By John Earl
Surf City Voice
At approximately 5 p.m. today Huntington Beach Mayor Joe Carchio was sighted at the Albertsons super market in the Sea Cliff shopping center at the corner of Yorktown and Main St. near downtown Huntington Beach.
The sighting was made by this reporter while he shopped for Dryer’s ice cream (selling at $6 for two cartons) for my 91-year-old father, who eats lots of rocky road and vanilla ice cream and who is famous among the store’s check-out cashiers for buying more tapioca pudding than anyone.
It’s not unusual to see local celebrities shopping at my favorite Albertsons. Other notables sighted include: former city administrator Paul Cook; former mayor John Erskine; and, former city treasurer, now our county treasurer, Shari Freidenrich.
Curious about an announcement for the free giveaway of one paring knife per customer, provided the would-be recipients arrived “within three minutes in the center of the deli section,” this reporter, who has no desire for another paring knife if he even has one already (I have no idea), walked slowly from the ice cream freezers to the deli section out of curiosity only, wanting to know what kind of people would rush from one side of the store to the other within three minutes to get a free paring knife and what devious corporate scheme was under way.
When I arrived in the deli, long after another shopper, who smiled eagerly as she pushed her partially full shopping cart past me at high speed, I observed a line of about 20 people waiting for their free knives. Standing with them was the mayor.
He was dressed casually and had been browsing the deli without a shopping cart, unaware that I was watching every move he made.
At first, I tried to hide my face, fearing that he might be angry at recent stories I have written about his political performance, stories that—like all of my other (many) stories about the mayor—probably didn’t show his better side, very much.
But far from holding a petty grudge, the mayor was gracious, cheerful and bouncy—like the former restaurant host that he is. With a big smile on his face he shook my hand, nearly jumping for joy, and said, “We’re going to get a free knife,” gesturing to me to join him in line.
I respectfully declined, but did say out loud to the store employee who was handing out the free knives, “How about some free health care for your workers?” Nobody else seemed to listen, but the mayor laughed.
Then I headed for the checkout stand where I told the cashier that I had given up a free knife just to stand in her line. She informed me that the knife giveaway had been going on for several days straight and that it was getting annoying to hear the announcer everyday telling the customers to run to the deli within three minutes to get a free knife.
“I’m about to use one of those knives on that guy if he says that one more time,” she threatened, laughingly.
Then I wondered, did the mayor, who has been spotted by this observant reporter before at the same Albertsons, have heads up about the free knife?
Was he running some sort of racket at my local Albertsons?
Had he been coming into the store for several days in a row, only pretending to shop so that he could pick up a free paring knife each time?
How many paring knives does he have at home, anyway?
Will the mayor report the gift (or gifts) on his 700 form at City Hall?
Rest assured, the Surf City Voice is investigating.