I may never forgive myself for that pun. Nor should I.
The Walmart where I work has a very nice walking path that runs through a bit of woods and comes out near Bennington’s industrial park. On my lunch break, after I’ve eaten, I’ve started walking around the back of the building, all the way to the end of Price Chopper plaza and around the front. It’s a nice walk, fresh air, perfect view of the Bennington Monument, and very little of interest to distract me from getting my 10K in.
As I was starting my walk I saw a kid of about ten or twelve at the oldest, running down the road, past the outdoor portion of the lawn and garden area. I didn’t think anything of it at first, figuring that maybe his parents were parked behind Walmart for some reason. Or maybe his home was somewhere on the back roads. But when I didn’t hear or see any adults following him, I was little concerned.
If you’re unfamiliar with how a garden center at a grocery or department store works, usually the “out door portion” is just a gated part of the store that’s mostly open to fresh air . This boy went behind that portion where there are a couple of fire exits and a few large containers but otherwise nothing that would give a kid any reason to be back there.
Then I saw him meeting another boy of about the same age. This other boy had a large backpack full of movies and an armful of more things. Now I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. I just asked, “Does a grown up know where you are?” Same thing I ask any kid who might be alone in the store, just to try to avoid an unnecessary Code Adam. They both said yes and started walking towards the parking lot at the front of the store. Then I asked them, “Did you pay for all those?”
They said yes, again. Two things to remember is that I was on my lunch break, so not on the clock. Also, I had no authority to stop them and it wouldn’t have been safe to start chasing them. So I went back to the lawn and garden entrance and as the kids had made it halfway down the parking lot to the bike trail that leads to North Side Drive, I snapped a photo of them with my phone. Not a very good one, not a lot of detail. But the backpacks were visible in the photo. I just wanted something to show or AP associate.
I went inside and had the CSM covering Lawn and Garden to call the AP over and I explained what happened and pointed the kids out, showed him the photo, etc. He did he what he had to do and I went back to my walk.
The walk didn’t take me more than twenty minutes. I even stopped in the pet store because seeing the fish and turtles sometimes relaxes me. When I got back to the store, I still had about ten minutes left to my break, so I planned my shopping list (which included keto friendly foods, more on that later) and I stopped in electronics to look at cameras. The AP associate asked me if I had a minute. He had two large backpacks with him, one that I recognized.
“You must have scared the shit out of them,” he said. “Because look at what we found on the bike trail.”
He opened the bags and inside there were some movies, a ton of YuGiOh, Pokemon, and Magic the Gathering trading cards, and a megaton of X-Box game cards. He’s still totaling the amount because he is curious how much those kids would have gotten away with if I hadn’t seen them.
For the record, our AP guy is going up in the ranks and now there are two AP associate openings available at our store. I’ve applied for one of them. Wish me luck.