CVS just might stand for Customers are Very Scary. I offer you proof with this frightening but true story that happened at my local CVS. (Note: I have changed the name of the girl in this story, at least I think I changed it. This was not to protect her privacy, but because I couldn’t remember her name by the time I got home.)
Once upon a time there was a little girl of seven. She was a happy, friendly child who roamed the aisles of the store alone without a care. Or so it seemed.
She approached me and asked me my name. “Bonnie,” I said. “What’s your name?”
“Hi, Melissa. How are you?”
“I’m fine except a scary thing is following me around the store,” she replied.
I saw a boy walking towards us. He resembled her so strongly that he had to be her brother. “Do you mean him? He does look a little scary.”
“No, he’s my brother. He’s eight,” she replied and pointed to a zombie Halloween decoration, which was in fact scarier looking than her brother. “That. That’s following me.”
I quickly learned a lot about seven-year-old Melissa. She loves Halloween and is going to be a fairy when she goes trick or treating. Her brother joined us. She tried to convince him that a spooky creature was following her, but he was uninterested. Soon they were totally absorbed in the many choices of candy on display.
I then became a ghost to Melissa, who diverted her attention fully to the candy. At this point I seized the moment and sneaked one of the zombies from where it was perched on a shelf, placed it behind Melissa and her brother and ran down the aisle to hide. She turned around and jumped and said to her brother, “See, it’s following me.”
They headed farther down the aisle and I was able to use my powers of stealth and move Mr. Zombie right down to the spot where they were about to round a corner. She gave a little scream and again insisted to her brother that she was being followed. At that point I walked up and she recounted the entire story to me.
I got into the story with her and asked lots of questions. She was obviously having a great time. I was able to add zombies to her path about four times before I had to make my purchase and return to the land of the living. At the check-out I came across the kids again, this time with their mother. Melissa was going on and on to the cashier about how zombies had been following her around the store. Then she looked at me and said, “You wouldn’t have moved them around, would you?”
“Now why would I do that?” I replied with a wink.
Hands down, this was the best time I ever had in CVS. The Very Scary part does concern me, though. I was a harmless stranger who really enjoys playing with kids on their level. I’m glad I’m the one she befriended as it scares me to death to think about this little girl and her brother unsupervised for so long in the store. I hope this serves as a gentle reminder to people to keep an eye on their kids and grandkids.
It also reminds me of the story of my daughter trying to impress on her kids not to be taken in by a stranger. You want your kids to be friendly, but they need to keep their distance. Every time she asked her three-year old if he would go with a stranger who offered him candy, his answer was the same. “Yes! I like candy.” It’s a hard lesson.
Even at my age if you offer me peanut M&Ms, I still will be tempted to go with you. I probably won’t, but I’ll be tempted.
— Bonnie Anderson
Bonnie Anderson blogs at Life on the Lighter Side: Viewed With a Dash of Humor and Sprinkled With Sarcasm. She lives in Central Florida.