Peter pushed his shopping cart through the empty aisle while humming to himself. This was his second trip into the store and this time he headed to the audio section for some high-quality headphones. He vaguely worried about what seemed to be the rest of the human and animal population missing. But, for now, an unlimited shopping spree had always been his dream.
“Oh man, I need to get one of those too,” he said to himself as he passed the TV section. All the giant screens were off and he left the shopping cart to turn them on to pick out the best one. As he turned on a fourth one, several strange beeps caught his attention. He whirled around and saw the screens he turned on displaying a message.[Updating…] with a 96% red progress bar under it. Peter dismissed it as a software update for the TVs and turned on another one. He focused his attention on it as the screen came to life; it showed the same red progress bar already at 96%.
“Huh,” he said with a concerned pause. He felt comfortable talking aloud since there was no one around to judge him for it. He glanced down at the TV he just turned on. “Panaphonics…,” He stepped back and checked the rest of the brands. “Magnetbox,… Sorny… Why do you guys all have the same software update if you’re from different brands?” All the televisions beeped again, seemingly in answer. They were now at 97%.
“I think…,” he stepped over to one more television and turned it on just to be sure. It came up with the same red progress bar at 97%. Peter nodded to himself. “I think I don’t want to be here when it’s done.” He turned around and walked quickly to the audio department without his shopping cart. Once he reached the headphones he heard several beeps from the other end of the store.
“98 percent,” he mumbled to himself. He felt he had a decent grasp of the time between beeps and knew he had time to pick out something he really wanted and make it out the door. He read the back of several boxes and narrowed it down to two choices when he heard another beep. “99%” he counted.
“Uh… uh..,” he hesitated for several seconds due to feeling rushed, until he realized he could easily walk out with both of them even without his cart. “Decide later,” he gripped both boxes under his arms and dashed toward the front door.
The alarm went off, as it did the first time he wheeled out a full cart to his car. He was expecting it enough to ignore it; his ears were listening for something else. He heard several faint beeps underneath the blaring alarm, but kept walking. He wasn’t sure what would happen next. He managed to take a single step before he found out.
“HEY!!!!!!!” Someone yelled from behind. He turned to find a heavyset security guard jogging after him. Several customers in the store peeked out from behind him to see what all the commotion was. Peter turned to run to his car; but stopped. He realized he couldn’t find it in time to escape now that the parking lot was full.