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Geist - - Geist - Thad Mcil­roy

Fri­day, Au­gust 21, 2016, No Frills, Vancouver BC

Alanky un­shaven guy in an old torn sweat­shirt, eyes bulging, whose body seemed to twist into a pret­zel ev­ery time he moved, was bal­anc­ing two jumbo boxes of Hon­ey­comb ce­real, two frozen piz­zas and a large aerosol can of Reddi-wip. He pulled a three-litre jug of milk out of the cooler and pro­ceeded to drop it onto the floor, the jug ex­plod­ing, milk ev­ery­where. His fe­male com­pan­ion shrieked.

He was there again at the next check­out line, still bal­anc­ing all of the items, in­clud­ing an­other jug of milk. He put the stuff down on the belt and then pushed back through the lineup and grabbed a three-litre bot­tle of Diet Coke, which split open when he tried to land it on the belt. The cashier grabbed the bot­tle be­fore it could empty, tossed it in the trash can be­hind him and mopped up the mess. The man with the bulging eyes

pushed his way through the line one more time, arms flail­ing, and grabbed an­other bot­tle. He pulled a twenty out of his back pocket and bran­dished it high.

At the back of the line a woman with no teeth wear­ing a hoodie, nei­ther young nor old, was try­ing to hold an eigh­teen-pack of bud­get toi­let pa­per with one hand. After a few mo­ments she ut­tered an ugh of dis­gust, put the toi­let pa­per back on the pal­let and bought a gift card in­stead.

As I was walk­ing out the man with the bulging eyes was try­ing to squeeze the big ce­real boxes into reg­u­lar-sized yel­low No Frills bags. Progress was slow.

Thad Mcil­roy is an elec­tronic pub­lish­ing an­a­lyst and con­sul­tant, and author of more than two hun­dred ar­ti­cles and sev­eral books on the sub­ject. He lives in Vancouver and at the­fu­ture­of­pub­lish­ing.com.

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