From our Cincinnati bureau: A true story
Last Friday morning, a young deer was wandering in the parking lot of a local “upscale” Cincinnati shopping plaza when he became disoriented by the seemingly endless sea of Lexus RX350’s confronting him at every turn. Driven by instinct and panic, the deer bolted toward the first building in his line of sight, a Whole Foods market, the reigning symbol of affluence, sophistication, and moral self-righteousness. The store was originally built as a Wild Oats market, which was acquired by Whole Foods last year, re-badged, and re-stocked, all to the delight of the center’s owners, who so carefully cultivate its haughty, uber-demographic image.
The one year old buck, distinguished by his clearly underdeveloped, adolescent antlers, approached the storefront and tripped the automatic door opener. He barreled on through and began roaming through the store. Amidst the twelve varieties of wild mushrooms, the exotic herbs, the meticulously arranged broccoli raab, lettuces, micrometer-trimmed scallions, Texas knob onions, an all pomegranate boutique, a world of citrus, and an anti-oxidant consultant, not to mention the cadre of 1-2% body fat types who shop looking frighteningly gaunt in their running clothes, the deer just might have not stood out, say as much as a steelworker or a box of Totino’s pizza rolls.
Contrary to all that management and fellow shoppers might have hoped, the deer bypassed the produce department, seemed rather nonplussed by the triumphant store announcement of the return of Marcona almonds, and strode along the dairy aisle, oblivious to the wide assortment of milks, yogurts, creams, free range eggs, and thirty varieties of tofu. He instead, made a bee liner for the bakery department, driven by the smell of soon to be finished chocolate chip cookies. After waiting patiently for a moment or two, the deer was made by one of the customers, who let out a polite yelp, attracting store employees and management. The deer was spooked, he sprinted past the customer who’d dropped the proverbial dime on him, slightly injuring her in the process (she was only shaken up and refused medical attention). As word of the interloper spread, the deer sensed the alarm. Though still interested in and waiting for the cookies, he proceeded to run around the adjoining cheese & wine areas, knocking over a wine display (a stack of over-oaked, inexpensive Chilean Chardonnay on special) and a tray of Havarti & crackers. In the process, the deer became entwined in one of several hanging chili ristras and suffered a traumatic amputation of the left antler.
After approximately 25 minutes, officers from the animal protection bureau arrived on the scene, engaged in brief negotiations with the now staggering, bewildered young buck, and sedated him with a shot from a special anesthetic dart gun. Once unconscious, the 100 pound deer was gently carried out of the store, accompanied by SCPA officials and his attorney, who assured store officials that there would be litigation over the trauma to his client, loss of the antler, and the lack of prompt bakery service.
Company officials issued no comment on the pending legal action, but did assure the public that the cookies, the object of the deer’s interest and resulting fracas, were made from 100% whole wheat flour, sea salt, natural brown sugar, and contained no additives or preservatives.