Family Ties (1982–1989): Season 1, Episode 9 - Death of a Grocer - full transcript

Alex comes to regret his decision to leave his job at a small-time grocer for a better paying job at a larger store.

♪ I bet we've been together
for a million years ♪

♪ and I'll bet we'll be together
for a million more ♪

♪ oh, it's like
I started breathing ♪

♪ on the night we kissed

♪ and I can't remember
what I ever did before ♪

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ and there ain't no nothin' ♪

♪ we can't love
each other through ♪

♪ ooh-hoo

♪ what would we do, baby

♪ without us?

♪ sha-la-la-la

hi, Mr. Adler.

Oh, hello, Alex. How are you?

I'm fine. I'm sorry I'm late.

You're not late.

I am. I'm eight minutes late.

Eight minutes is not late.
A week is late.

If you put in a time clock
like I suggested,

you can keep track

of the comings and goings
of your employees.

You're my only employee, Alex.

It's the principle, Mr. Adler.

You should be angry at me
for being late.

All right. Where were you
for eight minutes?

I had a meeting of the
Young Entrepreneurs' Club.

Is that what you do
with your time after school?

You should be in Little League.

I'm 17 years old, Mr. Adler.

Little League
only goes up to 12.

So? You'd be the best one.

Excuse me. Where are the olives?

What do you want olives for?

Is it required that I tell you?

Nah, I'm just curious.

I can't eat them myself.

Well, thank you
for sharing that with me.

So, where are they?

Oh, usually I get the pains
right here.

No, no, no, no, no,
no, no, no. The olives.

Oh, well, if we have any,

they'll be on the other side
of the store somewhere.

Olives are at the end
of aisle 2,

second shelf from the bottom.

We got a few
of the regular ones left,

and we also have
the pimiento-stuffed ones.

$1.39 a small jar,
$2.14 for the large.

He's good, isn't he?

So, how's business today,
Mr. Adler?


Why do you bring up business,

I don't know. Seemed like
the appropriate place.

Today business stunk.

It stunk yesterday, too.

In fact, business
has stunk since 1957.

It was right after
that Sputnik thing.

Sputnik goes up,
business goes down. Go figure.

I keep telling you, Mr. Adler,

you could have
a real moneymaker here.

You just got to be
more aggressive.

You know, the building
next door's for lease.

You could rent it out,
knock out the wall in between,

and double the size
of your store.

if I knocked down that wall,

where would I hang up my coat?

You got to think big, Mr. Adler.

You got to be more competitive.

Oh, that reminds me.

There's gonna be
a beautiful sunset today.

I want you to take off early
to watch it.

Mr. Adler, do you
ever hear a word I say?

No. But I like
the sound of your voice.

All set, Mrs. Crenshaw?

Well, yes. Except for one thing.

I don't mean to complain,

but is the milk
supposed to be frozen?

Alex, the cooler broke.

All the milk froze.

Yeah, okay.
I'll take care of it.

Watch what I do this time,
Mr. Adler,

so you can fix it
if it happens when I'm not here.

Okay, first,
turn the thermostat to low.

Then shut this valve
on the side all the way off.

Then open it up again
real quick,

and then turn it once.

Wait for four seconds.

Open the valve back up again.

Turn the thermostat
back up again.

And if that doesn't work...

Do that.

I'm surprised I didn't think
to do that myself.

He's a good boy.
Oh, he's the best.

You know, he's the president of
the Young Entrepreneurs' Club.

I'm not the president.

I'm the vice president.

A heartbeat away.

Hello, Alex.

How you doing, Mr. Adler?

Hello, Skippy.

Mr. Adler, is it okay

if I open up this box
of ice-cream sandwiches?

I just want one.

You can't do that, Skippy.

No one is gonna want to buy

an open box
of ice-cream sandwiches.

Alex, let him have
his ice cream.

Thank you, Mr. Adler.

You're screwing up
our inventory, you know.

You're gonna have that
on your conscience.

