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When Shopping Goes Wrong

“I can’t handle the level of creep that we are expected to deal with when we just want cheap groceries. I already have to bag it myself.”

These were the hilarious, yet true words spoken by a friend when I shared with her my harrowing tale (OK, perhaps a bit of an exaggeration) of my recent shopping experience at the grocery store.
Why I am sharing this story with a group of mostly strangers, I will never know. Perhaps I am hoping to reach one single creep out there, help him see his ways, and make a  change.
But the reality is, most likely you will get a laugh, shake your head, and start doing pick up service at your local grocery store.

Either way, enjoy.

It is very seldom that I get to go grocery shopping by myself. I find it to be economically sound since I spend way less money when my kids are not with me. And don’t even get me started on my husband. (The first time we went grocery shopping as a married couple, he said, “It’s like shopping with your mom and she says ‘yes’ to everything!” Love you, sweetie.)
I don’t take these outing for granted, especially since now we have arrived and our girls are pretty well-behaved when we go out, we are about to add to the chaos by bringing foster babies in the mix. (That story for another day.)

So there I was, list in hand, humming a song, holding a bag of sugar, when I saw them.  The first man was an odd duck from the get go. He was hustling around the store, going from aisle to aisle with no apparent plan or skill. He didn’t look lost, he just looked, semi-manic?
Then there was the second man. We caught eyes and he smiled. Innocent enough, but then he kept staring. I am not joking when I say that his gaze was so intense and creepy, I shopped for three aisles next to an elderly couple just to feel a little safer. He kept ending up in my aisle, watching me walk by, smiling, and again, watching. I finally lost him when I went to the check out.

But lucky for me, Mr. Creeper #1 was in line next to me.

There folks, is where our delightful exchange began.
It began innocent enough. Something about the weather. Lots of rain, blah, blah, blah.
I paid for my groceries and began to hightail it out of there because Mr. Creeper #2 was not far behind in line.
Then it happened.
I. Made. Eye Contact.
I should have known better than to look up from my wavy potato chip bag, but it was too late.  Weatherman began to engage me in the most awkward and inappropriate conversation I think I have ever had with a man, all in the parking lot… for five minutes.
No, I didn’t time it. But when I thought back on all that was said, immediately I realized that no matter what amount of time it was, it was time I was NEVER getting back in my life.
This man wore a phone around his neck with the camera facing out. His language was, ahem, colorful, as he began to explain why he wears it this way.

“That way no one gives me a hard time because I tell them I am video taping them.”

Do people normal harrass this guy or is he just misinterprutting these scenarios?

He proceeded to tell me that I should do the same and wear my phone around my neck. He saw me “digging my phone out of my back pocket” in the store…. (OK)… and he thought I would not like to break my phone by sitting on it. That happened to his daughter, explained.

“You don’t want to dig your phone out of your buttcrack like that again.”

Folks, I will pause this story for a brief word from our sponsors.

“Do you ever wonder why you get looks at the store? Wondering why women do not engage you in riveting conversations? Do you often bring up the words buttcrack or cleavage in conversation with perfect strangers? Then you need Manners! Manners can be found almost anywhere. Side effects include, no law suits against you, friends, conversations that do no end in someone crying, slapping you across the face, or running away in horror. And Manners are free! Contact your local Mom today to find out more about Manners.”

So I want to be honest right now about something. I am the WORST at getting myself out of terrible conversations. I will sit there for hours, smiling on the outside, while on the inside I am panicking and/or dying a slow death. I didn’t know what to do. Now in hindsight, I realize Ishould have walked away the moment “buttcrack” left his mouth. But I decided to stay and wait for the kicker…

The man continued to tell me about his phone around his neck. He described all the parts of the contraption that held it in place, including the clip in the back.
“See this clip? It nuzzles really nice in your cleavage. You have bigger cleavage than I do, so it will work even better for you. Much more comfortable than your back pocket.”

I am sorry sir, at what point were we talking about my cleavage… that was hidden far and deep behind my t-shirt? My LOSE t-shirt! I think at that point my jaw hit the ground and I turned to see Creeper #2 walk by me, smiling, and giving a nod. At this point I should have walked off with him!

After the word ‘cleavage’ hit the air, the rest of the conversation was a blur. I walked away like a toddler just woken from a nap, sluggish, confused, and wanting a snack. I didn’t know what to say, what to think, or if I should have strolled backwards to the van.

In the end, I walked away with some nuggets of wisdom that I will not soon forget.

1. Instinct is ALWAYS right.
2.Buttcrack talk is only funny with your 5-year-old.
3. Homesteaders know what they are doing. No need for grocery stores!
4. It takes all kinds.
5. I think Peter should start doing the shopping.

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