Cobra tale ‘poisonous nonsense&’ – Super Cheap
PHUKET TOWN: The Managing Director of Phuket Town’s famed Super Cheap emporium admitted to being furious today about what he sees as a venomous whispering campaign, probably inspired by business rivals. The story going the rounds yesterday and today was that a 40-year-old woman shopping at Super Cheap went to take onions from a display in the vegetables section. As she dug around for good ones, she felt a sharp pain on the back of her hand. Thinking she had been bitten by a particularly nasty ant, the shopper went to buy some mentholated balm to alleviate the pain. As she handed her money to the cashier, she collapsed. The woman was rushed to hospital, the reports said, but died on the way of what was subsequently found to have been the bite of a king cobra. According to the stories, staff of Super Cheap, investigating later, found a nest of about 70 cobra eggs in the bottom of the onion display. All concluded that the biter must have been a mamma hamadryad, defending her brood from the hapless onion-seeker. Absolutely not true, Super Cheap Managing Director Boonsom Ananjaroonwong told the Gazette. “It would be impossible for a cobra to live or lay eggs in our store. It’s very noisy in here, with announcements on the public address system, the music and the trucks coming and going. “Cobras like to live and lay eggs in quite places, and are scared of people, so this is just a rumor.” If the story were true, he said, the authorities should have reports naming the dead woman and the place of her funeral. He added, “I believe this is aggressive black propaganda by the opposition.” The Gazette checked with staff at the emergency rooms of all the local hospitals. None had records of a snake-bite victim being transferred in recent days from Super Cheap. Nor did the offices of the Kusonlatham Foundation, which provides emergency medical transport on the island. A possible source of the tale was offered by a member of the Super Cheap staff, who asked to remain anonymous. She told the Gazette, “We had a member of staff who died suddenly of a blood pressure problem. Maybe people heard about that. Happily for Super Cheap, the rumor does not appear to have affected sales. Indeed, it may even have had the opposite effect, said K. Boonsom. “Many people who have never shopped here before heard the story and came here because they wanted to look inside the store and see where it was supposed to have happened.” The store has not even changed its onions display because, he explained, “the theme of our marketing is to make everything comfortable for the customer.”
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