Heather S. Wargo
3 min readFeb 24, 2022

Dang, sorry it wound up the way it did.

Lovely world we now live in with zero tolerance mandates everywhere. Nonsensical results here.

This reminds me of a situation that happened to me a few years ago in the local grocery store, of all places.

It was mid afternoon on a weekday, for crying out loud.

I was in line to check out behind someone, a man who had a little kid riding in the cart.

He was throwing all his crap up on the checkout belt, muttering under his breath while the cashier was ringing it up. I placed the divider plastic thing behind his stuff when he finished unloading his things and began to place my few items on the belt after his. He glanced at my stuff and made a comment I couldn’t hear.

He had trouble getting his card into the reader.

I then realized he was extremely drunk.

I looked up at the cashier and she met my eyes, looking frightened.

The little kid with this guy could not have been more than 4, just the cutest little thing, a tiny little red headed girl with big blue eyes. It haunts me, this little girl. She seemed completely fine and oblivious to the behavior of the man (her father? No idea) she was with.

He began to yell at the cashier because he could not remember his PIN and he insisted she was to blame. He was extremely nasty, calling her all kinds of vile names in a semi-shout.

The cashier looked horrified and scared to death.

People were obviously avoiding looking at him— you know what I mean?

He was throwing a huge temper tantrum, obviously wasted, yet people were just scurrying along, pretending he was not shouting at this cashier while his daughter (?) sat right there listening to him berate and belittle the poor woman.

I interrupted his tirade and loudly said, “Sir? Have you tried running your card as a credit card instead?”

I looked at the cashier as she was trying not to cry and then looked around wondering where the hell anyone else was that worked there— stock people, etc… all had vanished.

The guy looked at me and said, “You stupid bitch, you just had to crowd me and my stuff, this is your fault.”

It struck me as so ludicrous and outrageous I laughed at him.

I couldn’t help it.

He was perfectly ridiculous, and I know my laughing at him was likely the absolute worst thing to do.

The cashier looked even more frightened, but he just twisted away from me, thank God, and swiped his card again, without reacting to me.

The cashier must have hit the credit button so his stupid card worked finally. He staggered out the door pushing the cart as she and I watched him go, shocked.

I then said, “I am going to watch to see if he is driving, and I want you to call the police, please, because that little girl doesn’t need to be alone with someone that drunk.”

I ran out. In the two minutes that passed, (and I swear it was no longer than two minutes) he and the little girl vanished into thin air.

I went up and down every aisle in that parking lot, stomach churning.

When I went back inside the store, hell, then suddenly everyone who worked there was up front talking about that guy.

I tore into some guy who worked there’s ass, and said if that drunked idiot was driving and wrecked and that kid was harmed it was on the store workers. I was livid.

They had all vanished and left that poor cashier all by herself to attempt handling that drunken asshole (apparently, she had just been hired a few days prior).

No one was available until after the guy left the store. Whatever.

I made them call the cops anyway to report the guy, how he was obviously drunk and had a little kid with him, and whether or not he was driving was unknown but to look out for him.

I feel sick to this day remembering that little kid with that guy.

Gosh I am sorry for how long a comment this is. Thanks for a good essay, I enjoyed reading it.

Heather S. Wargo

Italian American Writer in PA wilds. Gen X survivor attempting to climb shrinking narrow. Despite all my rage, still just a rat in a cage.