-Eaten Candy Bars at Sporting Goods Stores” for years to come. Thank you, South Park Lady.

Oh, and thank you for reminding me why I quit going to South Park Mall.

Thanks to the poster on Craig’s List

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