Man Down in Aisle Five

By all yardsticks this man measured up. Women admired his physique, some thought he looked like George Clooney’s younger brother. Men enjoyed his style, his muscle tone, his confidence. To teenage girls he was a “hunk” and all the boys wanted to be just like him.

Ben Price could drive a golf ball out of sight. He walloped the hide off a tennis ball or a baseball and in racquetball, well, let’s just say he won more than he lost! Now in his early thirties, you just knew this guy was an athlete, a success in business and, very likely, a success in anything he took on, and, he still looked like he was 25 and just home from the Olympics or a triathlon or a high-powered business deal, fresh and crisp and looking like a million bucks.

So, what was Ben Price doing this past Friday night, spending the late afternoon and now overnight at Sturgeon Bay Hospital “for observation” as the staff statement put it? Yes, he looked a tiny bit befuddled and somewhat messed up, but this was Ben Price and he’d never been sick a day in his life and this hospital report clearly did not list any illness or ailment. Price came in the way emergency patients usually do, flat on his back in the ambulance, paramedics at his side. But, after just a few minutes in the emergency area, Ben Price was whisked to a private room, got a quick wash and then was slid into a bed where he’s been dozing ever since.

A mystery. Perhaps to many but not to the Investigative Division of the Peninsula Pulse News and Information Department which instantly conducted an exhaustive inquiry into the cause of this curious and baffling situation.

While Mr. Price remains under observation at the hospital, The Pulse Investigative Team has learned all the facts and will shortly release information to the wire services which will trace all circumstances leading up to what appears to be an accident in Sister Bay. While the report is certain to be lengthy and detailed, its conclusion is short and simple…Ben Price is a blockhead!

Mr. Price, with no prior experience, without the proper protective equipment and with no apparent regard for his own safety, went shopping at the Door County Foodstuff on a Friday afternoon at the height of tourist season.

Mr. Price, winner of several Door County Triathlons and in top physical condition that afternoon, nonetheless took on an undertaking for which he was eminently ill prepared. Ignoring the ample warning signs posted prominently outside the supermarket by management and without instruction offered weekly by the store for beginners (Shop/Survive 101), Ben Price entered the store at 3:06 pm and was carried out at 3:21 pm.

The Clooney look-a-like, the “hunk,” the mega athlete was no match for a Friday at Foodstuff and had only himself to blame. While he could be excused for his foolish attempt to shop at Foodstuff without proper education and preparation on the grounds that he had never been to Foodstuff before, there were signals and skyrockets everywhere that he should have seen.

Like the boy who approached him in the parking lot and offered him a shopping cart that steered straight, for one dollar. “You don’t want to be in there today with a cart that veers left,” said the boy, but Price declined and took a cart that did not track straight.

Then Price had a chuckle when another kid wanted to rent him a helmet for a buck or one with a facemask. The helmets were all banged-up and, obviously, had seen better days. Price also passed by the large box marked “shin guards” and the card table where a lady was selling accident insurance for one to two-hour time periods, no examination required.

When he reached the entry door he did pause to start reading the large sign in red letters that seemed to be similar to the signs at airport security but, as he did so, he was rammed in the back by a short lady who said, “Keep moving, bub,” and he did so. She banged into him a second time when he corrected his shopping cart’s track.

Now in the store, Price steered down aisle one and selected some grapes and tomatoes and was hefting a melon when a red-faced guy with two kids in tow said “Gimme that,” and snatched it away. Price looked to get another but was swept along by shoppers and when he tried to go back, another man with an even redder face said, “One way on Friday, you klutz,” so he settled for apricots and continued to the next aisle with the sign that said “No Loitering” and another that said “Five Minute Limit this Aisle on Friday.”

When Price stopped to get the right olives he was rammed again by another very short lady who said, “You yuppies from Illinois are all the same,” as she squeezed past him. It wasn’t much better in the cereal department and worse when he tried to turn right at the end of aisle four. Ben Price has been in the store about eight minutes, had four items in his basket and seven bruises to show for it. He had gone the wrong way in one aisle and tried to back up in another. The “keep moving” lady had whacked him twice. Other people were closing in on this man who had stopped three times to actually read a label. Although most people were friendly and patient, there’s a limit to such foolishness on a Friday afternoon, in season, for a man such as Price.

And then it happened. Price was in the area where the Coke and Pepsi and bottled water was; prime space. The public address system crackled, “Man down in aisle five. Man down in aisle five, all personnel to aisle five!”

Less than thirty seconds later Ben Price was getting oxygen, had cold compresses on his forehead and was given space on the floor to await the paramedics who arrived just moments later. Fifteen minutes after Ben Price went in the Foodstuff main entrance standing up, he was out the same door lying down and on his way to Sturgeon Bay.

Bystanders could only agree on one thing and it was that Mr. Price was not wearing the yellow vest that the store hands out to new shoppers, the one that has the writing across the back, “Caution: First Time Shopper – Stand Back Ten Feet.”

On Saturday morning every available Foodstuff employee who was not essential to operating the store was at the hospital, many with flowers and all of them let out a big cheer when it was announced that Ben Price would be released and another when Price appeared at the doorway in the customary wheelchair and then a super cheer when Price himself announced that the following Monday he was enrolling in Shop/Survival 101.

Ben Price is expected to make a complete recovery.