The Weird Week in Review

Gravestone Decorations Have Neighbors' Names

A woman in Saint Clair Shores, Michigan, set out temporary gravestones as Halloween decorations. But they aren't generic stones -they refer to her neighbors by name, by initials, and one even says "RIP Nosey Neighbors." Another says "R. U. Next." The people on her street are not happy about the decorations. They say the dispute began when neighbors complained about a large recreational vehicle the unnamed woman parked in her driveway, and the gravestones were painted in retaliation.

Coffins Stolen for Party

Police in Kielce, Poland, arrested 28-year-old Michalina Illakowicz for stealing three coffins from a local funeral home to use as Halloween party decorations. Illakowicz denies the charge. Funeral director Tadeusz Prusek is baffled at the theft, as he was also going to the party. He said he would have loaned the coffins to Illakowicz if she had asked.

Bank Robber Returns for More Money

Police in Syracuse, New York, arrested Arthur Bundrage when he returned to the scene of the crime -to complain he had been shortchanged. The Alliance Bank was robbed at about 9AM Tuesday when a man demanded $20,000 from a teller. The teller at first refused, then gave the robber an undisclosed amount of money. When he returned to demand the rest of the $20,000, police were waiting, having just responded to the original robbery. Bundrage was taken to the Onondaga County Justice Center pending arraignment.

Purse-snatching Fox Returns Loot

Jeremy Clark of Burgess Hill, West Sussex, England, was leaving home when a fox came up to his wife and grabbed her purse away from her! The fox ran into the bushes with the purse.

But a few minutes later the guilty looking fox crept back into the car park with his bushy tail between his legs. In his mouth was Anna’s bag which he dropped at her feet before running off.

Jeremy added: “I have no idea why, we couldn’t believe it. We see the fox around quite a bit. I think people feed it.”

Apparently, the purse did not contain what the fox was looking for.

Man Attends His Own Wake

Gilberto Araujo's family was gathered to mourn his passing at his mother's home in Alagoinhas, Brazil, when he walked in to explain that he wasn't exactly dead. Araujo works at a car wash in another town and hadn't seen his family in quite some time. When a car wash employee was murdered, Araujo's brother identified the body as his, as the two men bear a resemblance. The body was taken to Alagoinhas for burial, but a friend saw Araujo and told him about his upcoming funeral, prompting the car cleaner to make a mad dash to stop the proceedings. The body has since been identified as Genivaldo Santos Gama.

Stolen Cash Returned …to Bank Robber

Bank manager Otto Neuman embezzled £150,000 in cash and gold from the Erste Bank in Vienna in 1993. He covered up the theft by having accomplices stage a robbery. Of the total, only £51,000 and some gold was recovered when police arrested Neuman. The gold went to the insurer, and the cash was kept as evidence -for nineteen years. Now, the Austrian Justice Ministry is returning the money to Neuman! The insurer compensated the bank for their loss, the gold had appreciated so much in the intervening years that the insurer suffered no loss in the long run, and the ministry feels it has no claim on the cash.

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Thanks to a Wet Winter, New Zealand Faces a Potential Potato Chip Shortage
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New Zealand has plenty of unique and tasty snacks, but kiwis also love potato chips. The universal comfort food is in danger Down Under, however, as an unusually wet winter has devastated the island country’s tuber crops, according to BBC News.

Twenty percent of New Zealand’s annual potato crop was wiped out from a series of major storms and floods that ravaged the nation’s North and South Islands, The Guardian reports. In some regions, up to 30 percent of potato crops were affected, with the varieties used to make chips bearing the brunt of the damage.

Potato prices spiked as farmers struggled, but the crisis—now dubbed “chipocalypse” by media outlets—didn't really make the mainstream news until supermarket chain Pak’nSave posted announcements in potato chip aisles that warned customers of a salty snack shortage until the New Year.

Pak’nSave has since rescinded this explanation, claiming instead that they made an ordering error. However, other supermarket chains say they’re working directly with potato chip suppliers to avoid any potential shortfalls, and are aware that supplies might be limited for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand’s potato farming crisis extends far beyond the snack bars at rugby matches and vending machines. Last year’s potato crops either rotted or remained un-harvested, and the ground is still too wet to plant new ones. This hurts New Zealand’s economy: The nation is the world’s ninth-largest exporter of potatoes.

Plus, potatoes “are a food staple, and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop,” says Chris Claridge, the chief executive of industry group Potatoes New Zealand, according to The Guardian.

In the meantime, New Zealanders are preparing to hunker down for a few long months of potential potato peril—and according to some social media users, kale chips are not a suitable alternative. “Chipocalypse” indeed.

[h/t BBC News]

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Supermarket Employees to Compete in National Bagging Competition
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In today’s busy world, efficiency is king—especially at grocery stores, where long checkout lines can turn even the most patient shopper into a petulant purchaser. It only makes sense, then, that a nationwide competition exists among supermarket employees to determine the country’s best bagger.

As the Associated Press reports, Alysha Orrok, a teacher from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, recently won her state’s Best Bagger competition. She’s now headed to the U.S. finals, which will take place in Las Vegas in February 2018 and is sponsored by the National Grocers Association (NGA).

In Las Vegas, finalists from more than a dozen states—ranging from Washington to Florida—will duke it out onstage to see who’s truly king or queen of the checkout line. Competitors will be judged on weight distribution, appearance, speed, and technique (no smushed bread or bruised fruits allowed).

Orrok, who works evenings and weekends at a local grocery store, says she was initially clumsy on the job. “My first day as a bagger I dropped a soda and it exploded everywhere,” she told NBC Boston.

Over time, though, Orrok got so good at her side gig that she decided to compete in the New Hampshire state bagging competition earlier this month. At the tournament, "I was like 10 seconds faster than the next person," Orrok said. "I feel like I get in the zone and I just fly."

Competitors heading to 2018’s Best Bagger competition will face off to see who can achieve the best customer service in the shortest time span. The grand prize is $10,000, which will be awarded to a deserving grocery store employee “with infectious company pride and an enthusiastic commitment to customer service,” according to the NGA.

[h/t NBC Boston]


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