I happen to be your neighbor.

I think you could be just
a little bit more polite to me.

The fact that we're neighbors,
Skippy, is nothing more

than an unfortunate
geographical accident.

And I don't think
I should be punished further

by having to talk to you.

Well, uh, how's Mallory?

She's fine.

You know, uh,
she's really pretty.

Thank you, Skippy.

Doe she talk about me much?

Yeah. Sometimes late at night,
she cries out your name.

You mean it?

Look, I'm working here,
Skippy. Do you mind?

Okay, okay. I'm going.

Oh, Alex, they're advertising
for a new stock boy

down the street at the big
shop-a-lot supermarket.

Well, why don't you go
and apply for it?

Why should I do that?

Because it's a big place

and they pay more
and they give promotions.

And if you get it,
then I could have your job here.

Forget it, Skippy.
I like it here.


I always thought

you wanted to be
a big success in life.

Were those just idle words,

or do you practice
what you preach?

Skippy, remember
when we were little kids

and I accidentally
ran over you with my bicycle?


I drive a car now.

Mom, I'm absolutely positive

that Brad Hunter
wants to ask me out.

How are you so sure, Mallory?

Well, he came up to me
today after homeroom,

and he asked me
if I had a nice weekend.

That's it?

That's it.

I think we missed something.

And what did you say to him?

Well I told him I had
a terrible, boring weekend.

What else?

You had a wonderful weekend,

I know, mom,
but if Brad knew that,

he'd think I had an active,
fulfilling social life,

and he wouldn't ask me out

'cause he'd think
I already had plans.

How did we overlook the obvious?

Hi, sweetheart. Hi, kids.

Hi. Hi. How was work?

Oh, crazy.

We were swamped with phone calls

over that installment
of "Madame Bovary"

we showed last night.

A lot of people took offense
at the bedroom scene.

Can you believe how prudish
some people are?

They objected
to the bedroom scene?


That scene was so mild, dad.

Well, I know. That...

Wait a minute. What were you
doing watching that?


I wanted to see
if it was as good as the book.

Hello. Hi.

Alex, you're an hour late.

Well, I'm sorry, mom.
But it was worth it.

As of today,
I have taken the first step

on the path to riches.

My foot is poised
on the bottom rung

of the corporate ladder.

I've set the ball rolling.

I've put the wheels in motion

towards my future
wealth and prosperity.

My shoulder is firmly against
the grindstone

of economic success.

Try it with a few more metaphors
this time, Alex.

Well, I stopped by
that new shop-a-lot

on the way home from work. Yeah.

See, Skippy Handelman told me
that they had an opening

for a new stock boy.

So I gave them my résumé,
I had a brief interview,

and I think
they're impressed by me.

Remind me never to shop there.

Wait a minute.
What about your job at Adler's?

Well, I'd, uh...
I'd have to give that up.

I thought you loved
working for Mr. Adler.

Well, I do.
Mr. Adler's a great guy.

But I'm stagnating there.

Let's face it, dad.
My work at Adler's is done.

It's time for me to move on.

What are you...
The lone ranger?

Wait a minute, Alex.

Shouldn't you give this
a little more thought?

I mean, to just leave like that

after the way
Mr. Adler's treated you?

Well, don't worry, mom.
I've thought it through.

Mr. Adler will understand.

I'm not being impetuous.

What's "impetuous"?

It's when you do something
without thinking it through.

Like when you decided
to have Alex?

The opening is for
a junior-stock-boy trainee.

It's in the pet supplies

I would be in charge
of cat toys.

Cat toys.

See, you're in
over your head, Alex.

You mean your entire job
would revolve around cat toys?

Mom, you make it sound
so unimportant.

Do you realize
how many different kinds

of cat toys there are?

There are
the little plastic balls

with the bells inside
and the little furry birds

and the chew toys
that remove tartar and plaque

from the teeth.

I could go on forever.

Please don't.

Alex, there's just
a lot of factors involved here,

a lot of things to consider.


