Eve of Destruction Circa 12/2001: My Idea for SCV Liquor Laws

A few years back Ed and I were stopped right in front of Backwoods Inn by the SCV sheriffs in one of those mandatory drunk-driving checks.  I was scared, not because we hadn’t drunk much, but because police in general make me nervous.  (Another thing to blame on my mom—the very first hippie of her generation.)

It was cold.  Being stopped by the police was not in the plan of a romantic evening.  Was there liquor in my Petit Filet Mignon?
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  I had a video I wanted to watch and didn’t want to be up past 10 PM.  Eddie, fire captain/cousin to law enforcement personnel, shrugged the whole thing off, thrilled with the pen or pencil or paper clip gift that read, “I passed”.

Knowing where the checkpoints are reminds me to get home before 9 PM to avoid them as well as potential drunk drivers.  But, reader, I’ve strayed far from my original idea for this column.  The only tie in is the alcohol.

I was at Trader Joe’s purchasing necessary Bushman sundries such as shelled “edamame” soybeans, Promax power bars, soymilk, soy protein powder, fruit leather, yogurt cheese, Pirate’s Booty cheese puffs, humus and the enormous shrimp Sam and I had sampled at the end of one of the aisles.  And of course there was the item that I was sent there for by my resident husband/chef (Always referred to in hyphen format to describe his overflowing character traits!): Balvenie, double sherry oak cask, single malt scotch.

When I entered the checkout line the first thing I had to do was trouble the busy checker, for a plastic bag to contain the ripped apart, half-eaten bag of Pirate’s Booty I had bribed my kid with to stay in the seat of the cart.  (Honestly, she asked to sit there.  And I know she’s a little old, she’s six, to fit in there, but I was just keeping our new car seat laws uppermost in my mind.  Right.)

Anyway, our cheery checker not only bagged our booty she also did something really strange that I had never seen anyone, in all my shopping history, do before.  She gently pried the top lid open of the scotch canister to confirm that not only did it enclose the exact scotch we assumed it had but that it was not opened.

I was shocked.  She went on to explain that some people exchange the bottles to pay less, or even drink from the bottle and return to the canister half-empty.  It had also been done using a beer or soda can in exchange too.  She wanted to save me from any embarrassment, she went on to say, if we were not checking it at home and giving the scotch as a gift.

Having survived her goodwill without a sarcastic retort I preceded to run my ATM card through her machine.

  She said she was sorry but that it didn’t go through.  I told her I thought it had.  She asked me to please try it again and the transaction appeared successful.  The receipt printed out, both copies.  She asked for my phone number and wrote it on her copy.  Then she promised to call me if the transaction had indeed run twice and required deletion.

Fast forward (Is it too late?) to the next day.  Trader Joe’s called, one of the managers I believe as it was a man, to assure us that the transaction had only appeared once and all was fine.  As I only expected a call if there was an error my mouth had nothing else to do but gape open.  Luckily my hands took over to pen this column.

Now, try as I might to find a tie in to my beginning paragraphs, the best I can come up with, without Tim Whyte’s editing, is that I’ve got to learn to trust the kindness of supermarket checkers and SCV sheriffs alike.  They are just trying to do their job.  But with a difference: They want to do it right!