The lady at the counter was soon underwhelmed by my purchases. Only about a third of the pile had price tags. Well Shit .......... No bigger monkey wrench in the works exists at Mardens than plopping down anything without a price tag. Days are ruined, Life sucks, and it is all because I had the indecency to not check the CD's for tags before I decided to buy.
I knew this to be a cardinal sin as I had on a previous occasion or two ruined some other Marden's employee's day, or maybe even their week. I dutifully hung my head low and mumbled,"Sorry Ma'am."
Her piercing stare was all I saw as she reached for the loud speaker mike. "PRICE CHECK AISLE 2".
Some moments passed as I endured scathing looks from customers and sales folks alike. Only one sales aisle open and this flounder has not just one thing to price check, he has a dozen. I know everyone hated me. I deserved it. I knew the rules. My car was licensed in Maine. Go to Marden's and keep up or go somewhere else like Job Lot. Fuckin Texas Leaguer. I know that is what everyone within eyesight was thinking.
Even with my eyes diverted to the floor, I sensed her presence. Not so much saw or heard her; I guess I just knew an employee with pull was in my general vicinity and getting closer with every step. A large and imposing figure blocked out my sunlight and said, "That damn CD box again." Her withering stare was directed not at me but at the sales lady who actually bothered her while she was catching up on the latest harlequin romance to come in with the latest gaylord full of books.
At first, Sales Lady looked rebellious. But Queen of the Counters was the big bad ass broad with the stare to end all stares. She said, "Got a piece of cardboard?"
Sales Lady hesitated just a second too long for the Queen's liking. "Well, do you?" And then she looked down her nose as if to say, "What's the matter, don't understand English?"
Cardboard produced, the Queen took the 3 steps it took to reach the gaylord full of trouble I had dipped into. Queen of Counters stapled a cardboard sign to the bin that read "50 Cents or as Marked". Turning back to Sales Lady, "Got it? ........ Learn to make a decision ferchrisakes. " And with a kind of a whinny, the Queen of the Counters cantered back towards the rear of the store.
Meanwhile, behind me, the only cash register functioning continued to back up. At least I was at the front of it. ......Poor bastards. There's always someone and sometimes we have to be that someone, that guy, that poor bastard everyone in line will hate until they drive away in their cars.
I paid my $12 plus tax and hit the road. As it turns out, there are at least 6 standout CDs from that gaylord. "The Country Gentlemen" was my favorite. I saw them live , in person , up close with my brother in the mid 1960s at the Red Fox Tavern in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. Them, Flatt and Scruggs, and Doc Watson were responsible for my life long love affair with Bluegrass music.