Posted tagged ‘Bill Adair’

The Thrifty Drug Store Caper

August 15, 2009

The Thrifty Drug Store Caper by Jack

It was a dark and stormy night…well, actually it was a sunny and hot day like it usually is in Fresno. Must have been about almost 30 years ago. Emmy was driving her Oldsmobile station-wagon (the get-away car) and along for the ride was her mother, Erma, Billy and Traci, both 10 to 12 years old, Patty and myself. Come to think of it, Susan must have been an accomplice too, where else would she be? That Olds was as big as a bus. We had gone to the Thrifty Drug Store in Selma which was one of our regular haunts at the time. Emmy or Patty wanted something, probably a pattern or something totally lame like that.
I was expected to take care of the kids and they had spotted some of those mechanical toys that businesses placed in front of the store to capture kids quarters. They hopped on the spaceship or horse or whatever and I started feeding quarters. One of the machines didn’t work. It took quarters all right but didn’t do anything. So, I went into the store and told a clerk about the problem. The clerk was unsympathetic and said I should call the person who put the machines there. I said it was their responsibility since it was in front of their store and plugged into their electricity. We weren’t getting anywhere so I asked to speak to the manager.
I cooled my heels for a time and by now Emmy, Erma and Patty had come over to see what the commotion was all about. Typically, Patty told me I should forget it but Erma seemed to agree that it wasn’t right. I didn’t need much encouragement since I felt outraged that this store would condone ripping off little kids (who rides spaceships in front of stores?).
The manager finally showed up and we immediately got into a heated argument. When I saw that I wasn’t going to get satisfaction, I walked over to the candy counter and picked up a piece of candy. I said something like, “Take this out of what you owe me”! Then headed for the door. Emmy and Patty had already headed for the car with the kids and Erma in tow. The manager followed me out yelling something about shoplifting and calling the cops. As we left I saw him writing something on a piece of paper.
All the way to the Adair’s house I was on the receiving end of a steady barrage of tongue-lashing from Patty and concern from Emmy about illegal activities. Erma tried to defend me and I don’t know what the kids were thinking. Anyway, we got to the Adair’s and were unloading the car when a police cruiser pulled in and wanted to know who the owner of the car was.

Fred,Emy,Patty & Erma

Fred,Emy,Patty & Erma

Apparently, taking a candy bar from Thrifty’s was a major crime in Selma and required an immediate response from Selma’s finest. I don’t really remember how this situation got resolved but I imagine Patty and Emmy must have dealt with it because I didn’t end up in jail. Left to me I would have probably escalated the situation into some kind of stand off with the cops since Fred generally had an arsenal handy. And I had right on my side, after all. Come to think of it, that must have been the CHP since Adair’s lived in Fowler and Selma cops wouldn’t have jurisdiction.
Anyway, this is the story Billy remembers and suggested I tell. Must have made an impression on HIM! I hope he learned from my example to stand up for yourself and not to take shit off anybody!


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