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Grumpy old man

Some things in life are worth fighting for. But Sidebar is going on the record as saying that free grocery store samples are not among those things—especially for those who are old enough to know better.

But for two septuagenarians at the Greenville Costco, a complimentary piece of cheese and a cheeseburger—topped with a spoonful of bad manners—were reason enough for insults and fisticuffs.

According to The State newspaper, at least one punch was lobbed when a 72-year-old man broke in front of a man two years his junior in the free cheese line. A moment later, the 70-year-old was waiting in another line for a complimentary cheeseburger sample when the older gentleman approached again. Words were exchanged. They reportedly went something like this:

70-year-old: “Here, get in front of me. You’re just going to cut in line anyway.”

72-year-old: “You’re right. I will, jerk.”

Whap!

That dash of onomatopoeia is the sound of the 72-year-old striking the younger man—allegedly, of course—knocking off his glasses and hat.

The article doesn’t identify the men, but we can glean a few things. For instance, a store clerk said that the alleged aged assailant was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. This clearly speaks volumes about his ability to make good decisions. It might also serve as evidence that his sight is failing, paving the way for a clever defense.

Greenville police said they have made no arrests because witnesses didn’t have much to say. Apparently, the no-snitchin’ code of ethics exists in the Upstate and even applies to street matters involving the elderly.

The 72-year-old had fled the scene by the time police arrived, but authorities did manage to catch up to the suspect, speaking to him by phone. He reportedly admitted to being involved in the fracas but said that he struck the other man only after the man got in his face and balled up his fist.

Sounds like a clear-cut case of he said, he said, and we may never know the truth. But here’s to hoping that these two fellows can get their acts together, stop the violence, and enjoy their golden years as much as they enjoy free food from the warehouse club.

Heath Hamacher

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