Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

I understand some commentators are accusing Target of scoring less than a bullseye in dealing with shoplifters.

The retailer encourages the police to help fight inventory “shrinkage,” but insists on “handcuffing” the officers into staging low-key, out-of-sight, super-discreet interactions with the alleged criminals. (“Bad cop has the flu today. We’re playing good cop, ‘won’t you be my neighbor?’ cop.”)

A more direct confrontation would supposedly “cause a scene” and generate bad publicity for the chain.

We certainly can’t risk social media spreading gossip about “major retailer takes action to see that pilferage doesn’t jack up prices for honest customers.” That’s almost as scandalous as “Goodwill store gives disabled veteran an opportunity to remain productive.” Brrr.

What if the Target mentality had prevailed in pre-Revolutionary War days? (“No, don’t dump cases of tea in Boston Harbor; dangle a few bags in the lovely endangered wetlands a two-day ride outside of town. And can’t that loudmouth Paul Revere settle for some sternly worded Post-it Notes?”)

Humanity has always experienced “scenes,” “outbursts” and “public spectacles.” Anger, fear, sorrow, insecurity, jealousy and narcissism are nothing new. Now that calls for gentlemanly behavior or ladylike behavior are derided as outdated signs of privilege or patriarchy, it is inevitable that drama-drenched events will be a dime a dozen. (“A dime a dozen? They were a dime for two dozen before the hurricane hit! You price-gouging %$#@*…”)

There’s a lot to be said for ticking time bombs letting off a little pressure, obnoxious sociopaths showing their true colors and the parents of young athletes helping Junior’s coach acknowledge his numerous mental and physical impairments without even a co-pay.

I am on record as stating that retail clerks and restaurant waitstaff should not be bullied (expecting my Nobel Peace Prize any day now); but imagine how humdrum life would be without embarrassingly ostentatious marriage proposals, alcohol-infused wedding toasts, politically charged holiday meals (“Of course I know there’s not a communist behind every tree; my company has clear-cut all the trees!”), over-the-top public displays of affection at funerals (“Hey, get a crypt!”) and threat-infused demands to See The Manager. (“Actually, mister, my mud-pie stand wasn’t envisioned with a hierarchical structure in mind…”)

I admire folks who try maintaining a thin veneer of civilization, but their efforts usually fall woefully short. The best most can achieve is a zen-like “What is the sound of one hand snatching some hussy bald-headed for trying to grab my doorbuster flat-screen TV?”

My late mother-in-law was raised by her mother to be prim and proper and ratchet down her boisterousness. Whispered admonitions of “What would that man over there think?” drummed decorum into her psyche. Nowadays a rowdy child would probably have That Man Over There thinking, “If they can reboot ‘Frasier,’ why can’t they reboot ‘The Jerry Springer Show’?”

I’d love to hear whether you’ve ever caused a scene, either through righteous indignation, irrational exuberance or just bad manners. Thwarted scenes are welcome, too. (“I was going to glue myself to the floor at the Homeowners Association meeting to criticize wasteful Christmas lights, but I couldn’t land my private jet with McMurtry’s Winnebago in the way!”)

In the meantime, I’m going to check up on the patrolmen at Target.

“Hey, someone stole my cardigan and sneakers while I was filling out the report! Someone’s new neighbor is about to be Cuddles on Cell Block B!”


Copyright 2023 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”