I put the empty tank in a basket and walked through the door and straight to the counter in the garden area which was about ten feet away.
The greeter, a man in his seventies with a long buzz cut that reminded me of Gomer Pyle’s Sergeant, jumped up. “Oh, no, no, no. Wait right there. We can’t have that in here.”
I didn’t get it. Have what in where? But I didn’t get a chance to ask before he pulled the cart from my hands and wheeled it out the door. “No propane tanks in the store.”
“But it’s empty. I’m just exchanging it,” I call to him on the way out.
He wasn’t rude, just diligent. And I have to admit, his diligence was executed in a relatively polite way.
So I paid for my refill and went outside where the Sergeant is standing by the propane cage grinning a little sheepishly. “Sorry, ’bout that. But the Fire Marshall goes up a wall when he sees these inside the store.”
I almost laughed. And I almost…almost said, “Actually, the Fire Marshall is sitting on his ass in front of the television developing remote-induced carpal tunnel, and I do about a dozen other things that would drive him up a wall before this propane incident.”
But I didn’t. I just thanked him, told him I understood and came home to tell my husband, who got a good laugh.