One of the most important features of my apartment is that there is a Vitamin Shoppe across the street. Since I have body image issues like nobody’s business, it is vital to me that I have ready access to a source of protein bars, loathsome sugar-free chocolate, and the like.
More than its proximity, however, what makes this Vitamin Shoppe so attractive is that the assistant manager has a big crush on me. He knows I have a boyfriend, and besides, though he’s cute as a button, he isn’t really my type, so it’s not so much the romantic potential that makes this so wonderful.
No, it’s the fact that he gives me free stuff whenever I buy anything.
When I arrive home after making purchases, I always find an extra or three of whatever it is that I’ve bought. Or I’ll look at the receipt and realize he’s given me a huge discount. At the end of last year, he manipulated my member account so that it seemed as if I’d bought a great deal more than I actually had during the year; this led to my receiving a certificate for $290 worth of goods (instead of the $50 or so to which I was entitled).
As you can imagine, I understand fully the value of this treasure. However, a few months ago I made the mistake of telling E.S. about it, and he instantly got jealous. He knew that the assistant manager of the Vitamin Shoppe was no threat to him; nevertheless, it clearly rankled.
So yesterday, after I suggested going to the Vitamin Shoppe to get some loathsome sugar-free chocolate and E.S. said something about seeing my boyfriend while I was there, I decided to put his concerns to rest and show him that he had nothing to worry about. The assistant manager already knew I had a boyfriend, so I figured no harm would be done.
Oh, how wrong I was.
As soon as we walked in the door, the assistant manager’s face darkened to the emotional shade of a tsunami. The glare he threw at E.S. would have killed a lab rat or possibly a guinea pig; I’m surprised, in fact, that the digestive enzymes on the shelf behind him didn’t burst unaided into flames. The “hi” he spit at me brought the temperature of the room down to about 0 Kelvin, and, as E.S. pointed out afterwards, if he could have peed on the loathsome sugar-free chocolate we bought before handing it to us, he would have. E.S. and I left, thankful to have escaped unscathed.
But now I have a big problem.
It’s not so much that the encounter itself unnerved me, though it did, at least slightly.
It’s just that I’m clearly never going to get free stuff from the Vitamin Shoppe ever again.