Saturday, June 02, 2007

Misson: Melon

Normally it's pretty easy to return something to a retail store.

Unless you're trying to return used underwear, all you should have to do is show them a valid receipt, provide a lame excuse for your dissatisfaction ("Um, like this toaster gives me a totally negative vibe?") and *ka-ching* - money will be magically absorbed through the laminate right back into your credit card.

But for some reason, most people are less comfortable returning something to a grocery store. But even then, as long as the goods are in unopened containers such as boxes, bags or oil barrels - the store should gladly accept your rejected items with a smile.

HOWEVER... how many people have the mettle to attempt to return day-old produce? Huh? Huh?... I thought so.

Of course this begs the obvious question, Why would anyone need to return produce???

Oh, I'm not talking about the head of lettuce that has transformed itself into a ball of toxic brown sewer sludge between the store and your driveway. I'm talking about completely fresh, perfectly good watermelons. Six of them to be exact.

And of course this begs the next most obvious question, Why would anyone buy six watermelons and decide they don't need them the next day???

Ok, quit begging. I'll explain...

My wife and I catered an event yesterday that needed six watermelons, so I was sent to purchase said fruit. However - due to a communication malfunction of undetermined culpability, I purchased regular watermelons with seeds instead of the seedless variety that were requested by the client. Hence the need for the return.

So, after loading up the melon truck and headin down to the market, I had the good fortune of standing in line at the Cub Foods customer service counter to await my flogging.

Ten minutes later I was being barely tolerated by Barb - a tired customer service pod person who had just gotten back from having an apathy shake and a cigarette for lunch.

Barb: I'm sorry sir, but we can't accept perishable goods for return.

Me: Oh, this is different. These puppies were stored in a special melon-containing unit specifically designed by NASA to prevent watermelons from aging overnight.

Barb: Uh-huh. I'm gonna need to get the manager.

Several minutes later I was met by an over-eager junior drill sergeant whose sole responsibility is apparently to prevent illegal produce returns. I'm pretty sure it would have been easier getting out of Turkey with an expired passport than getting past "Carl" the melon inspector.

Seriously. The whole time he interrogated me he looked directly into my eyes, as if to determine if I was lying or not. Then, and I'm not making this up, he asked me where I had stored them last night. After explaining that they had been in my air conditioned house (a lie, they were actually in my car) - he literally picked one up and fondled it in an attempt to determine the core temperature of the melon's melonage.

"Well," he squinted with suspicion, "we don't normally accept produce as returns. But in this case everything checks out. Barb - give him the credit!"

And with that he turned on his heels and quickly headed up the stairs, back to his one way glass command center where he could zoom the hidden camera on my pupils so as to record the sincerity of my response for later analysis.

It's just a good thing he doesn't take his job too seriously.

17 comments:

Mitch McDad said...

A man who returns tighty-whities and melons??? Dude...you're worse than my wife. :)

Harmonica Man said...

mitch - Dude...those melons were $50!

Hilly said...

Oh I'd have returned them too. I mean they're melons for goodness sake...not half eaten nectarines juicing up the bag!

Stephanie said...

Dude, are you sure he doesn't work for Homeland Security?

Harmonica Man said...

hilly - Exactly. Although I would have kept nectarines. Yum!

stephanie - Either that or Farmland Security.

Sandy said...

That is TOO funny!

Dan said...

have had a lot of fun with those melons and a sledgehammer.

Mom Thumb said...

You could have injected Anthrax or some rare form of TB into them. You're lucky they didn't open them up and test them.

Harmonica Man said...

sandy - It was funnier than you know.

dan - Good point. I should have sold them to Carrot Top.

mom thumb - I probably would have, but I only have the garden variety TB right now.

Ba Doozie said...

I'm pretty sure he was onto you dude, I bet after you left he stuck a meat thermometer inside the melons to get the exact temp. Now if he ever see's you in there again, he is going to have guido hide behind a display and take you down when you least expect it. They probably have a special holding cell in the walk in freezer for people like you.....a member of the illegal melon mafia

onetallmomma said...

You bought watermelons WITH seeds! What, have you been living under a bush, My Dear Man?? No self respecting kid would give even a second glance to the seeded variety.

How in the world did we survive all of those seeds when we were kids?

Carla said...

You could have made watermelon wine, or injected them with vodka and served them anyway. But the grocery dude.....wound WAY too tight!

Heather said...

Wow, congrats on getting the refund on the tainted goods!

Jenny said...

You paid $50 for melons? The hell?!

You should have injected them with vodka first. The next buyers would have thought they'd found some sort of ambrosia.

wayabetty said...

What? You didn't have the kids have a melon seed spitting contest? Isn't that what you folks in the boonies do? Just kidding!

Stepping Over the Junk said...

I heard a funny thing on the radio recently, a recording of a conversation of someone calling a store who wants to return underwear they wore. It was a joke obviously but the store person thought it was serious. It was very funny.

I've actually returned milk, but never produce. For some reason the milk I bought at Trader Joes was consistently only good for about 2 days. Evidently it was the same for the rest of the world so they had to deal with their milk people.

DrowseyMonkey said...

lol @ Carl the Melon Inspector....