My bad night at CVS


A few posts ago, I referenced a very bad, very angry incident I had at CVS. A bunch of people asked me to elaborate. Hence, elaboration …

The year was 2000. My wife and I had been dating for about five months. We walked into a CVS on the Upper East Side, and as Catherine went off to look for some goods (hair spray? Us Magazine? A new boyfriend?) I stood on line, waiting to pay for a pack of gum. Near the register, an older man began screaming at the cashier—a nasty, unruly rant that seemed extremely inappropriate. I walked up to him and said, “Hey, you don’t have to talk to her that way!” to which he said, “Well, who’s going to do something about it?”

My response: “Well, I will.”

The man, by my memory, was about 50. Maybe 55. I thought I was standing up for the under-represented, and I felt very good about myself. Catherine, however, was disgusted. Fortunately, as I write this she’s sitting two feet away. Here’s her take …

“We went to CVS. We’re waiting on a long line to pay, and we notice there’s this old man, probably about 85-years old, arguing with the checkout clerk who was probably 20. The man isn’t getting the Medicare senior discount that he needs for his medication, and is arguing loudly with the clerk. It is clear to me and probably everyone else on the line that this man is financially needy and struggling to pay for his medication. And before I know it, my boyfriend, who I believe might actually rise to the occasion, begins arguing with the man by saying, ‘Ho, ho, ho—wait a minute! You can’t yell at her like this!’ And the elderly man turns to my boyfriend and says, ‘Who’s gonna stop me?’

“And the boyfriend says, ‘I am,’ stepping another foot closer to the man.

“The next five minutes include my boyfriend yelling back and forth with this poor man. Somehow it gets resolved, I pay for my gum, we walk out of CVS and he looks at me and says, ‘What? What’s wrong?’ Lifting my jaw off the floor I said, ‘Are you kidding me? What’s wrong with you? You just yelled at an 85-year-old man that you were going to fight him; that you were going to take him outside?’

“And Jeff said, ‘Was that bad?'”

** Disclaimer: My wife insists she does not use hairspray or read Us Magazine.