Shelf snatching – The new terror

This actually happened about a week and a half ago, but I forgot to mention it. It’s not really important when it happened anyway.

Driving around a small town close to where I live, looking for a parking space so that I could park and pay some money into the bank, I spotted some shelf units outside Coopers hardware store. It turns out they were the units that Coopers used to display some of their stock and they no longer needed them.

They were just simple, plain shelf units, nothing fancy, just good enough to do their intended job. They would be ideal in my own stock room.

I decided I would go round the block after I had been to the bank and park outside Coopers so it would be easy to load the shelf units into my car.
I found a parking space, went to the bank & paid in the money and set off round the block.

When I got back to Coopers there were no parking spaces available directly outside so i parked just across the road on double yellows. Naughty I know, but I didn’t intend to be there long, besides, I was loading.

As I was getting out of the car I saw a woman standing by the units, quite close to the units in fact, almost like she was guarding them. My first thought was that she had probably already bought them and was stopping anyone else from grabbing them or whatever.
I decided to go into Coopers anyway and see if they had any more.
As I walked across the road I decided I would just check with the woman first, so I asked her “Excuse me, I noticed you guarding these units, have you bought them”?
She replied “Yes, I am about to”.

I didn’t think much of that at first, more or less assuming that her husband or someone would be inside paying for them while she stood as sentinel.

Once inside the store I walked to the counter and stood behind the only other person at the counter, an elderly gentleman, and waited my turn to be served.
I guessed this elderly bloke was either the husband or something to do with the woman outside guarding the units.
The bloke paid for whatever he had bought, received his invoice and walked out of the store, right past the sentinel woman.

My turn to be served..

I said to the woman behind the counter “Did that bloke just pay for the shelf units outside? It’s just that there is a woman out there guarding them who says she is about to buy them and I assumed he was paying for them”.

The store woman replied “No, he just had some paint brushes and a few bits & pieces. Nobody has paid for the units and nobody has been in to reserve them. If you want them and wish to pay for them now then they’re yours. First come first served.”

Great, so I said I would have two of the three they had left. Perfect for my requirements.

I paid the woman and got my receipt. She wrote out some sold tickets to put on the units and called a bloke over to get two of them and put the sold tickets on them and take them out the back for me to collect later. I was told to go round to the loading area at the back of the store when I collect them so I didn’t have to worry about parking.

As I got into my car I glanced across at the bloke putting the sold tickets on the units and the woman was speaking to him, but I thought nothing of it.

I went away and did whatever else I had to do that day and when I returned later I drove straight to the back as instructed.

I rang the bell for attention and the same bloke who had put the tickets on and brought the units in for me answered the door.
A huge grin spread across his face and he said “I was expecting you to have black eyes when you got here”.

I asked why and he replied “You remember that woman who was guarding the units? Well when I went out and put the sold tickets on she went ballistic, ranting & raving about how she’d told me she was about to buy them and she wouldn’t expect that sort of thing of this area, maybe London, but not here.. etc etc”

Apparently she had gone off at some considerable pace down the road to look for me. She obviously didn’t realise that I was in a car for one thing, but more interestingly (to me at least) is the wonder at what she might have done had she actually found me. Did she intend to tell me off like some naughty little boy? Maybe she would try and reason with me and get me to apologise and maybe let her have the units after all. Who knows, but it’s a crazy thing to come running after someone (particularly someone who looks like I do) to start ranting and raving about something when they clearly have no grounds for it.
Had she found me I would most likely (depending on her attitude, but from what I can make out by what the bloke said, she was none too happy) have calmly and politely told her to piss off.

The bloke in the store mentioned that she had even asked him where I work, to which he replied “How the hell should I know”?

Quite right too!

So anyway, I loaded the units into my car and thanked the bloke for his help. He said that he should thank me on behalf of the staff and other customers for making their day.

I said to him that I wish now I’d bought all three units. He said he wished I had too.

Well, that was just a little bit of excitement in a relatively standard small town.

The whole thing about it to me is (and I still don’t know for sure what she was doing) that I assume she had spotted these units and decided she wanted them, but didn’t have enough cash on her so had stood guard over them while her husband or somebody went either home or to an ATM.
Whatever the situation though, she was in the wrong. Maybe not in the wrong exactly, but had no right to be ranting & raving about how bad I was and running down the road after me.

What she should have done was go into the shop, explain that she wanted them but didn’t have enough money on her, maybe put a small deposit on them, but I doubt they would have even been bothered about that and get them to reserve them for her. The sold tickets would have had her name on them instead of mine and she would now have the units instead of me.

I mean it’s like me being in Tesco with someone and realising I need bread, but there is only one loaf left. I know, I’ll stand and guard that loaf and tell people I’m about to buy it while my friend goes off to draw some cash for me.

Anyway, the units are great, perfect for my needs and I’m glad I got them. I do not feel guilty, nor sorry for the woman. It was her own fault for not following a correct and recognised procedure.

I just have to keep an eye out now whenever I’m in the town. I imagine she will be keeping her out for me now. She’ll no doubt want to give me a thorough ticking off. 🙂


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