Thursday, April 25, 2013

Goofball at the Grocery Store (or Shy Val Strikes Again)

I have a knack for getting myself into the most awkward situations, and the latest is that, in a poorly-thought-out attempt not to embarrass a grocery store employee who obviously had me confused with another shopper last week, I seem to have agreed with his assumption that I have children.  "You dummy!" Mike laughed when I finally, after a week of suffering privately over my socially clumsy interactions with this man, told him what I had (and hadn't) said to this kind and good-intentioned person.  "Why didn't you just correct him?!"  Yes, well, that would have been an easy fix, I see now, more than a week into my repeated almost-daily attempts to try to avoid him.  

This man has worked in the store the entire six years I've shopped there, and we always exchange hellos and make small talk.  He is, as Mike and I have noted numerous times, undoubtedly among the two nicest staff members in the entire supermarket.  Those of you who have worked retail know just how amazing his kind of constant pleasantness with the public is.  I have never been there with children, but for whatever reason, this employee greeted me last week with a cheerful "How are your little ones?" and because I knew ("knew") that he would realize his mistake the second I walked away from him and I didn't want him to feel embarrassed, I simply said, "Oh!  Fine.  Thank you!" and wished him a good day and kind of scampered off.  Strike One.  It threw me off, and I clearly wasn't graceful in my quick getaway, but I thought nothing more of it.  

Until the next time it happened, when he said my "little ones" sure must keep me busy and then asked me if they were in school yet.  You would think that that would have been the moment I'd have corrected him and that we'd have had a good laugh about it and that would be the end of this, but it was not.  Apparently, the words "little ones" set off the Shy Person Panic Alarm in my head, for I felt like I was rooted to that spot of the store aisle and my mind came up with nothing except "Uhh, no."  And I raced toward the checkout lines, leaving this man looking puzzled by my uncharacteristically curt response.  I have been trying to tell myself that surely ("surely"), I must have at least called a more-gracious "Thank you!" or "Have a nice day!" over my shoulder as I ran away, but I don't think I did.  Strike Two.  

And now, more than a week later, because I know the jig is up and I need to correct him--which we all know will now be more mortifying for me than my having corrected his error in the first place would have ever been for him--I have been avoiding this man altogether, unable as of yet to steel myself for what can't help but be a sink-through-the-grocery-store-floor-in-embarrassment moment.  Gah!  The only even somewhat intelligent explanation I have been able to think to offer this person--and it is flimsy at very best--is that I work with children and thought he meant that "my little ones" at work must keep me busy, but. . . flimsy, like I said.  It is all I have come up with, though--Mike is enjoying my predicament too much to be of any help--so one of these days, I need to bite the bullet, seek out the employee (so he doesn't catch me off-guard and throw me further off my game with an inquiry about my kids' names or birthdays or something), and explain (with a fair amount of charming laughter at my own expense, if I can muster it) our "misunderstanding."  I try to tell myself that nice people are nice people and that they're not going to stop being nice just because I have something embarrassing to tell them, and I know the entire encounter, when I do ultimately brace myself to have it, will only take a few seconds, but I am just not ready to deal with this yet, and day after day, I have not been ready.  And that, dear readers, is why I have been doing my food-shopping between 6-7 a.m. this week.  I am actually typing this right after returning from my latest quick-get-to-the-store-before-this-man-starts-his-shift-at-work grocery store jaunt.  How do I get myself into these stupid situations?!  

13 comments:

pam said...

;) So funny. It is refreshing to have friendly people where you shop, so many times they are simply bummed to be having to deal with people. I always go out of my way to make a comment at a service desk when someone is nice, hopefully they get some sort of reward for it. You will probably both have a great laugh when it is all said and done!

Val said...

Thank you, Pam, that's probably true--and that's why my reluctance to see him again is so dumb: I *know* it'll be fine and that he'll be nice about it. It's just so stupid. :)

I'm taking your box to the post office later today, by the way! :) ♥

Nellie said...

Rather funny, Val. I always had our "little ones" with me when I shopped, so there was no question about how they were doing.:-) It's really probably just a simple case of mistaken identity. He sounds like a very nice employee. Just be brave!

Kathy said...

Oh Val, I love this and completely get it. Sometimes it is easier to just agree and move on rather than cause someone to feel embarrased. Good luck on straightening it all out!

jo(e) said...

Oh, I can sooo relate to this! People will call me by the wrong name, and I don't correct them because I don't want them to feel bad, and then they keep using the wrong name, and then I feel like I can't correct them because I don't want them to feel stupid for repeatedly calling me by the wrong name but then when I just awkwardly avoid them, I feel bad because they're probably wondering what they did wrong. The cycle can go on forever. Usually when I finally stop and confess to what's going on, the other person finds it funny and has a story of their own to relate.

Kim said...

I would have done the same. Especially because he is so friendly- I am mortified when I have to correct someone on something like that. I am like jo(e)- I will let someone call me the wrong name for forever rather than fess up :) Maybe tell him the same thing you told us and he will completely understand and think you are just as friendly and wonderful as you think he is :)

emily said...

LOL! I would totally do something like this!

Val said...

Thank you all. :)

jo(e): That's it exactly.

Kim: That's a nice thought--Thank you. :) ♥

Amy said...

maybe he's just unaware that your 'little one' has 4 paws. :)

Rev. Jim said...

ah, the human condition! Love it, Val! I agree with all these other comments. But I would add this advice, to save you that scene you are trying to avoid at the store:
quietly approach him at the store and hand him a note with your blog address and link to this post, don't say another word. Let him look into it and he then can make the correction. I believe he'll understand what happened and how it got out of hand. Like I said, this is just my advice - cheap, but advice! :) This comes from a fellow who thought he was shy about 1/3 of his life. But that number gets smaller the longer you live! May you be blessed with a very long, long life! :)

Val said...

Amy: Truuuuuue. :)

Jim: Thank you. ;)

asmplelife said...

You are so funny! Is there anyway you could adopt a couple kids rather quickly?! I could send you mine as loaners =)

Val said...

Ha! Yesssss, that's another approach, Cheryl. :) I've gone to the store during regular hours the past cople times and haven't seen the man, but I was prepared to make things right when I did. One of these days.... :)