Up & Down Commerce Street – Jan. 30

Published 12:18 pm Monday, January 31, 2011

We had never been in the Bath & Body Works store prior to Christmas holidays. Now, having been there once, we shall never go back again.

We were searching for a gift for the family Matriarch. B&BW offered a buy three, get three FREE sale. Any combination of lotions, soap, shower gel, etc. Having made our initial three selections for Mother, we turned our attention to the shelf of male offerings, encountering a variety of tempestuous and exotic fragrances with names like “Oak,” “Ocean,” and “Noir.” Significant Other watched as we chose our bottles and as we took our place in a very long line to await checkout, left us, which was, as it would turn out, a mistake of majestic proportion.

At the counter, the girl took our bottles, scanned the items, and then began to bedazzle us with tales of even more FREE items we were entitled to. We declined, “No, really. These are just fine.” The little tart beside our girl was in disbelief and jumped in, “But it’s FREE, don’t you want FREE, surely you can’t turn down FREE…”

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Thoroughly bemused and baffled at this point, we turned, looking past the throng of people behind us, and for Significant Other. Where was she? Nowhere to be found. What were we going to do?

(This much I know is true: A man at loss of his wife in an unfamiliar shopping environment is a man that is prey for wolves.)

The wolves pounced, “FREE, FREE, FREE.”

We turned back around, gave a jerking nod of agreement, went back to the male’s shelf and randomly grabbed three more bottles of fragrance.

The wolves were pleased, rang up our additional items, handed back our debit card, and a heavy satchel of bottles that nearly pulled our arm from its socket.

Eight-six dollars.

Nine bottles, including cologne, lotion, shower gel, and liquid hand soap.

The Significant Other had been filling out a raffle card near the front of the store. We stammered out the total.

Significant Other was not pleased. Neither were we.

The wife ushered us, (feeling like a little boy who broke a church window with an errantly thrown baseball), through the lines of people, and back to the checkout counter. She talked with the wolves, showed the receipt, asked questions. Apparently the cologne we had selected was not part of the FREE promotion and therefore was not FREE at all. The situation resolved, the net loss to our bank account was only thirty dollars.

“Oh, I confused you,” said the checkout girl with a sly smile.

Men, beware of the wolves.

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What better way to declare undying love to your sweetie than a Singing Valentine? Call 382-5999 or 382-1505. Your choice of song. $15.

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The traveling basketball squad Harlem Wizards will tangle with the Butler County All-Stars on Friday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. The gymnasium of Greenville High School will be the battleground. Tickets will be available Feb. 1 at BB&T. Tickets $8 for students, $10 for adults and all proceeds will benefit St. Jude Hospital.

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We’ve seen True Grit. Twice. Finish this column, drop the paper, and go see it. One of the best Western movies ever. Believe it or not, it tops the Duke’s version.

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We took a short riding tour with county engineer Dennis McCall on Thursday. We’re working on a regional story with our sister newspapers about the rural road situation.

We didn’t have far to go to find a bad road in Butler County.

Folks, it’s looking bad out there. But it’s a problem critical to the entire state and nation. The crisis is going to have to be addressed or we’ll soon be plowing up roads and replacing them with gravel. That doesn’t fit with the image of America as a progressive nation.

If you haven’t seen the History Channel production, “The Crumbling of America,” do so. It’s an eye-opener.

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We’re not sure what to make of Gov. Robert Bentley’s appointment of former rival Ron Sparks to head the newly-created Alabama Rural Development Office.

But in a nation so bitter with political partisanship, it was a refreshing thing to see.

Instead of pandering to their respective political parties, we believe elected officials can accomplish more by working together to solve this nation’s problems.

Probably the worst thing ever created by a certain cable network was the U.S. map of “Red” and “Blue” states.

One nation, remember, under God.