Cross Country Trip Close Call


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Aaryq
September 21, 2008, 11:52 AM
Howdy, folks.
Recently, we moved from CA to NC (we're staying at the mother-in-law's for a few weeks of R&R). The movers packed up our stuff and we put the essentials in the back of my Yukon and started driving. With reciprocity for my ND CWP, I was able to carry from when I left CA all the way to VA so I wasn't naked during most of my drive.
We stopped for gas in Knoxville, TN and everything was alright until I went in to water the lillies and get another Red Bull and seeds. While I'm putting on gas, my wife goes in with the oldest so she can go potty. I finish putting on gas park it and my spider sense starts a faint tingling so the wife gets in the car with the kiddies and I tell her to lock the door and I'll be right out.
As I walk in the store, I see a gentleman walk out wearing a heavy coat on a moderately warm night. He makes eye contact with me and gives the nod of hello, which I return. When I get in the store I go straight towards the bathroom, do my business and come back out. As I hit the aisles to get my goods for the road, I keep hearing 3 different beeps. My buddy's mother is a manager at a Kum-And-Go so I know that it's the sound of people trying to put on gas (and the clerk is supposed to push a button somewhere). I want to go home. I look for an escape route just in case and start to see who else is in the store. I see 4...gangster looking gentlemen in the store, a young couple that looks as if they're fellow travelers, and an older guy in the store as well as another gangster standing outside and to the right of the door (good I'm parked to the left). I wait in line and another gentleman walks in and seems to know one of the other gangsters in the store. They do a big hand shake and the guy that was in the store already says "Pleasure doing business with you."
I have to admit, I was really scared. I think I just wittnessed a drug deal. I make it a point not to look anyone in the eye and just pretend that the little signs behind the counter are really interesting (and watch everyone out of the corner of my eye). The guy in front of me then starts looking around. It appears as if he was counting how many of us were in the store and how many were outside. I keep my composure and it's eventually my turn to put my stuff on the counter and pay. That wretched beeping is still going. I pay in cash but the strange thing is that all of the coins are on the counter and not in the coin dispenser or register. The clerk is wearing a uniform for the store but looks nervous. I get my change and I leave. As I walk out there's that man with the heavy coat standing on the corner of the store about 10 feet from my truck. 10 feet from my wife and children. He nods at me again and I do the same and hop in the truck. It may have been bad from but as I was putting on my seatbelt I non-chalantly drew my pistol and put it on my lap for faster access (belly band holster).
My wife was in the process of stopping a temper tantrum. I calmly but firmly told her to get back in her seat, buckle up so I can take off. I normally drive like a granny but that night I was getting back onto I-40 as if I was Richard Petty (but didn't break any laws either). My wife is trying to figure out what's going on and I told her what happened. She agreed with me that it was weird and told me that the clerk wouldn't let her go to the bathroom until 2 men standing next to the women's door walked away. My pay as you go phone was roaming so it wouldn't let me call anyone. So I couldn't call the police.

What happened? Was it a robbery in progress? Were some criminals using the store as a front to sell their wares? I don't know. I honestly thought I was going to see some headlights coming up fast behind me for a couple of miles.

Lessons learned:
1. Trust your gut. Even if it means having to go without a few simple things or holding it for a little longer.
2a. If you find yourself in a situation where it could be a conflict, escape if you can. Don't go whipping out your gun or trying to be super cop.
2b. Your family and you are who you need to be concerned about first. Until yourself and your family are good to go, that's it.
3. There wasn't a gun fight. Good. If big brother has given you the privlege to excercise a right to carry a gun, do it. My pistol would've been worthless sitting in the back of my truck.

Questions, comments, gripes, concerns?

Disclaimer: These Gangsters I spoke of were of different races. I call them gangsters because of the way they dressed and/or the way they spoke.

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jlbraun
September 21, 2008, 12:17 PM
You witnessed a "protection" transaction.

