Auburn, CA — French existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were removed from an area Ross Dress for Less clothing store when Mr. Sartre ignored numerous requests to stop smoking. On Saturday, Auburn police responded to a call from store manager Jess Gardner, who complained about an odd French-speaking couple who refused to extinguish their cigarettes while shopping.
“They were pretty weird when they entered the store,” said loss prevention employee Larry Constantino who first reported the couple to store management. “I’m good at spotting unusual things. It’s a part of our loss prevention training. You know, spot things before they happen. So when these two weirdos walked in, my tingling senses all went off. So I kept my eye on them.”
According to other store personnel, Mr. Sartre and Ms. de Beauvoir made their way through the store somewhat horrified. However, dressing room attendant Dora Boone had two years of High School French under her belt, enough to understand their constant ranting.
“They were going on about how useless and pointless the store was,” said Ms. Boone in an official statement taken from the police report. “the man kept saying something about ‘everything has been figured out, except how to live and ‘we are our choices.” I honestly have no idea what he meant by any of that, but the lady who was with him seemed to like our bag selection.”
Mr. Sartre Becomes Restless
After approximately 15 minutes of wandering the aisles and making various audible grunting noises, Mr. Sartre lit a large cigarette as he stood in front of Ross’ wall art section and called “meaningless proletariat refuse.” At this point, loss prevention employee Constantino, who had been carefully following the pair around the store, intervened and demanded that he extinguish his cigarette.
“That when he got kinda rough with me,” continued loss prevention employee Constantino referring to Mr. Sartre’s raised voice and aggressive tone. “I couldn’t understand a word he was saying, but he could understand me. The lady who was with him just glared at me. And, to be honest, I was more afraid of her.”
At this point, Mr. Sartre ignored loss prevention employee Constantino’s multiple requests to extinguish his cigarette. Finally, given the gravity of the escalating situation, he snapped a picture and reported the incident to his store manager, as per his training, and she called the police. When the authorities arrived, Ms. de Beauvoir was trying on shoes and ranting about conformity, according to Ms. Boone. The cops promptly removed the couple, without a struggle, and moved them to the outer edges of the shopping center.
When The Beacon reached the couple for a statement, Mr. Sartre initially did not comment. However, after several requests, he released a report [translated from French].
“I am alone in the midst of these happy, reasonable voices. All these creatures spend their time explaining, realizing happily that they agree with each other. In Heaven’s name, why is it so important to think the same things all together.”
Ross filed no charges.