Did I mention that Civilization 5 was released this week? I have had a 20 plus year Love Affair with good ol’ Civ. We go way back to playing the board game (drunk) when we (The 313 TFS/AMU) were TDY to Spain and Turkey and other Garden Spots.
I don’t remember going to midnight releases. But I did this time. Don’t confuse this with jumping in the car and running to the store. Lucky Puppy HQ is at a remote desert location where we drive 40 miles to get to the food. To keep from wasting time and gas I contacted the Wal Mart and chatted with the manager of the electronics department. We confirmed that there were ten copies in the store and were locked up in the Security Locker (the one nearest the door).
Ever walk into Wal Mart at midnight? There is a Movie Noir feel to it. It’s quiet. The crowd is smaller. It’s usually nice. Tuesday was different. When I walked in I started for a second thinking the store was closed. I couldn’t see another human being. You think the weirdest things on midnight runs. Did the Zombie Apocolypse happen while I was driving? The highway seemed oddly vacant. Maaaaybe. Oh no, good there’s someone. I spied a fellow shopper and then was wrong about that. It was a WalMart employee without the blue smock. He was stocking? Maybe.
I made a Bee Line to the back of the store. Dodging wet floor signs and stockers. I was checking to see if my Future Television was really thin when a nice old lady asked me if I needed help. “No, just looking”. “If you need help,” she continued, cheerfully ignoring me, “I can call for someone who works this department because I don’t”. Surprise! Another Wal Mart type without the smock. Maybe it was the Wally World version of Hawaiian Shirt Tuesday?
I then wandered the aisles of a deserted electronic department. I was about to give up my quest for Civ 5 in favor of Trueblood Season Two when “D” walked up. Smockless D did in fact work the electronics department. When I told them there were ten copies in back he cheerfully said he’d “Go look”. Back a couple of minutes later, his hands were empty. He questioned me about the release date and I assured him that he had ten copies in inventory and that they were stashed in “The Security Locker”. Back he goes.
Alone again I start to notice that I am REALLY alone. There are no people and very little noise. The noise I do hear could be shoppers or stockers. It could also be large, thought to be extinct lizards or (God Forbid) Zombies.
Just as I start to panic, D is back to inform me that he found the Security Cage and had summoned a manager with The Key.
Trueblood calls to me. I could grab it and get the Hell out of here. But then, D is doing such a good job. Yeah, but I’m the only customer. Then it hit me. I am the only customer. I poked my head out of electronics and scanned up and down the aisle. No one in Kid’s Clothes or Shoes. The other way. Toys and Automotive…empty. Hmmm?
D’s back carrying a small cardboard box. He knifes it open to reveal the treasures within. He hands me a copy as if it were ripe papaya fresh off the tree. “Yep, that’s it”, I said. A quick slam-bam-thank-you-Ma’am at the cashier counter and I’m hauling ass to the front of the store.
Along the way, I spot “M” who is wearing a manager name tag but still no smock. I ask him if he runs electronics. He doesn’t but “D” (different D) does.
Said D can be found smoking out front. Good, that’s where I’m headed.
I find a small herd of Wal Mart smokers by the front door. Still not sure if they work there I ask the oldest one if he is D the Manager. “No, D is on the other end.” I turn to spot another Smoking Herd by the other door. “Whatcha need?” says Old Guy. I tell him I wanted to complement D’s hard yet cheerful work in electronics. D’s manager D, is then informed by radio. “D got an Atta Boy from a customer just now”.
Wow, that was efficient. “Quick Robin! To the Batmobile!”
Back on the highway heading home, I was convinced I had been the only customer in Wal Mart.