Shinra Inc. And Walmart

By: Jason Tandro
Concept by: Case Man.

Author's Note: Some of my readers know that I have a website dedicated to the Shinra Inc. And series… which I haven't updated in a while… I should probably get on that. Anyways, there is a section to suggest an episode. I put it up as a fancy, but found that I've been getting a decent amount of responses. Since this series is equally about fan service as it is my own amusement I have decided to take on every suggestion that has been sent to me thus far, starting with this first one.

Now sadly, Hotmail, being what it is the original email for this was lost, but I seem to remember the guy's email was Case Man, so that is what I am crediting him as; (and if you're reading, sir, please lemme know so I can correct it!)

Rufus Shinra was not a fan of his weekly shopping trip. Somebody as important as him should, by rights, have a personal shopper who acquired what he needed. However, his previous three attempts to do just this had failed miserably.

The first was an intern who he'd hired to perform the task. He managed to buy the right things, but wasn't very good about putting the stuff away. Often Rufus would find his milk in the pantry and trash bags in his refrigerator.

His second attempt was a woman. He'd figured a woman would have better attention to detail. Well this was true, but she kept eying the details that Rufus overlooked. She would always choose low-fat foods to help Rufus "slim up" and bargain brand household items to "save money". The only thing worse than somebody who was incompetent was somebody who was incompetent and preachy.

His final attempt was Palmer, but this was clearly the worst choice as Palmer usually ate most of the snacks on the return voyage and never got receipts to account for all his spending. This wouldn't have mattered if it hadn't been for the fact that somehow three bags of groceries cost over 100,000 gil.

So the task had finally fallen to him. As Rufus had always said (and never practiced): "If you want something done right, do it yourself."

The local stores were nice but never had everything that Rufus needed. And if there was one thing he hated more than shopping, it was shopping at multiple locations. He had heard of a location in the slums known as Wall Market where a man could find everything. In the absence of Don Corneo the mansion had been turned into a deluxe department store, where one could find everything he needed, and due to bulk purchases on the part of the store, costs were unbelievably low.

He walked into the thriving palace of frugality with only a few basic ideas of what he was actually looking for. He found this was the way things usually worked. You would go into the store with a full account of what you needed, and yet upon entering the store you always found things that you not only didn't need, but that nobody would ever possibly need.

For instance, in his last week's trip he'd purchased 185 gil worth of tools that he would never use. The week before that he'd spent 340 gil on garden decorations for a garden he didn't have. He ended up giving them to his secretary in lieu of her monthly bonus. For some strange reason the copier stopped working the very next day.

Today would not be a repeat of that, however. He was just going in to get a few groceries, and nothing was going to stop him. Of course now he was desperately trying to figure out what those groceries were.

"Rufus! I didn't know you shopped here," came Reeve's voice.

Rufus looked over and saw in Reeve's shopping cart a large selection of men's clothing and for some inexplicable reason a grocery list that consisted of an almost entirely vegetarian diet. He then noticed the hand-weights a DVD with some local bodybuilder on the cover.

"Reeve? What's with this?" Rufus asked, pointing to the DVD.

Reeve turned the DVD upside down, as though that would somehow help. "Uh well it's nothing really. I'm just trying to lose a bit of weight and tone my muscles. I've let myself go in the past few months."

"You don't need to tell me. I've never seen anybody challenge Palmer for the last donut before and you've done it three staff meetings in a row," Rufus nodded.

"I've been under a lot of stress, I need to find some way to counter-act that," Reeve explained.

"So you're going to add more stress to your life? Are you hoping to overclock your meter because that won't work. I've tried it. Well that is, I've made other people try it," Rufus shrugged.

"It's more stressful to slowly eat myself to death rather than powering through it," Reeve retorted.

"That's nonsense. You know how this is going to end? You're gonna turn into a carb counting freak. You'll be so stressed out by keeping track of the numbers that you won't be able to enjoy eating. Combine that with your work stress and you'll have a freaking heart attack," Rufus said.

