The office supply store staff was unusually upbeat for a weekday morning, just a few minutes after store opening. I sensed a “visit from corporate” was under way. Everyone on the floor was scurrying about.
My instincts were right. I saw a man in a three-piece suit patrolling the area between the service desk and the computer printers. As I came into his line of sight, he stepped toward me.
“Good morning, sir,” he said extra loud and assertively. “Can I help you find anything?” As he spoke, I could see him surveying the staff to see if they were watching him.
“Do you have any of those Velcro loop strips? Like for bundling cable? The heavy duty kind – with the deep hooks.”
“Yes, sir! Right this way!” he shouted.
I followed as he strutted between the aisles toward the back of the store.
He made a grand gesture to the office supplies wall. “Right here, sir! Is there anything else I can help you with?” he asked, looking around to see if there were any employees in the area who could learn from his skills.
“Cool, uh no, this is good. Let me look over what you have here. Thanks.”
He was gone in a flash, and I turned to the Velcro products on offer.
For months, I have been looking for more heavy duty Velcro loops. I had about 15 of them, and used them all the time. They gripped like iron, and I used them everywhere. It’s like having Duct tape you can use over and over again.
But I couldn’t find the super-gripping, extra-sticky, heavy-duty kind anywhere.
And I didn’t see any in the office supply section, either. Sure, they had Velcro loops, with a tapered end on one side and a hole in the other end, but they were “normal” Velcro.
I walked back toward the exit on my way out.
The manager saw me and talk-shouted, “Did you find them??!!”
“Oh, thanks, yeah, I saw the loop things. I was looking for the heavy-duty kind.”
“Those ARE the heavy-duty kind, sir,” he said with some exasperation.
“Right, I hear ya, I mean the REALLY heavy-duty kind. With the deep hooks.”
“Sir, are you sure you found the RIGHT ONES?” he said, like I was shirking my job.
Was he going to give me a 30-day warning?
“Yes, the product you have SAYS ‘Heavy Duty’ on the package, but those are really ‘Light Duty.’”
“Sir, I KNOW the products!” He was starting to turn red.
“Well, I consider myself an expert on Velcro,” I said laughing. “I’m the Velcro king of California!”
He didn’t smile. Not a grin.
“I want the kind with the really DEEP HOOKS. The kind that can lift a bowling ball off the ground,” I said. “the good stuff – the kind that, had Michael Corleone had access to it, he would have attached the gun to the back of the toilet in the bathroom with it — you know, when he takes out Sollozzo and McCluskey. Velcro so strong that when you pull them apart, you really have to tug, and they make a tearing sound like, ‘Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkqqqqqq.’ The brand you have a has a soft, muffled noise that sounds like, “fffffffffftttt.’”
His face got flush and he paced faster, adding a slight stomp to each foot step that echoed in the empty store.
“You know what I mean?”
He didn’t answer, turning to walk away, saying over his shoulder, “Sir, thank you for shopping at our store.”
I wonder if I am on probation?