Yes, he is. Who's calling?

Alex, it's for you.

It's a Bobby Cahill
from the shop-a-lot.

Hello, Mr. Cahill.

Yeah, okay. Bobby.

Oh, wow. That's great.

That's very flattering.

Thanks a lot.

Well, I got the job.

Well, uh, congratulations.

And Bobby says it's conceivable
that within a year,

I could be assistant manager
of pet supplies.

Dare to dream, Alex.

Alex: Okay, Mr. Adler.

Try and remember
this time, okay?

Thermostat, valve, wait...


Kick. Got it?

Maybe it would help
if you set it to music.

♪ thermostat, valve,
wait, valve, kick ♪

I give up.

Oh. You want a nectarine?

Uh, no, thanks.

Listen, Mr. Adler,

I have something
I have to tell you.

You're sure
you don't want a nectarine?

They're in season now.

No. I'm sure. Listen...
Well, take a plum, then.

No, I don't want any produce,
thank you.

Isn't the rain remarkable, Alex?

What do you mean?

Well, it's the completion
of a cycle.

Everything is in motion,

and yet all things return
to their original source.

Very poetic.

It's also wet.

That's true.

Mr. Adler.

What is it?

There was an opening
for a stock boy

at shop-a-lot supermarket.

I took the job.
I start next week.

Do you think
you can handle both jobs?

No, I don't.

Why do you burden yourself,

Did this come out of that
Entrepreneurs' Club stuff?

Mr. Adler, you don't understand.

See, I'm not gonna be working
here anymore.


I see.

You're going to work there
instead of working here?

Well, yeah.

But don't worry. I'm not gonna
leave you shorthanded.

I've been breaking in
Skippy Handelman.

He's gonna take over for me.

Alex, if you need more money,
I could probably...

No, no, it's not the money,
Mr. Adler.

I mean, sure,
they pay a little bit more,

but that's not
why I took the job.

Then why?

it's a great opportunity.

I'm gonna be in charge
of the entire cat-toy operation.

They make toys for cats?


Why do cats need toys?

They're pets.
They're not under any pressure.

Mr. Adler, you don't understand.

See, this shop-a-lot
is a terrific place.

It's virtually
on the cutting edge

of creative supermarketing.

They got 21 aisles.

They're open 24 hours.

They've got camping,
sporting goods, shoe trees.

They've even got
an automatic sprinkler system

for the vegetables.

If I was a younger man
I'd take the job myself.

You're not upset with me,
are you?

It's nothing personal.

Well, I'll see you.

Good night.

And, uh, thanks for everything.

You know, Alex,

if cat toys mean so much to you,

we could sell them here.

I took the job, Mr. Adler.

I see.

Good night.

Oh, uh, just a minute, Alex.

I don't want you
to catch a cold.

Well, mom, I was right.
About what?

About Brad Hunter.

He asked me out today
for Friday night.

Oh. Ah. That's wonderful.

You know, to be honest,

I thought you should have been

more straightforward with him,

but I guess you knew
what you were doing.

So, where is he taking you
Friday night?

No. I told him I was busy.

You're not busy Friday night.

Of course not, mom.

But I can't let Brad think

I was just waiting for him
to ask me out.

Oh, Mallory. Why don't you just
deal honestly with Brad

and let fate take its course?

There's no talking to you
sometimes, dad.

Alex, put away your homework
at the dinner table.

I got an oral report
for history class tomorrow, dad.

I don't care
if you're testifying

before a congressional

Study after dinner.

I can't. I've got to go
to the shop-a-lot tonight.

I'm getting picked up
in a few minutes.

Now, just a minute.

You've worked every afternoon

and evening
for the past two weeks.

Well, I know, mom,
but this isn't work.

Well, not technically.

It's a special
evening training program

for the new stock boys.

Tonight we have a meeting

on the creative monitoring
of canned-goods inventory.

Boy, you don't want to
miss that, Alex.

Well, I can't miss it.

