We all make the mistake of asking for help from someone who does not have the ability to give it. It happens because we’re distracted by the desperate search for some item that feels vitally important at that moment. We’ll approach nearly anybody, even complete strangers, in the hopes they can steer us in the right direction.
I’ve made the mistake enough times that I’ve learned to look for name tags, an orange apron or a teenager avoiding eye contact for fear someone will ask him a question.
I’ve also learned to start with “excuse me, do you work here?”
On the flipside, most of us have had the moment where a stranger strode up to us and launched into a conversation they’ve started in their head about 40 watt light bulbs.
I’ve had so many part time jobs in my life it sometimes takes me moment to remember whether or not we carry 40 Watt 120 Volt E17 S type incandescent bulbs.
And when someone approaches me with the impression that I’m stocking shelves, I try to be polite. Apologetic even. “Sorry, I don’t work here.”
I’m not sorry though. I worked retail for years. I liked the discounts, tolerated rude customers and hid from managers who were underpaid and took it out on employees who were paid even less.
My friend Kevin tells people their item is in aisle 4. I wonder how this works in department stores.
Recently, I was caught off guard twice when people demanded information because they mistook me for a sales person.
My husband and I were trying to decide between white-white and bisque-white tiles. I don’t know what bisque is but apparently it’s white but not white-white.
The big shelf store employee was crouched, shelving tiles, politely listening while I decried the invention of tint when some guy rounded the corner, walked up to me and yelled about how he’s been in the paint department for ten minutes. He wanted to know if I was planning to make my way over there to give him some “damned” help.
My husband looked surprised, while the guy in the apron conveniently disappeared behind some boxes. I smiled and said, “Sir. I do not work here. Even if I did, this is a horrible way to ask for help. It’s possible you’ve made the employees run away.”
He gave me a dismissive wave that signaled broads didn’t talk that way in his day. I’ll never know if he found his paint. Maybe it was in aisle 4. Where is Kevin when I need him?
I thought that would be a once in a life time moment until I stole twenty minutes out of my day yesterday to shop for a blouse. I hate sleeveless season. No amount of tricep curls will make sleeveless OK for me.
I stood in front of a mirror holding up a blouse wondering why green is such a popular color this season since there are maybe four women in the world who look good in green. It makes me look yellow. Oddly, yellow looks fine on me.
Out of nowhere a man accosted me and gruffly said, “Where are the shoes?”
He was so rude I couldn’t think, and stood there blinking. So he yelled at me,
“I SAID, ‘Where are the shoes?!’”
So I said, “I have no peanut butter.”
He growled, “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Exactly,” I replied.
Crazy gets as crazy gives.
I walked away wondering if I would look good in bisque. If only I could find a salesperson.