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Discount store takes self-service to a new level

We've all experienced lousy customer service before, but this has to take the cake: Some shoppers in Colorado hunting for Labor Day bargains entered a discount store only to find there wasn't anybody working.

We've all experienced lousy customer service before, but this has to take the cake: Some shoppers in Colorado hunting for Labor Day bargains entered a discount store only to find there wasn't anybody working.

About 15 shoppers walked through the front doors of a closed Dollar Tree store Monday in Northglenn, Colo. after a lock on the doors malfunctioned. They also didn't see, or ignored, a sign on the doors indicating the store was closed for the holiday.

Adding to the confusion, the lights in the store were all on, plus, there was music playing in the background, all making it look like it was business as usual.

The unsupervised shoppers could have quickly taken some five-fingered discounts, but instead they must have decided that honesty was the best policy.

Northglenn Police spokesman Ian Lopez says one woman became suspicious when there was no one at the register to ring up her purchase, so she called authorities.

The cash registers were reportedly open and empty, but Lopez says it appears nothing was stolen.

Police were able to contact a manager, who fixed the lock and closed the store.

Lopez says the incident showed that people can be "honest and good."

And in the case of the wide-open store, damn lucky.

Age-old ID incident
Here's more wacky news from the world of retailing: A 65-year-old woman who went into a Farmington, Maine supermarket to buy wine last week was turned away because she didn't have an ID with her.

But Barbara Skapa of Mount Vernon says that won't happen again. "I'll be bringing my driver's license with me from now on," she said.

She normally carries her ID. But with her leg in a cast, Skapa was being driven by a friend when she went into the Hannaford Bros. market last week in and picked up several items, including a few bottles of wine.

The cashier told her it was policy to check for identification, said Skapa, who believes "no one would mistake me for 30 or even 40." Skapa asked if her friend could buy the wine for her, but that was disallowed too because it's considered "third-party" purchasing. Skapa asked to see the manager.

A spokeswoman for the supermarket chain, Rebecca Howes, said Hannaford's new policy is to check IDs of anyone who looks under 45 and wants to buy alcohol. The previous policy was to check for proof of age of those who look younger than 30.

We now expect Hannaford to see a boost in business from senior citizens fishing for compliments.

Ghastly get-rich scheme
A Thai Buddhist temple has been reprimanded by religious authorities for selling amulets containing the ashes of cremated infants to raise money for a plot of land and a crematorium, an official said on Tuesday.

The bodies of 28 fetuses or infants who died of natural causes were cremated legally at the temple's aging incinerator, they said, as Thailand's craze for so-called Jatukam Ramathep amulets that are believed to bestow wealth showed no signs of easing.

"It is not illegal, but it is inappropriate," an official of the local office of Buddhism told Reuters.

"The chief provincial monk has submitted a formal reprimand letter to the temple's abbot," said the official, who declined to be identified.

The Thawee Kara Anant temple in a northern Bangkok suburb was taking advantage of a craze for the amulets that promise to make their owners "super rich" or "rich without reason" sweeping across predominantly Buddhist Thailand.

In July, it made 140,000 disc-shaped amulets about the size of a coffee-cup lid from a variety of herbs and human ashes and had sold most of them, a monk at the temple said.

The idea of mixing the human ashes into the "multiple rich" amulets came after neighbors told the abbot they saw spirits of dead infants buried in the temple graveyard in their dreams asking to be freed, monk Lertsak Thitayano said.

"The abbot wanted to set them free so he decided to cremate them and make merit for them by mixing their ashes into the amulets to empower them in helping the people," he said.

To gain maximum "power," the Jatukam Ramathep amulets, named after two Hindu gods, have to be prayed over by monks for days.

A top-of-the-range gold-leaf edition from a well-respected temple costs can cost $300 or more — more than a month's wages for many Thais.

So apparently the only people getting rich are the monks.