I was Krogering on an ordinary Saturday afternoon when a slightly panicked voice interrupted Michael Bolton on the supermarket PA system.
“Security, code blue! Security code blue!”
I didn’t know what ‘code blue’ meant, but I hadn’t heard that much anxiety in a Kroger employee’s voice since the time a Spider Man backpack had been left in one of the kiddie carts. Eagerly, I pushed my Lean Cuisine-laden buggy to the front of the store, where cashiers and bag boys were craning their necks at each register in order to see what was going on over by the exit. Hubs had come to the grocery with me, and as he joined me in the checkout line, I filled him in on what was going down.
“Did you hear the announcement?” I whispered excitedly.
“Security code blue!” I said. “Some guy just said ‘Security code blue’ over the PA! How could you not have heard?”
“Security code blue? What was that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t know, but I’m not leaving until we find out!”
We got to the front of the line and Hubs asked the cashier what was going on.
“We nabbed a guy trying to steal a cart full of groceries,” she said importantly.
“Good job,” Hubs said. “You had to get him before he got out the door, didn’t you?” He looked over at me. “Otherwise, he’d have gotten off scot-free.” The woman nodded.
“Why’s that?” I asked him.
“Store policy,” he replied.
“Herman told me,” he said. I nodded, satisfied by his answer. Herman was the guy in produce and, like a potato, he had a lot of eyes. In the back of his head. Or something. Anyway, I looked over at where the commotion had been going on and that’s when I spotted it.
“I bet I know which cart it was,” I said. The cashier followed my glance and laughed wryly. Beside the exit was a buggy loaded down with cases of Miller Light and diapers. That was it. Beer and diapers. It was kind of sad, really, because that meant the thief was someone’s daddy.
“This kind of thing happens every Saturday,” the cashier said, shaking her head. “There’s always some weird shit going down.”
“Oh, really?” I laughed. This particular Kroger was the most stereotypical suburban neighborhood see-everyone-you-know supermarket I’d ever seen. I was here almost every day sometimes, and the only thing of interest that I had ever seen was Cinderella. Until now, anyway.
After we’d gotten home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the attempted crime. (I know what you’re thinking and I won’t dispute it. Lately, I don’t get out much.)
“If you’re going to steal diapers,” I wondered aloud to my husband while I was cooking dinner that evening, “Why would you steal Kroger diapers?”
“I really don’t know,” Hubs replied.
I thought some more. “I guess it was their regular brand,” I mused. “Because if he had any sense, he would have gone for the Pampers. They weren’t on sale this week, you know. Thank God I had a coupon or that might have been me running for the exit.”
Later, in bed, I couldn’t sleep.
“Who’s ‘security’ anyway?”
“Huh?” Hubs asked sleepily.
“Kroger doesn’t have security,” I said, staring at the ceiling. “So who exactly responds to ‘Security, code blue?’ The fat guy in the deli?” Despite himself, Hubs laughed.
“The old lady who gives out samples? Maybe she’s a black belt in Jujitsu and the wieners on toothpicks are just her cover,” I said.
“Goodnight, Lindsay,” Hubs answered.
As Hubs began snoring, I thought some more. Perhaps Kroger had an undercover guy, like an air marshal, who spent eight hours a day just … shopping. All he’d do was push around a cart and wait for someone to choose a few too many telltale items. Baby formula, maybe, or a case of Preparation H. Suddenly, I sat bolt upright. I was in the throes of an a-ha moment, one that went something like this: ‘Security’ was an undercover Kroger Marshal! Of course! I mean, how else could you explain why my Kroger offered both condoms and pregnancy tests right on the shelves when everyone else locked them up?
The moral of this story is, well, actually, there isn’t one. But the next time you go Krogering, think twice before you make a madcap dash for the exit, your cart chock full of lobster tails, four different hairdo magazines, a few six-packs of Bartles and Jaymes, and three boxes of Monistat. You may think that all you have to do is make it through the sliding glass doors, but chances are, some burly dude will grab you by the ankles and tackle you a mere six feet from freedom. And then you’ll have a police record. And that would be a damn shame.