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    Follow The Trail Of Cookie Crumbs

    | Pittsburgh, PA, USA | Bizarre, Criminal/Illegal

    (I am working in a ‘Mom & Pop’ coffee shop, where things are run by an owner who is hardly around and no managers. Baristas only work with coworkers on the morning shift. This takes place on a weekday afternoon with only me working and few customers around.)

    Customer: “It’s my birthday. I get something for free, right?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t do that here.”

    (The customer points to brownies, which are our most expensive pastry item.)

    Customer: “I can get one of those for free, right?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but we just don’t give free items to people on their birthdays.”

    Customer: “But it’s my birthday!”

    Me: “Maybe Starbucks down the street has that sort of item. We’re a privately owned Mom & Pop coffee shop, and our owner doesn’t offer that sort of thing.”

    Customer: “Get your manager. He’ll give it to me.”

    Me: “He’s not around at the moment.”

    Customer: *points to brownies again* “How much are those?”

    Me: “$2.25.”

    (The customer wanders away. I see him meander over to some other customers enjoying their coffee at a table and strikes up a conversation with them. This isn’t unusual, as our coffee shop is quite a neighborhood social spot. After a few minutes, he begins talking to another customer. Then, he comes back to counter.)

    Customer: *dumps load of change on counter* “How much will this buy me?”

    (I realize that he had been hitting up the other customers for change. I suddenly realize that there is something very off about this customer, and am a bit scared, but because I am alone I decide the best thing to do is help him and get him out of the coffee shop as quickly as possible.)

    Me: *counting* “You have about $3.00.”

    Customer: “What can that buy me?”

    Me: *points to menu* “Anything under $3.00 on that menu.”

    Customer: *points to brownies* “Can it buy me that?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Customer: *points to cookies* “Can it buy me that?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Customer: “Okay, I’ll take one of those and one of those.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but cookies are $1.40. With the brownie it will cost you $3.65. You don’t have enough money for both. But you can buy two cookies.”

    Customer: “Okay. I’ll take that.” *points to cookie* “Can you microwave it for me?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t have a microwave. I can put it in the convection oven for you.”

    Customer: “You don’t have a microwave?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: points to toaster* “Put it in there.”

    Me: “In the toaster?”

    Customer: “Yeah.”

    Me: *reluctantly* “Alright.”

    (As I toast the cookie, the customer pulls out a cellphone and plays around with it.)

    Customer: “I’ll sell you this cellphone for $15.”

    Me: “Thanks, but I already have a cellphone.”

    Customer: “But then you’d have two cellphones!”

    Me: “I can’t afford another one, thanks.”

    Customer: *punching some buttons on cellphone* “Hey, what’s your number?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t give that out to customers.”

    Customer: “You’re a cute girl. I’ll show you a good time.”

    Me: “I already have a boyfriend.”

    Customer: “So?”

    Me: “Uh, no thanks.”

    (The cookie pops up from the toaster, which I put in a bag and take to the counter to give to the customer. That’s when two cops enter from the coffee shop’s front door and two cops enter from the coffee shop’s side door, surrounding the customer.)

    Cop: “All right, buddy, you’re coming with us.”

    Customer: *reaches for cookie and change* “All right, I just need to get my stuff.”

    Cop: “She’ll hold onto it for you. Just come outside now.”

    (The customer leaves coffee shop with cops, where he is handcuffed and taken away. Another cop comes back in to explain that he had been panhandling in all of the stores on our street, acting just as erratic as he had in our coffee shop. Several of the other store owners had alerted the cops after he left their businesses, and they followed the trail of weird to our coffee shop.)