Big Billy – Gettin’ screwed

God knows I’m not one for stores. I’d do just about anything to avoid goin’ to the stores, and I’ve been known to wriggle my way in all kinds of directions to get out of havin’ to go. Usually it’s not that big a deal because Minnie loves goin’, especially if she gets to go by herself. It’s the only time I can get out of this nuthouse and spend any time by myself, she says.

But this time I had to go to the store myself. See, what happened was, Minnie’s pretty Big BIllygood with money – like savin’ it up, bit by bit, to make sure we got what we need. So last week there when I found an envelope full of $20-dollar bills in her side of the sock drawer, I knew it was one of her stashes, probably for buyin’ oil.

Fast forward to Saturday and Murph and Cyril and all the boys are headin’ over to Tommy’s to watch Hockey Night in Canada, eh. Now, needless to say, when the boys get together to watch hockey, ya gotta have a toot. But where was I gonna find the money for beer? I knew if I asked Minnie for it, I’d probably get it, but I’d also have to listen to a long lecture about our bills, and priorities and, holy cripes, I had a headache just thinkin’ about it.

So I got an idea. I went out to the baby barn to see if I could find the screwdriver set Minnie got me for Christmas. It was this real nice 25-piece screwdriver set – but the thing was, I didn’t really need it because the kids got me almost the same set the Christmas before and I got a tobacco can full of old screwdrivers out there on the shelf. So what I figured was, if I could take the screwdriver set back to the store, I could use the money to buy beer.

Only problem with that plan was, I realized I’d have to drive all the way in to Wal-mart to return the screwdrivers and I didn’t want to waste the gas money or be late for the hockey game. So you know what I did – I took a $20 from Minnie’s envelope of oil money without sayin’ anything. I figured I’d just return the screwdrivers the next day and put the money back without her ever knowin’, eh.

Anyways, the best part of the story is I got the beer, we had a great time at Tommy’s place watchin’ the hockey game, and I woke up the next day with barely any hangover at all.

Some day out there! I said to Minnie, right casual. I think I’ll head over Cyril’s to help him fix that brake light on his truck, I said. And she seemed to buy it – never said a word.

So I frigged off out to the barn, scooped up the package of screwdrivers and gum-booted ‘er in to Wal-mart.

Now part of the reason I can’t stand the stores is they sort of make me nervous. Well, not nervous exactly, but a little jumpy. I don’t like answerin’ to anybody in uniform, even if the uniform is just a little blue smock with a yellow smiley face button on it. I figured the best way to do it would be to play nice at first, and if that didn’t work, get all upset, because the customer is always right.

I plopped the screwdrivers down on the counter. The wife got me these for Christmas, but I dion’t need them, so I want my money back, I says, nice as pie.

Ahhhh, the woman said, her eyes gettin’ right big behind her glasses. We’re not gonna be able to do that, she says.

And that’s where my bein’ nice strategy went right out the window.

What?! I said. You’re tellin’ me you can’t take this back? I never even opened the package on it – l’uh! I know what you’re gonna say – you’re gonna say why would you get somethin’ for Christmas and only just want to return it now, since it’s pushin’ March? Well did it ever occur to yous guys that maybe I need the money back for somethin’ more important? Does this store realize its customers got kids? And if ya want your money back and you got kids to feed, who are you or anybody else to stand in my way of doin’ that, huh? (Oh, I was on some tear, I tell ya.)

No, the woman said. It’s not that –

I don’t wanna hear it! I interrupted her. You’re gonna tell me it’s because I don’t got a receipt, isn’t it? But I just told ya, it was a Christmas gift, and we’re not the big-feelin’ kind. No, in my family we don’t stick the receipt to the gift or leave the price tag on like a big sign, sayin’ – LOOK HOW MUCH I SPENT ON YA! (By this time my yellin’ was kind of attractin’ a crowd.)

Sir – she tried again, but I had that feelin’ ya get when you’re completely satisfied with yourself because you know you’re right about somethin’.

No way! I yelled. I’m not gonna stand for it! I want my money back and that’s all there is to it!

That’s when a manager came behind the counter and asked the woman what the problem was.

Well, she said. I was trying to explain to this gentleman that the reason we can’t give him a refund on these screwdrivers is because they’re Mastercraft from Canadian Tire.

I grabbed the package and sure enough, she was right. God, I hate stores. Did I mention that? And Canadian Tire would only give me store credit, so I got a nice pocket knife for myself.

Here’s hopin’ Minnie don’t order oil before I can get to the bottle place with my empties.

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