Hello again, sunny face! Hopefully your spring has been treating you well. My hometown has been slowly waking up. We had a few more flurries and snow storms than normal, but those glorious green blades of grass are peeking through. And my back yard! Oh, the wildlife menagerie of deer, rabbits and squirrels was recently joined by a muskrat! 

It is spring weather that made me think of this people-watching experience. In my first post, I mentioned briefly a person who had assumed I was someone else. An honest mistake I guess. I’m going to tell you right now, that I’ve made assumptions before. In most cases if you show me that I was wrong, I will admit it. I really wish sometime that other people would do the same.

I was out for the afternoon, running errands and getting some shopping done. When the spring weather gets warm, I tend to wear a light jacket, a soft pastel pink peacoat. You know, because it’s spring, and there is something about bright colors that amplifies the spring joy. On this particular sunny and mild day, I was wearing a light coat and khaki jeans and sneakers. I know, you want to know why this matters, and you’ll see soon enough. Because when running errands and just generally enjoying the day, you may have a plan of attack. You plan to get your things, pick up the groceries and cook something delicious before settling down to a book. You don’t plan on explaining yourself.

Thankful for the radiantly warm sun and the fresh spring air, my plan was to first stop at Target for a few items, then head to the local farmers market for some ingredients for lunch before sitting at the park with a book. So I headed into the store doors, picking up a hand basket and started to make quick work of my list. I was shopping for a shower gift, trying to make sense of the registry among the fluffy soft towels she she stopped me. An older woman with gray hair and a shopping cart had sharply tapped my arm.

“Where are the light bulbs?” She demanded, with her face quite scrunched up.

I turned slightly toward her, my purse slipping a little on my shoulder. “I’m not sure, maybe we could ask someone.” I told her as I scanned the aisle for an employee and adjusted my purse. This only served to upset her a bit, because she put her hands on her hips.

“That’s why I’m asking you!” Her eyebrows became one very angry line across her face. “Don’t they train your here to know where everything is?” That’s when I realized she saw my khaki jeans and assumed I was working there. Never mind the fact that I had a jacket and a purse and a basket of my own. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, and try to be as helpful as I could. It couldn’t be that hard to find light bulbs and I imagined it shouldn’t take too much time.

Fully turning away from the fluffiness of the shelf I answered her question. “Well, ma’am, I don’t work here, but I’m sure that we could find some one who does.” 

“This is what you call customer service? I want to speak with your manager!” Mmm….I think that we have a communication problem here.  

“Sure, but my manager doesn’t work here either.” Whoops, that just got a bit snarky. But after offering to help despite my lack of Target employment, I wasn’t expecting this kind of exchange. So as you can guess when she made her next demand I was a little put off.

“I want to speak to your manager right now!” I think that if she could have, she would have stomped her foot and cried. 

Without saying a word I proceeded to step around her and walk down the aisle. I know that they usually have people near the electronics department, so I figured that they could help. That is, help this wild woman find her light bulbs and in doing so, help me escape light bulb lady. As I figured she would, she followed a few aisles over the whole time badgering me with a lecture on my terrible work ethics and customer service. She couldn’t understand how I still had a job here, and frankly neither could I.

It must have been quite the sight when we approached the electronics counter. A kind but bewildered face greeted us. In a few short sentences I explained to him that she was looking for light bulbs and assumed I worked there, and if he could please help? Bewilderment turned to dread as this woman slammed her hands on the counter and began expressing her disgust I my service. She demanded to see the manager and that I should be fired on the spot. 

Mr. Electrics looked over and gave me a knowing look and nodded. As I walked away Mr. Electrics was assuring the lady that he could help her. Bless Mr. Electrics.

I was able to finish my shopping and savor my lunch at the park with a few savory items from the farmers market. I was able to enjoy the soft breeze and the sounds of the people and animals around me. And I did it all while walking around in my comfy sneakers and khakis. Luckily for me no one else asked me to find any light bulbs.

One thought on “People Watching: Right on Target

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