Friday, August 06, 2010

one hell of a commercial for glade potpourri...

I had all kinds of mom-errands list night, and had to run to UPS to pick-up something that could easily have been left in my mailbox before heading to Walgreens.
The Walgreens closest to my house, dare I call it "my" Walgreens, is at the corner of Potrero and 24th, right by General Hospital. It is home to, among other things, the time I saw the guy in the parking lot shooting heroin in between his toes and the dented head man.
Much like Target, I went into Walgreens needing two things and made my way to the counter laden with crap. As I walked towards the register, I was overwhelmed by a smell.
I nearly said it out loud. "That's pee!"
God, it was pungent. The pee was old, dank, mixed with your standard gross body smell. But this is nothing new for the Walgreens at Potrero and 24th. Oh no, this is par for the course. Other than my diagnosis of "Pee!" I didn't really care that much. Until I got to the counter to find the source of the odor.
He was clearly homeless, and as all San Franciscans know there are degrees of homeless, this guy was "very." He stood at the counter and slowly tried to extract something from his pockets.
Once again, this is all nothing new round these parts. But the smell was ungodly. I wondered if, being so close to the hospital, he could head over there for some basic care and a shower. I wondered this, by the way, standing behind him in line with my array of body lotions and hairspray and bleach-based cleaning supplies.
The woman behind the counter was flustered. She had no idea what to do. I couldn't tell what the smeller was trying to purchase, if anything. But he stood at the only open register laboriously exploring his pockets.
The clerk, in a move after my own passive aggressive heart, dramatically tried to move to the empty register closer to me and ring me up. But she was panicked, dropping each item she tried to scan as she made a big display for the benefit of the hobo. She actually pulled the scanner cord over an entire register to ring up my discounted John Frieda hair shine hair spray and Wal-brand toilet paper.
I noticed that she was shooting nervous glances behind me, where another Walgreens clerk stood. The Wal-woman at six o'clock was equally panicked, and as I turned to look at her, I noticed she was holding a can of Glade Potpourri Spray, the best of all the Glade scented sprays.
Every few seconds or so, she'd spray it towards the smeller.
She just stood there, flummoxed, against the display of cheap bouquets in between the registers and the front doors, periodically spraying. The sprayer was maybe 5 feet away from the smeller, and in between each spray, she'd shoot the checker a return look which clearly said, "What the fuck do we do?"
What the fuck they did, I'm delighted to report, was not my problem. I paid my $70 (seriously. I spent $70 completely unintentionally) and left, bombarded by a collection of various panhandlers and sidewalk sitters all the way back to my car, now parked next to an entire family of like, 37 people piled into a burgundy Cadillac, with the woman in the front seat breast-feeding a baby.
I wanted to drop my bags on the ground, look to the skies and scream, "What the hell is going on?!?!"
But I wanted to get the hell out of there even more. And thus ends my 20 minute trip to the local Walgreens...


kwk said...

Years back the Goodwill down on Mission nr. 19th had shelves of chinaware at the back with a little hand-marked sign, "Please do not urinate in the cups and saucers. Thank you."

Mousqueton said...

If I did not know better I would say this is a scene taken out of a Fellini movie. Rgds

JanetC said...

Wow, I'm not the only one with weird encounters at that Walgreens. Thanks for the hilarious play by play.