Don’t confuse my short story, “Buffalo,” published in Ice River in the Summer of 1989, with John Kessel’s much better 1991 short story, also titled “Buffalo,” which won both the Sturgeon and Locus Awards, and was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. If you’ve heard that there’s a story out there with that title that you just have to track down and read, it’s surely not mine—it’s Kessel’s.
Now that we have that out of the way, a few words about this “Buffalo.”
A man working the midnight to 8:00 shift at an all-night convenience store notices what appears to be an anti-shoplifter, an old man who’s apparently sneaking products onto the shelves rather than taking them away. When the narrator begins to use those products and sees positive changes in his life, he comes to believe that the visitor to his store is a time-traveler. But the old man insists that he isn’t from the future—he’s just from Buffalo. Which turns out to be true? You’ll have to read it to find out.