I was on my way to Radio Shack for a couple of diodes so I just cut through Dillards big department store since it was a lot closer. Now I normally go to the mall around Yule season to walk about looking for a present for my wife. I never have any idea of what to buy her so I just wander around through stores hoping something jumps out and says, “Buy me!”
Anyway they are a little pricey for me but I do enjoy looking, well gawking as I pass through. As per usual for me I entered the wrong door and there was women’s unmentionables on one side and home stuff on the other. They carry Waterford and I had bought the wife a few of those as presents. Anyhow I was all eyes and as I turned the corner to go down past men’s shoes I saw a white tag on the floor. They keep the place so neat and clean I just leaned over and picked it up and was going to place it on a display table of shoes when I looked at it. I turned it over and the tag had in large black letters, “Free,” on it.
I stopped and looked around and saw no one, no salesperson, no customers nary a soul. I put on my cheater glasses so I could see the card better and it was blank, no water marks, no store marks or codes, just the large black letters that said, “Free.” I laughed, “Oh yeah, they are going to give me a new pair of shoes or better yet, a new set of Revere Ware,” I said with a laugh.
Well, dag nab it anyhow, I had forgotten to go around the corner before I left home so I headed for the facility. As I came out I walked over to the customer service counter where an older lady was rushing about. “Excuse me maam,” I said as I waved the card. She stopped and approached me. “I found this on the floor and I know it means nothing but is there any significance or meaning to this card?” I held it up with the free facing her.
Her eyes got large, “Jut a minute sir, just one minute, I must get Mister Jensen,” she said as she hot footed it to a phone where she mumbled something. She came back to where I was standing, “Sir, do you have one of our Dillard Credit Cards?”
“No maam, as you can see, I am a Goodies or Sally’s shopper for I am retired,” I said with a grin as I started to leave.
“Just a moment, just a moment,” she said and then quickly added, “I see mister Jensen and Mister Tottenhoffer coming now.”
One was a will of the wisp type who looked like he should be carrying a purse and the other was a large oafish man in a very nice suit that fit him about like it would me. “Good morning sir, I am Mister Jensen the department manager and this is Mister Tottenhoffer the store manager,” he said as he offered a thin effeminate hand. I squeezed it hard and felt the bones giving. The other one had a real man’s hand shake, so it was a draw.
“I am Clem Clumb and I picked up a white card; thought someone had dropped it since you keep this place really clean and nice,” I said.
“Well Mister Crumb, you have found the magic card,” the little man said.
“The name is Clem, Clem Clumb, that is C l u m b, not Crumb, just call me Clem,” I said in a terse manner.
The big one pushed the little one aside, “Clem, you have won a free complete summer wardrobe, five thousand dollars worth of clothing for you and your wife; you do have a wife do you not,” he asked with a big grin. About then the store PA came on, “Attention, attention mister Clem Clumb has won our big summer wardrobe giveaway.” I felt about two inches tall.
People began to gather; most of them were the store’s staff as both men were talking ninety leben miles a minute. I looked up at the big man, “Sir, I have an idea, what if I just give this prize to some of the people over at the VA hospital?”
“Huh, what?” He looked at me real funny like. “Give it to whom?”
I laughed, “Sir, I am retired and I do not dress up, I do not go to fancy places and I dress like this because I want to,” I said. I raised my hand and it became quiet. “Ladies and gentlemen, I think this is a great thing and I admire the store for offering me this once in a life time gift.” I paused as I had their attention, “But I just asked the store manager to give the great gift to the men and women Veterans over at the VA hospital, they need something to brighten and lighten up their day,” I said.
They clapped, as I pulled out my old wallet, dug into it and held up two one hundred dollar bills. I loudly shouted as I dropped them into my old paint stained baseball cap, “And I am donating an additional two hundred dollars to the prize so more vets can enjoy something.” And without missing a beat I yelled, “How about you all helping some needy vet who is a patient?”
The big man took my cap, put some money in it and said, “Dillards will double the amount anyone gives in addition to the summer wardrobe.” He started moving around with my cap and I slid off to the side and made for the exit; forgetting about my diodes; I had been in that place too long.
When I got home and went into the house my wife yelled, “Hey you old fool, what in tarnation have you done now?” She looked at me and added, “Eight or ten phone calls, you sober old man?”
I poured a cup of coffee and sat down, explaining what had happened and what I had done. She shook her head, “Not happy winning something you had to add two hundred bucks to what you gave away?” She shook her head, “Lila and I are going shopping so I will spend some more you crazy old coot.” She hugged me and I could tell she was happy with what I had done. About then the telephone rang and I got me another baseball cap and headed for the barn where there was no phone and no noise.
© By Tom (tomWYO@aol.com)