So I was at a Publix somewhere out in suburbia and confusing things happened. There was what appeared to maybe be a high school football or basketball team shopping there, like 20 kids, and they were very much defying conventional logic on how anyone is supposed to shop for groceries… or… well, anything.
When I arrived at the store, there was one older lady sitting at the front who had a Kenwood commercial type handheld radio and was talking to the people from the team(?). Okay then…
I go into the store and start looking for stuff and her kids are just shopping in the most baffling manner. It seemed like each of them had a list that was a printout of an Excel spreadsheet, each line was numbered and they were calling out numbers to each other as they got the items on the list…
The odd thing was, though, they were broken up into four(?) groups who would just descend on a section in a Blitzkreig-esque manner, shove other shoppers and their carts out of the way, unload a whole section into an empty cart, then run to one of the main aisles where they’d pick over that cart then return it and its contents to shelves…. in near totally random order.
Probably half the store’s staff was cleaning up after them including the manager.
On a whim I decided to look for their choice of frequency and found it – GMRS, 462.600 mhz, no PL tone. I waited for a lull in their traffic and hopped on, well, to be a jerk.
“This is WQRZ855*, do you guys have a license to use this frequency?”
There’s this wonderful sound as about five people key up on top of each other like “what?”.
“This is an FCC authorized station, WQRZ855, is your group licensed to use this service?”
The radio goes silent and the group starts kinda yelling at each other then rushes to go check out as if they’ve just been caught doing something far worse than making a mess of a Publix…
They pretty much aborted their shopping at this point and all rushed to the front to go check out… consuming all eight of the open checkout lines, and leaving merchandise scattered everywhere.
The manager, meanwhile, was right next to me when I had this exchange with them over the radio and she just about doubled over laughing while telling me that this group shows up every week and makes a colossal mess of her store and this is the first time they actually listened to anyone.
Why hasn’t she used her managerial banhammer yet?
* Seriously, I’m like one of three people I know of actually having a GMRS license. Why do I have one? Because I’m a nerd, that’s why. Apparently it comes in handy to yell at people.
It’s not hard to get, basically all you have to do is sign up for ULS then log in and buy it. Or… just wait a couple of years, the licensing requirement will probably be dropped because nobody bothers to get licenses. However, you might not want to do that, as there’s a good chance the service will get nerfed and repeaters will be disallowed when that happens, unless you’re a grandfathered in licensed user… who the heck knows.