One of my favorite things about meeting new friends is I can tell those old cool stories that everyone else is sick of. My blog post is perfect for this so let me tell you how I got myself in the most unusual predicament during a culinary trip to France.
About fifteen years ago, just before I graduated from The Restaurant School of Philadelphia, the class took a trip to France to experience the amazing food and drink culture in the Burgundy region. We visited wineries, chateaus, escgarot farms, foie gras farms and ate and drank like kings.
Toward the end of our trip we stopped at a large supermarket (they call it a casino). We had about 45 minutes before the bus took us to our next restaurant.
The casino was loaded with the most amazing array of fresh fish, meats and cheeses. The produce department got the most attention from me since I had worked in produce for about five years. They had an entire table full of Belgium Endive. What a site.
I wanted to pick up a few thins so I quickly grabbed some cheese. (a cow’s milk firm cheese with cumin seeds.) I also picked up a six-pack of French lager and was heading up front to check out. At this point, the rest of the students had already started boarding the bus. As I entered the line I realized I had forgotten to grab some bread so I ran back and snatched up a fresh baguette.
I finally made it to the check out line and grabbed my wallet. The lines had a security check and I was wearing a coat and carrying a book bag. I stepped through the metal detector like thing and it went off. I got nervous. Now understand I couldn’t speak French and the check out girl couldn’t speak English so this made communicating difficult. I smiled and took everything out of my pocket and placed it on the register.
I walked through the detector again and beeeeeeeep. Oh Hell, this cannot be happening. The bus will be leaving soon. She pointed to my book bag and I pulled everything out.
The line was backing up and I began to sweat. I walked through it again and beeeeeep. I just kept shaking my head and shrugging my shoulders. She finally called management and a young non-English speaking gentlemen came to the line and escorted me to his office.
Did the bus leave? Do they know I am still stuck in here? All of these thoughts overwhelmed me. When I arrived into the office, the manager had one of those scan like handheld devices. He scanned me from head to toe and it kept going off. I kept telling him that I had nothing. It kept going off near my jacket but I had no merchandise in my pockets. Now here is when things got sticky. Oh I forgot to tell you there were about three other men walking in and out of the office. He finally gestured for me to remove my pants. “Oh no. WTF.”
I got scared but wanted to make the bus and avoid an arrest. Wouldn’t that have been a mess? So I dropped my pants and there I was, standing there in my briefs looking like an American idiot. I was sure the bus had left by now. I just wanted to leave.
He scanned me again and the damn device beeped again but we were sure it came from my jacket. But once again I had nothing in my pockets, well, so I thought. He reached in and pulled out a bar code sticker. Apparently, when I bought the jacket back home at Kohls just before we left, the store somehow left a bar code in my pocket. “Son of a…!”
I was mad, scared and actually amused. The manager just smiled and gestured for me to pull up my pants. I got dressed and would you believe I actually had the nerve to go back to the check out line to pay for my damn cheese and beer? It was a matter of principal at this point!
I exited the store and ran like the wind across the parking lot and I was surprised to see the bus hadn’t left yet, but the engine was on and everyone was seated. I was beat and couldn’t breathe from running so hard. I sat down in relief and just knew no one would believe what I had just gone through.
Do you have any embarrassing stories like this? Please share.