a few years ago, the Meijer store I frequent was given a complete overhaul. as a result the store is much larger and more organized than it was (it went from grimey huge, to cleanish humongo). the store now features these make-your-neck-hurt-to-look-up warehouse like ceilings. there's really no reason to, but on occassion I will risk neck pain to look up and survey the scenery. there's more going on up there than you would imagine.
the innocent child in me likes to look for the stray balloon of elmo or even ariel (the little mermaid for those without a disney fanatic), floating between the rafters or bapping their little helium heads on the sky-like ceiling. even an amateur bird watcher can enjoy the occasional sparrow, goldfinch or early spring robin, flying about searching for their next target, I mean nesting site.
the spring meadow music drifting through my head suddenly comes to an abrupt halt when I realize, I'm being watched. my twitter-pated goofy smile self-consciously turns to a cough and bored stare. you've probably seen them, they are the smokey-black, plasti-glass, half-sphere moles dangling from the ceiling's skin (eewwww, too graphic). they are watching me and yes, you.
no, this isn't a "she's crossed over to the Meijer crazy" paranoia moment. seriously, like every other store, security is a high priority at Meijer. I can understand the need for surveillance cameras, people fake accidents at grocery stores all the time, hoping to cash-in on the $%@, corporate Man! then there's the percentage of the Meijer customer base who choose shoplifting as their crime of choice.
now, amazingly enough I have never witnessed a shoplifter in the moment of comitting a crime. well, unless you consider the guy that "tastes" about 1.33 pounds of grapes. or the lady that cleans up the cheese and meat taster tray (including crackers) at the deli counter. or the mom that dumps the stale, broken bakery cookies into her toddler's snack tupperware container. those shades of grey aside, I haven't witnessed shoplifting at Meijer. however, I have watched the almost comedic scene of bringing down the law breakers.
while standing in line, I realize that a ceiling mole is dangling above every cash register. I imagine the surveillance camera room with a wall banked with small monitors, panning every nook and cranny of the store. oh, and the monitor-watchers are bemuscled (not bemused!) ex-navy seals with tattoos expressing love for "mum" and have nickname's like rosie or boo-bear. I wonder from which door the Meijer SWAT team would burst out of, ready to dog-pile the "perp"--yeah, I"ve watched Kojak.
after giving a half-hearted "thanks" to the greeter thanking me for shopping that day, (I have no idea why I say thanks, but replying "your welcome" seems too smug) I pass through the security detector thing and into the air lock. ahead of me I see this guy leaving the store, who seriously, was 6'5" maybe even 6'6", whatever, he was TALL. as I'm trying to make an educated guess as to exactly how tall he is, two non-descript, average joe’s jostle me aside and run past shouting, STOP RIGHT THERE! before the goliath perp can turn, the felix and oscar “odd couple” strike team scramble in front of him and are now flashing some sort of mock-FBI-wallet-id type of thing in front of him. then it dawns on me, these nothing-even-remotely-intimidating guys are arresting him! and it works!
giant criminal slumps his shoulders, silently obeying as felix turns the man around and oscar informs him he has been caught on camera stealing. I didn't catch what he allegedly stole (lawyer speak) I was just so stunned that my idea of the security detail was completely out of sync with reality.
since that first experience, I have seen two more "take-downs" all quiet, successful arrests. well, except for that fifty-something woman who screamed, threw her arms into the air and immediately spread eagle on the sidewalk without the “odd couple” asking her to.
who knew that felix unger and oscar madison were the true nemeses of the criminal underworld? obviously Meijer, the superstore.