--R. A. Wilson
By R. A. Wilson
When I first met Scooter, I thought he was loud, obnoxious, and an idiot. After knowing him, I realize he is just loud, obnoxious, and an idiot with funny stories. He will be the first person to admit he is loud and obnoxious. As for an idiot, I do not mean he is stupid, far from it; he has just done some really idiotic things.
As good as the stories about Scooter are, he has told me some about other associates and customers that had me falling out of my chair in laughter. He was department manager of electronics before Allison, and Joeltron started in electronics under Scooter. Joeltron (then just Joel) was cleaning the TV screens with window cleaner and paper towels, using an aluminum ladder to reach the shelves. Scooter recommended shutting off the TV’s before cleaning them. Joel did not.
The reason Scooter recommended shutting off the TV is a simple one. The “tube” television is actually called a CRT, or cathode ray tube. A cathode ray is a beam of positively charged particles used to create TV images, but this attracts a large negative charge on the outside of the screen. When Joeltron wiped the screens, the negative charge passed to him as static electricity. And when his hand touched the metal ladder, there was an arching snap of light. It shocked Joeltron so badly that he almost fell off the ladder.
Nora, who worked in the department then, did the same thing, but she did fall from the ladder and onto the concrete floor. Sitting in the personal office afterward, Scooter said to her, “I give you a seven.”
“A seven?” Nora asked.
“It was ten on the dive, but you didn’t get your legs together on the reentry.”
Nora laughed, but Cleo from personnel hit him with a clip board.
Back in those days, the videogame case was different. The company had just changed from a locking metal rack to the glass cases. These older glass doors slide shut and lock, overlapping a few inches. Once, Scooter found a young boy had slid his hand between the overlapping doors and grabbed a videogame inside the case. Once in hand, he could not pull his arm back out. He was struggling with this when Scooter approached him.
The boy demanded, “Open the door.”
Scooter shook his head and laughed. “Let go of the game.”
“Open the case.”
“No, drop the game.”
The boy then tried to remove the game with only two fingers holding it, but that still was too wide to fit through the small opening. “Open the case.”
“Drop the game,” Scooter reasserted. “I can’t open it with your arm in the doors. They slide over each other, making your hole there much smaller.”
The boy’s mother then came, seeing Scooter and her son arguing. “Open the case for him,” she demanded.
Scooter stepped out of the way. “Look at what your son is doing.”
Her face became red as she was embarrassed for her son’s theft attempt. He eventually dropped the game, and his mom did not buy a game for him. Now, the glass cases latch together instead of overlap, so no one can do that anymore. Apparently, that was not an isolated incidence.
Scooter obviously is no longer manager of electronics. That change has to do with ten-thousand dollars of loss. The problem was, nobody knew what was missing. Scooter, being the department manager, was the fall guy. He was blamed and demoted. It was later discovered that an employee of our distributor of CD’s and some DVD’s was stealing them to sell back to the store. It was too late for Scooter then, as Allison was hired in his place. Lovable Scooter was removed from the department after an argument with Allison that involved his tongue being stuck out when he blew her a raspberry. Scooter in electronics became Scooter in sporting goods. He is still the same ol’ Scooter though.
Recently, three high school boys wearing letterman jackets walked through sporting goods and picked up a can of buck scent, which is concentrated doe urine in aerosol form used for hunting. The can acts like a grenade when the top is opened. It first fizzes, but then pops, creating a cloud of urine, and it cannot be stopped from popping once opened. Scooter watched one of the kids open the can, and the group started giggling like a group of adolescent girls talking about boys. They walked to the aisle of hunting clothes and placed the can down and walked away.
Scooter followed them, knowing they were up to something, and his rage peaked when the can was opened. He picked if off the floor and hurried after the boys, who were walking away. Scooter grabbed the one who opened the can and twirled him around. Holding the boy by the shirt, Scooter shoved the can under the kid’s nose.
“You think this is funny? You think this is funny?” Scooter said.
The kid’s eyes were watering as he tried to pull away, saying, “Dude.”
“No.” Scooter gripped tighter. “You think this is funny? Here’s how it’s going to work. You’re gonna leave. I do not want to see you in my department again with your buddies. If I do, here’s how it’s gonna work. I’m going to call management, their going to call the cops, and you are going to go to jail for vandalism.”
“Let me go.” The boy struggled a little.
“Get out.” Scooter pointed in the direction of the doors, removing the buck scent from under his nose.
“You can’t make me leave.”