"What do you recommend?" Reeve asked, pushing his cart down the aisle. Rufus followed him.

"You actually want my opinion?" Rufus asked.

"I'm open to suggestion," Reeve replied, noncommittally.

"Well I can tell you for starters don't let Palmer give you a damn massage," Rufus shuddered.

[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Stress Management]

The two of them stopped at the frozen food section where they saw Tseng and Elena picking out meals together.

"Oh, hey boys!" Elena smiled, tossing a bag of frozen peas in their cart.

"Mr. President," Tseng nodded. "Reeve."

"Have you two moved in together yet?" Reeve asked.

"Not yet. But we enjoy planning meals together," Tseng nodded.

"It's kinda fun," Elena replied.

Rufus didn't say anything. He was distracted by the toy handcuffs that he saw glinting out from under a box of cereal. He slowly began to giggle, but he tried to stifle it.

"What's with you?" Reeve asked.

"I'm fine," Rufus shrugged.

But then looking over he saw a roll of duct tape just barely concealed by a loaf of bread. Then a clothesline resting underneath some new bath towels. He walked around the corner, mumbling "gotta go" as he went. In the next aisle he fell to the ground laughing hysterically, hoping that they couldn't hear him. When he was done he looked up to see Rude pushing a small cart in his direction.

"Rude? You're here too. What the hell man? Is it everybody's night to go shopping?" Rufus asked. He noticed that his cart was filled with nothing but 24-packs of beer and some bottles of liquor. "Special occasion?"

Rude shrugged. "Friday night."

Reeve, Tseng and Elena walked around the corner, Elena was pushing Rufus's cart.

"Hey you kinda disappeared on us," Reeve said. "Oh hey Rude!"

"What's up Reeve?" Rude nodded.

The five of them pushed their respect carts towards the checkout lanes. This was the truly confusing part of the place. There was a massive row of 30 available lanes. Of these, only two were the automated "self-help" checkouts, and aside from them only four were open. Giant lines stretched across the store.

"I remember why I hired a personal shopper," Rufus groaned while leaning on his cart.

"I heard Palmer's looking for one. He offered to pay the guy 1,000 gil a week," Rude said.

Rufus rubbed his forehead in frustration and slowly inched his cart forward as the next person cleared the lane.

"Doing some home improvement?" Reeve asked, looking at Tseng's cart.

"Beg your pardon?" Tseng asked.

"Well I saw the duct tape," Reeve replied.

"You idiot!" Rufus shouted; several customers looked at him. "I was gonna relax. I was trying to be cool. I wasn't gonna bring up the fact that they have ropes, handcuffs and all that shit, but no, Mr. Tactful decides to bring up the fact that they want to have freaky bondage sex."

Elena was blushing profusely, Tseng was looking around hoping that no more of his employees were present and Reeve had a look of dumbfounded awkwardness etched across his face.

"Actually Reeve was right," Tseng explained. "I also have a hammer, a box of nails, some paint supplies and spackle. You'd be surprised how often my apartment needs repair."

"Come on, man, don't bullshit me. What about the handcuffs?" Rufus asked.

"You honestly think we'd use these?" Elena asked. "They're a gift for my cousin along with the toy gun and fake police badge. He likes to play cop."

"Ah," Rufus nodded.

The five sat in silence. Rude took a swig from one of his liquor bottles.

"Besides," Elena said turning towards Tseng and smirking. "He and I already have a pair." And she kissed him.

Reeve and Rude chuckled somewhat nervously. Rufus rolled his eyes. "Wow, that's cute in a puking my guts out kinda way."

"Oh you're so vanilla," Elena sighed.

"Vanilla Ice Cream! I knew I forgot something!" Rufus exclaimed, slapping his head. "Hold my spot, I'll be right back."

Rufus ran down to the frozen foods aisle while Reeve glanced at his cart.

"When do you think he's going to realize he hasn't picked up anything yet?" Reeve asked.