I went to Fry's yesterday. That was my first mistake.

Apparently Fry's was running their inventory and purchasing system on a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database. Apparently they also left this system wide open and un-firewalled to the Internet at large. And they neglected to keep it patched. And it just so happens that nearly every unpatched, un-firewalled machine running MSSQL 2000 was compromised yesterday by the W32/SQLSlammer.worm.

The result of all this was that I had to wait in line for a good 45 minutes to buy a stack of CD-Rs and two PS2 games. After finally reaching the checkout stand, I was forced to wait while the "friendly sales associate" verified the prices on my items (despite the fact that they had price tags), hand-wrote an invoice, figured out how to work the ghetto credit card carbon copy machine, and called the bank to verify my funds.

This is the part of the writeup where I stop and inform you, dear reader, that if you have any objections to reading about someone getting punched in the neck, you should not read any further.

After finally having purchased my items, signed several forms and retrieved my credit card from the greasy hands of the aforementioned "friendly sales associate", I proceeded down the long dark hallway that leads to the only exit. There in front of me was a mob of people waiting like good little sheep to have their bags checked and their receipts hilighted. In addition to this mob, there was a large, irate hispanic man yelling very loudly and being restrained by three "friendly sales associates". It seems one of the "friendly sales associates" had been helping this man load a brand new bigscreen TV into his truck when the TV fell and shattered on the pavement.

This left only one "friendly sales associate" to search the evil shoplifting customers. I hardly felt like waiting any more, so I walked past him. I usually do this, since the store has no more right to search me than I have to shoplift. Usually the bag-checkers make a feeble attempt to get my attention and then give up, letting me walk free. But this "friendly sales associate" had other plans.

He grabbed my arm. So I punched him in the neck.

I don't mean to give the impression that I thought he deserved it. If I'd had more time to think, I probably wouldn't have punched him. But I don't enjoy being grabbed, and he grabbed me quite forcefully. It just happened that the arm he grabbed was the one with the bag attached to it, whereas my other arm was completely unencumbered and was thus in prime form for neck-punching. I don't recall ever actually punching someone in the neck before, but it seemed to happen totally by reflex. I was as surprised as he was, but he was probably in quite a bit more pain.

Luckily, the punch was angled such that it caught him in the side of the neck, rather than in the throat, which could very well have killed him. After making sure he was still breathing (I knew this because he screamed, and it's hard to scream when you can't breathe), I walked out the door. He didn't try to stop me.