Guilty or Not Guilty: Shattered Salsa

By Megan Perrin, Staff Writer

Weird things happen to me at work. It’s approximately 9:00 pm, Friday. I was doing rejects, in which I returned items that throughout the day had collected to fulfill baskets on baskets, and so far it was peaceful. I wasn’t the best at doing rejects, it took me awhile to find things I wasn’t familiar with, which was everything except bread, chips, and milk. So at the time I had been looking for chocolate syrup in aisle 18. Why all the tenacious details? This setting, at exaggeration, is about to turn into a crime scene.

Clink, clink, clink. . . clink.
First thought, “Someone broke some glass.” Maybe I’m a sadist, because I admit, I found the situation humorous and a bit relieving. I too have broken glass on several occasions, many of which occurred in the silliest manner- my fingers slipped. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one. It had sounded like it was pretty close, so I exited my aisle and two rows down is aisle fourteen. There are about ten, maybe more, glass containers of salsa broken and spilled in front of the aisle.

A bagger I was only vaguely familiar with stood in front of the mess, his mouth agape. Next to him was his own basket of rejects. Immediately I made the assumption that when he was doing rejects he accidentally knocked the shelf over. I could tell he was frazzled and so decide to take control. There was quite a bit of glass scattered around and it needed to be fixed before someone in sandals “missed” seeing red salsa and broken jars, and stepped on a shard.
“You go to the front and page maintenance. Tell them there was a glass break on aisle eighteen. I’ll stay here to warn people,” I told him. For his privacy we will call him Cheese. I didn’t trust Cheese not to run away and leave before I could get help.

He readily agreed and was gone. So there I was, in front of all this broken glass and salsa. New customers are passing, making “awe” sounds. Wide eyes look at the mess and soon travel up- travel to me. I realized everyone was making a connection between criminal and me.

“It wasn’t me! Honest! It was a bagger, I just happen to be close by and decided to help!” I pleaded. My voice was getting high in panic, and I could tell that even though they were nodding in “understanding” they didn’t believe me. Right when I start to worry about why I wasn’t hearing the announcement for maintenance, I see my supervisor make his way to me. He looked tired and stressed, and his eyes were accusing.
“It wasn’t me!” Was the first thing I said. Which looking back probably made me look even more guilty.

“Who did this?” He asks accusingly. It sounded more like, “So who do you want to blame, we’ll play this game.”

“A bagger did it, I was just near by and said I’d help.”

While not looking entirely sure he believed me, he left to page maintenance. He told me to stay there to ward off customers. So I was left there again to look guilty.

Before maintenance came, however, there was an announcement over the speakers. “Megan to aisle fourteen for cleanup.” There are four maintenance workers, and I knew for sure that none of them had the name Megan. What was going on! Now I look even more suspicious.
Right as I was getting into panic mode, a fellow cashier came to the site. She came to offer help, and together we started picking up some glass that wasn’t as noticeable. She asked me who did it and I said a bagger. But how did she know this happened?
“Cheese told me. . . he said it wasn’t him.” Say what? Now I’m baffled.

“Well did he say I did it?” I asked her.
“He said a customer did it.”

Salsa splattered on the wheel of Cheese’s reject cart.

Okay now that was plausible. I hadn’t seen him do it, so maybe I had jumped to conclusions. I decided to give him some doubt. But while we were cleaning I noticed something on the other workers cart. On one of the wheels there was salsa covering it entirely. This wasn’t from being rolled in, it would have had to have happened by being splattered on.
“Whose cart was that?” I ask her.

Okay, now he’s back to being a suspect. I shared my thoughts with her and she seemed to believe it was Cheese as well. She admitted to already doubting his story, and my observation seemed to clarify her doubt.

“The way the wheel is hit, it must have been facing the accident,” she noticed. This also paralleled to how I saw him facing the accident when I came upon the scene. Right now Cheese wasn’t looking to good.
Eventually maintenance did come, and like I suspected, not another Megan. There was quite a mess, so I offered to help him. The other worker had left by then, so it was just me and maintenance. He ended up having to get more supplies, not realizing the extent of the mess, he hadn’t come fully prepared. On one of his leaves, Cheese comes back.

“Are you cleaning this by yourself,” he asked, surprised.

“No,” I reassured him. “I have help.”

“Oh.” He sounds relieved. Right before I could ask him if he, or if he knew who did it, Cheese beat me to it.

“Did you do it?” he asks. Immediately I’m on the defensive. I’m not guilty!

“Did you do it?” I ask him.

“No, a customer did it,” he said. I asked if they ran from the scene but he quickly explains the situation.

‘”No, they just continued shopping. They were like “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry! Where’s the cream cheese?”‘

I easily accept his story. There are weird people out there.

Cheese leaves and once again I’m by myself. With only my thoughts to keep me company I go over what he said- and realize that it didn’t make sense. Cheese saw my coming out of aisle eighteen when he clearly was in front of fourteen, so why would he think I did it when I was two aisles away? Also, if he knew who did it why would he ask me if I did it? Cheese was the guilty one!

Immediately I felt guilty for automatically assuming he was the criminal. Hadn’t I been accused of the crime myself. And to others who came to the scene new, after it had happened, it would seem as though I was the criminal. Just like those who accuse me, neither of us are first eye witnesses. Even if Cheese did have substantial evidence against him, he’s innocent until proven guilty. I shouldn’t be telling others it was him, like others shouldn’t say it was me.

In the end the criminal, whoever it was, got away. And honestly, I’m just happy the suspicion is finally off of me.