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The life of a porn addicted housewife.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

My Winn-Dixie 

I moved to Tampa in 1979. At that time there was a Winn-Dixie only a few blocks from our house, so of course we did all of our grocery shopping there. It was a decent enough store, nothing special. It definitely wasn’t the cleanest grocery store I had ever been in, but it was passable.
In July of 1983 Billy Ferry Jr. fire bombed the Winn-Dixie.
I was 17 years old and it was one of the most horrifying things I had ever seen.
Why did he do it? Because of an imagined slight from one of the cashiers. Billy brought a five gallon bucket of gas to the front doors of the store and when they opened he splashed it through totally dowsing a cashier and several customers who were at the registers. He then immediately tossed in a lit lighter. 5 people died from burns and 13 others were badly injured. He thought that the cashier he hit was the one who had offended him, but sadly it was a girl who was only working there for the day. She was actually employed at another store and was filling in for the day.
THIS EXCERPT from the book “The Fatal Inferno” by Judy Dixon explains the events better than I will ever be able to. Be forewarned that it is very graphic.

I had been at the Winn-Dixie only a couple of hours prior to this event. If I had waited just a little while to go up to the store I could have been there when it happened. When the fire started and the explosions began, my entire house shook. We ran outside and it was immediately evident that the store was on fire. Being teenagers my friends and I ran down towards the store, but never went into the parking lot. Fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars came from everywhere. People were screaming and running around like they were lost. My friends and I watched for awhile (there was nothing we could do) and then went back to my house and proceeded to get rip-roaring drunk.

The next day we found out that Billy Ferry Jr. was the one who had caused the fire. This came as a HUGE shock because I had known him for a couple of years. Everyone knew he was crazy, he really was mentally off. But no one ever suspected he would ever do anything even remotely like that. It’s really disturbing to know that someone you have sat around drinking with is capable of such awful things.

Winn-Dixie tried to fix up the store, but people were reluctant to shop there because of the memories. About 2 years later a new shopping center was built around the corner and Winn-Dixie moved to it. The old shopping center is still there. Several stores have come and gone in the anchor location that Winn-Dixie used to occupy, but none of them have ever lasted very long. Even the small stores on the ends of the center turned into crap. Personally I think the whole shopping center should have been bulldozed over years ago, but I think someone is using it for a tax write-off.

It’s been almost 20 years since Winn-Dixie changed locations. In that time absolutely nothing in the store has ever changed. Every aisle has always held the exact same things. Condiments and toilet paper in this aisle, cereal and soup in that aisle, noodles over here, canned vegetables over there.
Until today!

I needed some stuff for dinner so like normal I ran (ok I drove) down to the Winn-Dixie. Everything seemed normal. I got my cart, walked through the fresh fruits and vegetables, and turned down the aisle to get salad dressing. But where was the dressing? I was looking at paper towels. Wait, those are supposed to be 2 aisles down! I started walking through the store and I realized that all of the other customers looked lost. They had moved everything. The only things that were in the same place were the things that had to be in the coolers and freezers. Now this may not seem odd to you, but when you have been shopping in the same store for almost 20 years and over night they move everything on you it is not all that pleasant. I couldn’t find anything. I must have walked around the store 10 times looking for things. In all honesty the layout makes much more sense now, but darn it, I could shop there with my eyes closed before.

Now, if they would only buy some new carts.
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