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July 19, 2008

'Thanks for shopping at Meijer's'

'Thanks for shopping at Meijer's'


Today's story in our local newspaper tells the tale of a soon-collared  bank robber,  brought to justice by a bank security camera.


The story reminded me that most crooks probably don’t read the daily Battle Creek Enquirer.  Or at least the daily column that lists crimes and arrests.


If they did, they’d know that crime-doesn’t-pay; at least where there are security cameras.


Perps who hit on K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Meijer’s... get C-A-U-G-H-T. Usually before they're in the parking lot.


These stores have more security cameras than a  Blackjack table in Las Vegas or a bedroom at The Mustang Ranch.


My son and I  were in the old Meijer’s Store  (a regional competitior to Wal-Mart) on W. Columbia  Avenue last Thursday.


Since the place will soon close…replaced by the new Meijer’s under construction  next door…  I was taking a more careful  look at the old store…its  outdated lighting and display fixtures...missing floor tile….the stained, watermarked ceilings…


We got to the front of the store and a long row of cashier stands…..most…as usual … unattended…hardly a cashier in sight….with 30 people and groceries waiting in two lines… like cattle,  a bit frantic to get through  slaughterhouse gates...


So I had lots of time to look around…and up…


From one end of the cavernous store to the other… on the ceiling over EVERY cashier’s station was a  frosted-gray video bulb-security monitor…. (It seems to be looking straight down at your balding head, at you picking your nose…shuffling for change….telling the kids not to whine about candy…)


AND, 20-feet behind every one of these frosted-gray-video-bulb-security monitors was a BIGGER frosted-gray video-bulb-security monitor, presumably watching the first frosted-gray-video-bulb-security monitor watch you.


I turned .... looked back toward the center of the store, again at the ceiling….and there were enough frosted-gray-video-bulb-security monitors sprinkled around  to decorate the White House Christmas Tree.


“Josh, wonder how many people they gotta have to watch all these monitors?," I said to my son and to no one.


“Got to be at least three or four people,” he calmy responded.


I replied, only half joking, "Well,  maybe they can get a couple of 'em down here to sack groceries."


“But don’t pick your nose.

Smile at the camera.

And keep your hands where they can seem um.”

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