“Oh yes I can.” Scooter walked him and his friends to the front and through the doors. The kid looked like he had been tear gassed with tears streaming down his face. Scooter went to the bathroom afterward and washed my hands as the urine got all over him. The smell was nauseous, and it stuck to his hand, looking like a brown sugar gel. That rancid smell stuck in his nose, making him vomit.
The can of buck scent was the third to be opened in two weeks time, prompting them to be placed behind the sporting good’s counter. Scooter did not know what was happening the first time he saw one go off in the department as he had never actually seen one before. It was sitting in the middle of sporting goods, hissing. Scooter went to pick the buck scent up to put it away, and when he was standing over the can, it popped in his face. It amazes me he finished his shift after that, smelling like he fell asleep in a field and a herd of deer squatted over him.
The third one was an accident, having exploded in the box that came on the freight truck. The poor guys in receiving could not figure out where the stench was coming from, but Scooter figured it out when he opened the box.
It was not even an hour after the boys set off the buck scent when Scooter, Dean, and Stan heard a noise coming from the furniture aisle. Scooter headed that way with Dean following, and they found a group of high school girls gathered around an empty spot on the big metal racks that furniture freight was kept on. Four girls had climbed into the hole, though it was only eighteen inches wide, eighteen inches high, and about four feet deep. These girls were crammed in there like clowns in a car. The six other girls standing around were snapping pictures and giggling like the boys were when they first opened the buck scent.
By this point, Scooter was so mad he yelled, “Don’t you kids have anything better to do on a school night then tear this place apart?”
The four crawled out, and the girls walk away, giggling all the while. Scooter later said, “I wanted to go all King Kong and rip someone’s arms right off their shoulders. I just feel like giving up. They just destroy whatever they want to destroy, and you cannot do anything about it.”
And then there was the rocket scientist, as Scooter calls him. This guy came in with his fifteen year old son, approached the sporting good’s counter, and said, “We want two non-resident water foul licenses.”
These licenses cannot be bought at store level. One needs to mail into the state to enter a lottery, and from that, names are drawn for a chance to buy one. Scooter tried to explain this to the guy, but Scooter could not finish before being interrupted.
“I want you to sell me a non-resident water foul license.”
“Yes, you can,” he asserted.
“Can I see you’re ID?”
“I don’t got my ID.”
“Well, I need to see your ID to sell you any kind of license at all.”
“No, no. You don’t understand. I’m from Iowa.” He patted his chest as he said this, like he did not need ID because he was from Iowa.
“Sir, a law is a law.” Scooter then showed him a board hanging above the counter that states we cannot sell licenses without valid ID. This still was not good enough for this genius. Scooter should have known this guy probably could not read the sign anyway. Beth in sporting goods also tried to explain it, but she had no better luck. Scooter even called the game warden, who talked to the guy over the phone, saying, “Without an ID, you do not get a license.”
As Scooter hung up the phone, the guy said, “Well, I’m gonna go down town and buy a god damn hunting license. I’ll see you in about half an hour, and you are going to sell me my duck stamp.”
Scooter was tired of being yelled at for the better part of twenty minutes for no reason, so he was glad when the man left. But then he actually came back. He shoved a license in Scooter’s face and said, “I’ve got my god damn hunting license right here, so sell me a duck stamp.”
Beth asked, “Where did you get that hunting license?”
“I got it from Freedom.” He even told them the name of the guy that sold it to him.
At that point, Beth left the counter and went to the personal office to call the game warden once more, but this time to report the gas station. A couple weeks later, sporting goods received a call from Freedom, saying their license computer could not connect to the network. Freedom then sent their customers to Wal-Mart. We reported them, and they sent their customers to us!
While Beth did that, Scooter sold the guy a duck stamp, which is needed in addition to the license to hunt duck. Afterward, when the man seemed placated, Scooter asked to see the license, knowing he could not have the right license. He looked it over and said, “Uh, this is a non-resident small game license for hunting pheasant. You still don’t have a duck license.”
The man began stamping his foot, throwing a ten year old temper tantrum in front of his fifteen year old son. “God damnit.” He asked to return the stamp, and Scooter told him he needed to go to the service desk. The guy sent his son to do that so he could continue to yell at Scooter.
By now, Scooter was enjoying the conversation. “Now you’ve spent two-hundred and twenty dollars, and you still don’t have a duck license. Here is the other fact. You drove across two states without a driver’s license.” Scooter wishes he called the cops when the man left the store to be picked up for that alone.
When the rocket scientist’s son came back, he said, “Well, I’m still going to go hunting.”
Pheasant season was weeks off, so his license was no good at the time, and he planned to go hunting duck with no license or stamp. Scooter likes to imagine him sitting in jail with his son right next to him. Perhaps they could afford bail if they had not bought that defunct license.