Monday, August 20, 2012

Fayetteville, Arkansas: The strangest idea for a grocery store in the world?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 1:12 PM

At the south end of Fayetteville, where O’Reilly Auto Parts is now located, and across from Walgreens drug store, once stood a grand experiment in grocery stores, the sort that I have only seen once, and doubt I’ll ever encounter again.

Long before the advent of dollar stores, this was kind of a preview of things to come.

Prices already being slashed to the bare minimum, there was one key innovation which management thought would make the store the most popular in the region.

It was so simple, really.

The price for the items was already marked on the shelves; why waste money hiring an actual human being to mark prices (this being the days before the Satanic bar code took over the world) on individual boxes, cartons and cans.

Why not just leave black markers on the shelves, and have the customers write down the prices they saw for the products?

What . . . oh, what . . . could possibly go wrong with a brilliant scheme like that?

When the woman I was living with at the time and I visited the store just once in their brief existence upon this earth, we couldn’t even find any markers to write down the prices on what we were going to buy.

But rumors had reached our ears of what many people were doing when they descended upon the store.

Just imagine. Peas for a nickel. Bread for a dime. Milk for a quarter. Oh, yes. We had what you might call "creative pricing."

The clerks, being virtually chained to the registers, knew virtually nothing about the true price of the food that many people seemed to be, in effect, stealing. People from all walks of life, I might add.

Then again, why should they care too much? They were probably being paid dirt wages to begin with, by people who obviously didn’t care too much about their own business.

The store died a quiet death, never to be heard from again.

******

The Adventure of Scott and his Amazing Nunchucks: For all I know, they are still on the roof . . .

Most states don’t actually ban the possession of nunchucks ( also known as nunchaku) which consist of two short sticks connected by a rope or chain. If used correctly, they can reach high velocities and can strike a person with tremendous force, resulting in broken bones, concussions and facial injuries.

But they just look so cool in the movies, don’t they?

I told you all that to tell you this . . .

A few decades ago (was I even alive that long ago?) while working at Mexican Original in Fayetteville, one of my friends was Scott, who had an intense love for all things Kung Fu and in particular Bruce Lee related. As a result of which, he had bought for himself all sorts of paraphernalia, and constantly practiced his “martial arts.”

One of his most treasured items was the pair of nunchucks he had bought, and worked on religiously every day, to perfect his skill. Of course, we used to joke that the only thing that Scott had ever hit with them was Scott - in the face by accident (true) - and probably no one else.

Go ahead and laugh, he said. One day our lives might well depend upon Scott coming to our rescue.

But one day the music died for Scott.

Long after the grocery store mentioned above had died an ignoble death, and nothing lived there but hopes for the future, Scott would go down to the parking lot and practice his moves. According to Scott (and guys never stretch the truth when it comes to talking about an ability they have, do they?) he was getting pretty damned good.

Until his run in with the Fuzz.

Johnny Law. Old Bill. The Blue Meanies.

Well, I’m not sure what color uniform Fayetteville police officers wore in the Olden Days of the mid-1980s, but this guy was most definitely mean, in Scott's book. And I believe this story to be true, because people - especially guys - don’t come to work and whine about such a humiliating incident unless it is one hundred percent true.

The cop stopped his patrol car and came over to Scott, who was busy vanquishing dozens of fists of fury.

“What are you doing?” her asked.

Scott explained it to him, as if to a child. At this point, perhaps he shouldn’t have treated the cop like he was stupid.

“Let me see those,” said the cop. Scott obliged.

Whereupon Fayetteville’s Finest promptly threw them on the roof of the abandoned building.

“Now go home,” the dragon told Scott.

If Scott was looking for some sort of solidarity from, fellow members of the working class the following Monday morning, when he told us about his martial emasculation, he was sore disappointed.

We laughed like delighted children at an afternoon tea party.

And then we laughed some more.

The story had a happy ending, though. He bought a new pair, but made sure never to tell any of anything at all about them.

*****

Second Amendment News: Woman killed in Bentonville

“Help me, help me,” was what someone on Ouachita Drive in Bentonville heard on Sunday. The cry for help was followed by several gunshots.

According to the Northwest Arkansas Times, Bentonville police had gotten a 911 call from a woman saying that she needed help.

The man who lives in the house was described by a neighbor as “really nice.”

****

Quote of the Day

Ten men in our country could buy the whole world and ten million can’t buy enough to east. - Will Rogers

sdrake@cox.net

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