There was this one customer. Let's call him Dave.
Dave would rent 1 video each visit, but usually something tasteful to either satisfy his boring libido or to watch with the wife. A big fan of Vivid Video. Whatever, I'm the guy behind the counter, who the fuck am I to judge?
Anyway, Dave would always rent just one boring shitty tape each week. He's pay for a one night rental and invariably bring it back a few days late. Never long enough to get a phone call, but enough times that he was running a tab. Dave also, either worked as some sort of Pirate performer or REALLY liked Pirates.
Like, he would always come into the store dressed as one... down to the bandana, scruffy beard and LIVE PARROT ON HIS SHOULDER. If you made the mistake of accepting the late tape from his hands, the fucking bird would squawk violently at you, stretching out its plumage to make sure you knew you were its bitch.
This amused Dave mightily. It also forced me to rehire constantly because some of the kids concluded that $6.85 an hour wasn't worth dodging a cockfighting parrot. If you told Dave to just leave the tape on the counter, nothing ever happened.
Fast forward about a year and a half later and his late tab is up over $500, and my absentee owner starts to suddenly give a shit, says I need to get on his ass. His idiot brother in law who was busy running the other location into the shitter had also put it in his head that sales were down because I was skimming late fees and the owner makes the mistake of saying this to my face.
I respond: "Okay "Bob", no problem, I'll get him paid up within two weeks."
Translation: get the fuck out of my store you asshole. If I was gonna steal or skim, there's way easier ways of doing it than that.
A few days later, in comes Dave. I'm behind the counter, checking in new stock, and he of course is dressed as usual and with a tape in hand. I call him over since there was no one else in the store at 1pm anyway and I tell him that the owner's coming down hard on his tab. He says he doesn't have that kind of money right now and asks if he can make payments, to which I said, the owner wants his money in two weeks or he wants me to send him to collections.
He takes the bird off his shoulder and sets it down on the counter. Apparently that's what pirates do when they talk business.
He says to me that there's no way he can find that extra scratch so quickly, but maybe we can help each other out. My ass cheeks automatically fuse shut in anticipation of his proposal. He leaves the bird on the counter and heads out to his car saying he's gonna grab something and will be right back and won't obviously just leave the bird.
He comes back with this bag. Like a kitchen catcher bag, so bigger than a grocery bag but smaller than a trash bag. He says he thinks this bag will make it go away. I am no longer fearful of being violated, now I just hope it's not a gun because I'm not taking a bullet for $500 some odd dollars of some dirtbag's greasy porn money.
He says, the bag is worth over $1000, but no collection calls, no escalation, it's mine in exchange for wiping his lates off his account. I'm skeptical. He says to lock the front and back doors.
OK, now I'm freaked out, but I do it because WTF, am I going to refuse Cap'n Crunch?
With the doors locked, he pulls the bag's contents out: A 3 pound bag of weed. It didn't look like three pounds, but the heft was there. He put his dope inside of one of those medium sized space bags you'd only see on QVC or the shopping channel at the time; the kind where you fill it up with supposedly linens and sweaters, zip it closed and then attach a vacuum hose to this spout on the bag to take out the excess air.
"These things are the greatest for dope. You'll be able to taste the Yucatan"
Decisions, decisions. I can refuse his offer and risk pissing off a guy who obviously knows some pretty gnarly dudes, or I can take it.
I take it.
I clear his account and take the space bag up to the cottage that weekend. On night two, we're all pretty baked but I'm still bitching a bit about being accused to skimming late fees by Bob. My buddy Tony (who had been seemingly unconscious for 7 hours in a lawn chair, half his face sunburned) lifts his head up in a moment of clarity:
"Bro, didn't you just do that for this weed?"
I want to laugh but I can only muster, "the right response is thank you, motherfucker"...and then I laugh uncontrollably, almost falling into a bonfire.
We obviously came nowhere near smoking the whole bag. It was the weekend before Labour Day, which meant that that upcoming week was frosh week, or freshman week I guess to the Americans reading this. Also keep in mind that we still had grade 13 and the drinking age is 19 here not 21.
Can't advertise dope, but you can get a cylinder of beer, get a legal one-night liquor license from the liquor store, post a copy of it on a lawn sign so the cops leave you alone, and legally charge a cover, and voila...just another frosh week kegger.
One of my buddies spread the contained word through the rugby team, and in the morning, we had almost $900. I took $500, ready to give it to Bob the next day when he came in for the deposits. He never brought it up. Then he didn't again the next week. Or the one after. Once I cleared Dave's account, it didn't appear on the Printout report, so it was out of sight, out of mind for him I guess.
He never brought it up again. I kept that cash handy for a few months in case he suddenly remembered, but he never did. I wasn't surprised, he was working almost totally on his websites at the time and didn't care about the stores.
He was a dummy with the store books. There was a lot of contraband porn from Quebec so that was my theory why he didn't care as much as he should have. Quebec has more lax porn restrictions. He'd get them across the border. Sometimes they were hot tapes, other times just not legal in Ontario yet.