Warning: There is a gross element to this story. I hesitated to write this, but find it oddly fascinating the lengths some people will go to in order to achieve their misbegotten goals.
Holiday shoppers had already packed the Hobby Lobby, even though it was barely 8 AM on a Saturday morning. My usual plan was in force- get in and get out with everything I needed as quickly as I could.
As I rounded the corner near the floral arrangements, I noticed a woman dressed smartly in white capris and an expensive top. Her jacket was also quite chic. I squeezed past her and the others in the aisle to make my way to the check out area.
Long lines already clogged each register, so I settled in to wait and watch the folks around me.
As I idled in line, loud voices resonated from the back of the store. They seemed to be getting closer. Probably people getting irritated with each other in the shopping crush, I thought.
My line had just begun to inch forward when the cacophony spilled out of an aisle near me and escalated. To my surprise, it was the woman in the white capris arguing loudly with a tall man who had a store manager tag on his shirt. "Ma'am, you must come with me, now!" he said firmly.
"I will NOT go anywhere with you!" she screeched, pulling her arm away from him. She clutched her other arm across the front of her now zipped jacket.
"Ma'am, we saw what you took. You are not leaving this store. You must come with me to security now!" He put a firm hand on her elbow.
"Get your hands off me! I'll have you know my husband is an attorney and we will sue you!" As she yelled in his face, a glue gun dropped out of the bottom of her jacket.
He clasped her arm tighter and began pulling her with him. Another manager came to help. More craft items spilled from her jacket as she dug in her heels and refused to follow.
"Let go of me!" she demanded. "My husband is a very important person- I'll have you arrested!"
"Ma'am, please don't make this any more difficult on yourself. We have you on tape," he said evenly.
Several unpainted wooden reindeer toppled out of her jacket onto the floor.
His grasp on her arm momentarily slipped as a couple of fluffy snowmen fell out, too, and joined the reindeer on the floor.
She took this opportunity to make a dash for the front door. The taller manager was quick and grabbed her around the waist as she struggled. "I'm calling the police," she howled.
"We've already called them ma'am, and they're on their way," he said calmly as she worked to free herself from his grasp. Several crystal ornaments dropped from the bottom of her jacket and broke on the floor.
She was petite, but her physical strength in this wrestling match amazed all of us in the now quiet store. She made one last desperate heave to pull herself free, lost her balance, and took both of them to the floor. The manager still kept his hold on her as she flailed and kicked. The other manager stood like a deer in the headlights at the sight.
She pulled one last, toxic weapon out of her arsenal. Red faced and cursing, she stopped struggling for a moment. Onlookers stared in horror as a large brown stain appeared on the seat of her capris and leaked onto the floor. She wailed, "Look what you made me do!" She thrashed again, coating the front of the manager's shirt with it.
Despite the virulent attack, he maintained his clench with her until the police arrived. After they took her out in handcuffs, the manager straightened his glasses, took a deep breath, and looked down at his soiled shirt and the mess on the floor.
I don't know who started it, but first one customer, then a few more, and then most of us loudly applauded as he walked to the intercom and said, "Clean up to the front of the store."