I got to attend
all the evening meetings

to be eligible
for my first promotion.

Ah, it's probably Skippy.

He's having some problems
at Mr. Adler's.

He wants to talk to me.

Alex, this time
you really got to help me out.

Oh, hi, Mr. and Mrs. Keaton.
Hi, Jennifer.

Hi, Skippy. Oh! Hello, Mallory.

Those are lovely sneakers
you're wearing.

They sure do flatter your feet.

Skippy, try to keep
your hormones under control

for about five minutes, okay?

I'm doing the best I can, Alex.

She's really pretty.

Yeah. What do you need to know?

I got to get going
in a few minutes.

Oh, uh, first of all,

we're all out
of disposable diapers.

I looked all over.
I couldn't find them.

Look again.
They're in the storeroom

behind the cling peaches
in heavy syrup.

Don't toy with me, Alex.
They're not there!

They're in the storeroom,

No. No, no, no, no.
Not the storeroom.

Don't make me go in there, Alex.

The place is a jungle.
I can't find anything in there.

Alex, I can't handle this job.

Get a grip on yourself, Skippy.

Look, I'll draw you a map
of the storeroom,

and I'll show you
where everything is, all right?

Okay. Maps are good.
Just draw neat.

Anyway, mom, I'm sure
Brad will ask me out again.

Next time he does,
I'll just say yes.

But now you don't have a date
for Friday night.

So I don't have a date
for this Friday.

It's not the end of the world.

I'll find something to do,
no matter how stupid.

I'm free on Friday night.

Not that stupid.

I'll get it. I'll get it.

Hi, Bobby.

Come on in. How you doing, 28?


Uh, Bobby, these are my sisters.

These are my parents.

Uh, this is Skippy Handelman.

How does Skippy fit in?

He doesn't.

Everybody, this is Bobby Cahill.

He's the senior stock boy
in charge of my training.

Bobby, nice to meet you.

So, uh, well,

how's he working out down there?

Are you kidding? Number 28 here
is really coming along.

We have high hopes for him
down at the market.


Well, I'm junior stock boy
number 28

down at the store.

You must be very proud of him.

Yes, I am.

And I know that my wife here,
Mrs. 28,

feels the same way.

Well, you should.

He's got a real knack
for cat toys.

Really... really taken
the place by storm.

Well, the cat toys are calling.

See you later.

Nice meeting you.

Pleasure, Bobby. Bye-bye.

So, uh, Mallory,
can I wash your dishes for you?

You can wash mine.

Wouldn't you be more comfortable
in your own bed?

Oh, hi, mom.

I was just studying.

Interesting method.

Yeah, well,
I guess I'm pretty tired.

Why don't you go upstairs
and go to sleep?

Can't. Got to prepare
this oral report

for history class tomorrow.

I just got back from the store.

How was work? Fine.

Did you know that ongoing
computerized inventory control

is 71% more efficient
than weekly checks?

I've always suspected it.

You want some warm milk?


How are you enjoying it...
Your new job?

Well, it's fine, I guess.

Most of the people
seem pretty nice.

Except for 17 and 24...
They're a little standoffish.

Higher numbers are usually
easier to get along with.

The truth is...

I don't talk to anybody
when I'm working.

But they look like nice people.

Anyway, I'm going on the
assumption that they're nice.

That's strange.


The milk from Adler's is frozen.

Oh, I told Skippy about that.

The cooler breaks down,
and the milk freezes.

Remind me
to yell at him tomorrow.

Oh, Alex, you are so tense.

I'm not tense.

Anyway, mom, I told you.

I have to work these hours
at shop-a-lot.

If I don't, I'm gonna stay

junior stock boy
number 28 forever.

No advancement, no promotions.

But is it worth it,
making yourself miserable?

Of course it's worth it.

Every time I take a package
of furry mice out of the carton

or... or stamp the price
on a box of buzzy balls

or put a catnip punching bag
up on the shelf,

I know I'm one step closer
to the executive suite.