The reason that all the coins were out is because only the bills get taken to the bank and recorded as deposits. There was probably $200 in change in the store till, when that disappears the station's accounting doesn't know any better.

However, if the Spidey sense was going off, and you needed to go, get back in the car at that point and forego the Red Bull and sunflower seeds! Take a leak in the weeds on the side of the highway if you really had to go. If something had happened in that store, how much would that $4 of snacks have cost you? Maybe your life.

Easiest way to win a gunfight is don't be there.

RPCVYemen
September 21, 2008, 12:47 PM
What happened? Was it a robbery in progress? Were some criminals using the store as a front to sell their wares?

Probably nothing. I am guessing you miss-read the "gangsters". I have been to gas stations in North Carolina in rural areas which appeared to me to be local hangout.

The reason that all the coins were out is because only the bills get taken to the bank and recorded as deposits.

Huh? Is that the current practice in retail? When I was in retail, we wrapped all of coins ($20 roll of quarters, $10 dimes, ...). I have worked places that included some loose change in the deposit, and some that didn't. I have never heard of a place where they don't deposit coins. What do they do with them if they don't deposit them?

There was probably $200 in change in the store till, when that disappears the station's accounting doesn't know any better.

So the accounting system doesn't object when $200 in coins are missing from the till, but does object when $200 in bills are missing from the till? They must really, really trust their (minimum wage) employees. Couldn't the employees just steal $200/night in coins, and never get caught?

Seriously, is this the way retail works these days? It's been a long time, but when I worked in bars/restaurants, the till had better be right - including credit card receipts, cash, and coins. I think you were allowed to be a couple of bucks off on a $1000 night, but that's about it.

Mike

Crazy Fingers
September 21, 2008, 02:52 PM
You don't have to refer to them as "gentlemen" if they weren't. :)

Aaryq
September 21, 2008, 04:18 PM
Ya know, you're right. It could've been something harmless, but it definately taught me a lesson or 2.

cassandrasdaddy
September 21, 2008, 08:06 PM
what kinda phone won't dial 911? even my old "dead" phones will

Treo
September 21, 2008, 08:53 PM
I was wondering about the phone thing too.

As has been said before, if it feels wrong leave. I think we spend too much time keeping up appearences & not enough keeping safe if it feels that funky you get the wife & the kids and go now.

I would also seriously consider equipping the wife & yourself W/ either cell phones that work or a small 2 way radio set if finances simply don't permit. then I'd make it clear that if either spouse gets on the radio/phone and says "We need to leave now" you head for the car no questions asked.

Tribal
September 21, 2008, 09:07 PM
First priority is the family. Good job on that.

As for the "gangsters," the best thing to do is to 1. show common respect and 2. not seem vulnerable. You nodded and acknowledged the guy's presence, meaning that if he were unbalanced and insecure then he didn't feel like you were dissing him and needed to be taught a lesson.

As for the phone, even 911 doesn't work if you don't have reception. Some places just aren't fully connected yet. When you get to your new place, though, make sure you've got decent coverage in your area.

Overall, good job. You protected your family, avoided confrontation, were aware of the situation (even if you couldn't decipher it), and tried to alert the authorities to a suspicious situation. Given the choice, I'd have paid at the pump, but I know some of the more rural stations aren't hooked up for that yet.

KiltedClaymore
September 21, 2008, 09:17 PM
^+1^

being from the inner-city, my urban perspective/advice may not apply to country gangbangers. anyhow, in my every day experiances/dealing with gang members, ive found that fear is weakness and weakness makes you prey. stand tall, look them strait in the eyes (but dont screw up by making agressive eye contact! that makes you an enemy to be dealt with). show you respect them but you do not fear them. at this point, you are no longer potential prey, but an equal who will *usually* be left alone. take care of your buisness and leave.

Everman
September 21, 2008, 09:29 PM
geez, they were just selling girl scout cookies.

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