Of course the second the school supplies fly off the store shelves, the Halloween supplies are already standing there on the dollies, waiting to be rolled in and take their place. This has to be the suckiest time of the year to work at a Walgreen’s. I mean, I don’t think they have to say anything embarrassingly corny to the customers like: “Have you found everything you need in our spooktacular Halloween aisle?” (Like I remember thinking when I went to an ice cream place where the employees sang the orders, my first day working there would have been: “Yeah, I’m not doing that. Bye.”) Basically the lousy thing they’re stuck with at this time of year, at least in our neighborhood Walgreen’s… is us.
Walgreen’s is like our own little interactive Halloween museum: It’s okay to touch and try stuff on, but we go there knowing we won’t be buying anything. It’s free entertainment on a rainy day. They generally don’t let me on the germy climbing contraption at McDonald’s anymore, so this is it. (Although sometimes I can convince the manager at McDonald’s either 1) to go with the height limit not the age limit or 2) that somewhere at the top of the slide I have a very small (practically invisible) child who desperately needs my assistance.)
Walgreen’s usually has an ample Halloween aisle. When those automatic doors fly open, my husband and I head right to it… and press everything with a button… sometimes all at the same time. So if you happen to be working there or unfortunately shopping there at the time, expect to be tricked and/or treated to a fifteen minute concert booming from the seasonal aisle of various versions of “Monster Mash” colliding like a train wreck with cackles, howls, and shrieks. Then there’s the light show. Every blinking, strobing, blinding bulb inside a skeleton, a werewolf or a vampire with a “try me” sticker will be tried (by each of us. After my husband shows me a display, the rule is that I must get a turn pressing the button myself… and then my husband must mumble “baby” under his breath… and not in a breathless, naked kind of way.)
Then, you might catch my husband walking around wearing a grotesque rubber mask of Donald Trump or a glimpse of me galloping past the pharmacy on a broomstick, occasionally bumping into an unlucky teenage boy who’s unloading boxes of tampons as fast as he can for $7.25 an hour.
Then we have to go up and down the Halloween aisle again walking and talking in case there’s anything that’s motion or voice-activated that we might have missed because they had no buttons to press…
Then we have to take a quick cursory stroll around the entire store to make sure we haven’t missed any goblins on display elsewhere. We’ve yet to actually creep into the store window and pose with the pumpkins and the giant blow-up spider but get a little bit closer every year.
I think management secretly hopes we’ll do something illegal instead of just obnoxious so they’ll have a reason to call the police to haul us out of there. I don’t think “being really annoying” is just cause to throw us out, though we’ve definitely pushed the boundaries of a valid “loitering” charge.
The last stop on our museum field trip is the Halloween candy side of the aisle where we really let our imaginations run wild. No mere mansions or sports cars for us. No. We aspire to, someday, being able to purchase the 174 count bag of Hershey’s miniatures.
And on the way back through the automatic doors, we wave to the cashiers and yell: “Thanks!” implying of course, a longer version: “Thanks for not calling the police or shooting us yourselves!” We feel it would be just plain cruel of us to say: “See ya at Christmas!”, when we’ll return to do an encore performance with all of the dancing Santas and blinking Rudolphs. Obviously the cashiers don’t care what we say, as long as we say it on our way out.
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