I guess the road to success
is paved with kitty litter.

Don't misunderstand
what I'm gonna say, Alex.

I mean, I don't want to tell you
how to live your life

or what kind of person
you should be.

Just... just think of this
as food for thought.

Maybe I shouldn't say it.

No. Say what?

Your father and I have made

specific career choices
over the years.

Your dad could be managing
a network affiliate station

instead of a PBS station
and earning a lot more money.

I could be working
at a big architectural firm

instead of
working independently.

Do you understand why we made

the choices that we've made?

No, but it's your life.

Okay, let's say that
all your hard work pays off

and you get your promotion

and you're made assistant
manager of cat supplies.

What then?

Well, then I work towards

becoming manager
of pet supplies.

But where does it end, Alex?

I don't know.
Chairman of the cat toys?

I guess what I'm trying to say
is this.

Do you ever envision yourself
reaching a point

where you're
intrinsically satisfied

with the work that you're doing?

Where you're no longer
working to get ahead

but simply because you enjoy it?

I don't know, mom.

I just can't make that
a priority right now.

I mean, if I wanted to be
enjoying what I was doing,

I might as well
still be working at Mr. Adler's.

That didn't come out right.

Hi, Mr. Adler.

Alex? How are you?

I'm fine. How are you?

Fine. Fine.

Uh, listen, I accidentally

wore my apron home
the last time I worked.

My mom washed it.

Uh, there it is.

Thank you.

I just thought I'd bring it by
in case you might need it.

I realize you have
two other ones,

but, um, one of them
has a big stain in the front,

and the other one's
missing the "g" in "grocery."

It just says "Adler's rocery."

Well, good, good. Fine.

I mean, we wouldn't
want to throw people off.

This definitely is the best
apron out of the three.

Thank you.

So, how's your new job, Alex?

Oh, it's great.
It's, uh, really great.

I like it a lot.

I'm glad to hear that.

So, anyway, I brought
that apron back for you.

My best one.

Well, I'd better get going.

Take care of yourself, Alex.

Yeah, you too.

Excuse me. Do you carry
any non-dairy creamer?

Non-dairy creamer?

Yeah. All your milk is frozen.

Well, do you have any, huh?

About the non-dairy creamer.

Mr. Adler, you know what
I do all day at the shop-a-lot?

I unload boxes of cat toys.

And then after I unload them,
I stamp the prices on them.

And then after
I stamp the prices on them,

I put them on the shelf.

I hate cat toys.

So don't play with them.

And it's not just the cat toys,

I hate working in a place
where I'm known only as 28,

and nobody
talks to anybody else,

and where the human factor

is filtered out of almost
every aspect of the business.

They call you 28?

Even cats have names.

I don't suppose you'd consider

giving me my old job back,
would you?

Give him his old job back,

I got to get home.

What about Skippy?

I think this job has Skippy

on the verge
of a nervous breakdown.

You know, Alex,
this place is no shop-a-lot.

You're not kidding.
I can't shop at all.

You weren't happy here before.

What makes you think
you're gonna be happy here now?

No, see, I was happy here.
I just didn't know it.

I guess I just got carried away.

When they opened
those big, automatic doors

for me over there,

well, I guess,
for one brief, shining moment

it was shop-a-lot.

I missed you, Alex.

Skippy's okay,

but we're running out
of ice cream.

So, when can you start?

Don't hug, okay?

I'm a sensitive man.

I'd like not to get
emotionally involved here.

That's $4.64.

I want you two to know
I'm canceling my other errands.

They'd be anticlimactic.

You know, I think I'm going to
close up a few minutes early

and watch the sunset.

Are you interested?

The sunset?

Do you realize how much work
I have to do?

I'll bet Skippy
set this place back 30 years.

Oh, great.

Business was good 30 years ago.

I'm serious.

So am I.

I am gonna watch the sunset.
Are you coming?

Yeah, I'm coming.

Will you at least
consider getting a new cooler?

Don't start.