Another early morning as I rolled out of the sack and got dressed for the annual Tilley Sale. By the time I ground through the commuter traffic it was 8:30.

The line was already long. It took me a minute to realize that we were all grey-haired – the result of the special Facebook announced sale two days before the general admission on Saturday. There were four paid duty officers but given the ages of the folks in the queue, there were no outbreaks of shoving and raving. Instead, many were seated on their folding chairs in the shade with their take-out coffees.The weather was sunny but cool – perfect for waiting in line and catching up on my email.

The oldest of the officers was a real comedian, chatting up the ladies in line (who obviously loved the man in the uniform) and making jokes about senior shoppers. He had a shaved head and one of those Hulk Hogan mustaches and the mahogany tan of a guy who spends a lot of time out of doors. I commented that he’d be hanging out with us in a few years. That spurred him to prowl up and down the line asking, “how old do you think I am? Anybody wanna guess my age?” One wag said, 39, which made everyone laugh. He finally admitted to being 57.

I’m not wild about most of the Tilley line – boring dull colours, wild patterns in unpleasant combinations, blah designs. Occasionally there are bright gems that catch my eye, but it’s been a while. I also search for the fabric samples which tend to be really cheap. I’d picked out a warm grey hoodie on sale for $59 but once I hit the lone remnants table at the back by the loading dock, I found the same fabric in 2 meter lengths for $4. I’m a sewer and I have patterns that would work so needless to say, I hung the sweater back on the rack and stuffed two lengths of the grey into my plastic bag. I paid for my goods, loaded them into the car then walked back inside to take another look for more swag. That’s when the entertainment began.

I’d picked out a navy waterproof jacket for Hub and a bright green model for me and was examining a fold-up cane when a doughy, bespectacled 50-something Asian dude sporting a bristly bargain haircut ran over and exploded into a volley of cursing. He shoved aside a woman who had lifted a jumble of what looked like discarded clothing on a folding chair. “You bitch,” he was screaming, “those are mine. Don’t touch my fucking clothes.” The rest of us stopped our pawing through bins of flashlights and socks to stare at the meltdown.

The woman reared back saying, “sorry” as he snatched up the items and plopped his flat ass down on the chair. He clamped his arms together like a three-year old. So there. She said, “You didn’t have to do that” and tossed an empty hanger at him.

Dude leaped out of the chair shrieking, “stupid c—” as she scurried away into the safety of the crowd. Then he started to get a grip. “Call police, call police.”

One of the young officers strolled up. Dude put on an aggrieved face, speaking in a quieter tone whining, “she hit me first”, like it was the school yard. He was lying.

I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. “Excuse me,” I said to the cop. “He was using really foul language. That’s what started it.”

“After she hit me.”

“No. Before. Want me to repeat what you said?”

The officer turned to Dude and said, “you want me to find the woman and get her side of the story?” The guy said no.

Imagine. The place was crammed with oldsters scoping out racks of over-priced travel gear and Dude loses his mind over three shirts and a pair of zip-off pants. What a douche.