Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Checkout cheer

You know how things happen to you, and even at the time you can't quite believe it? I had a moment like that last week but luckily my friend was with me to confirm that she had witnessed it too.
Backtracking a bit, I need to tell you that I seem to attract nutters.
Most of my friends I think would be happy for me to describe them as eccentric. I like people who stray from the well trod pathway and sing and dance to the happy tune in their own head.
But sometimes even I am a bit worried by the level of nuttiness I encounter.
My friend Tracy calls it "Wednesday" syndrome. Long story, don't ask. But the short version is that we often spend Wednesdays out shopping together and we always seemed to have some kind of encounter with someone who maybe should have taken more medication that day.
I once was cornered in Poundland by a lady (with obvious special needs who wanted me to help her choose a present for her boyfriend. Her dead boyfriend. I heard her whole life history and facts I really didn't want to know about her entire family. I spent at least 20 minutes gently guiding her through this difficult conversation and helping her choose a gift hoping Tracy would come and rescue me then finally managed to back away relieved only to spot my friend Tracy hiding behind another stand creased up with laughter.
And last week I got caught again.
red noses
En route to a pub with another couple I suddenly remembered I was short of a couple of red noses for the UK Comic Relief charity day the following day. For the children, not me obviously. Luckily my friend pointed out we would be passing the supermarket which stocked them and asked her husband to pull in so we could nip and and stock up.
My DH stayed with hers in the car and we went and inevitably got distracted by the many shiny things you always find in a different supermarket.
With loaded baskets we headed to the least busy checkout. Big mistake.
I started unloading my basket and tuned in to what the checkout guy was muttering under his breath.
"pretty smiley lady, lovely pretty smiley lady" seemed to be the theme of the tune he was singing to himself.
Realising I had heard him he announced that he was going to call me pretty smiley lady - unless my name was Jane? No, not Jane I told him.
Did I make my own jumper? he asked. Errrrm..... I looked down at the long coat I was wearing and told him I hadn't made it.
He then told me that on second thoughts I didn't look like a Jane, I looked like a Rachel. At this point I stupidly told him my name. This appeared to spur him on and he started asking "does pretty smiley lady have little people at home? Or a husband?"
Oddly I really don't think he was trying to chat me up. Anyway to be on the safe side I told him about my seven children and DH waiting outside in the car. Just outside. Very close in fact.
Then he asked me if I had pets. I'd given up trying the reticent approach by now and told him about my cats. And then he listed a long list of his pets which included a variety of reptiles, furry things and insects. (and maybe his mother mummified in the bedroom?)
pretty smiley lady in the coat I
 didn't make myself
I know I sound a bit mean - maybe you think he was just chatty and friendly? But I'm sorry to say he was coming over as downright creeepy. The reason for his empty checkout was blindingly clear - all the regulars probably know to avoid him!
My friend was next in the queue but he largely ignored her only exclaiming in delight when "pretty smiley lady has come back!" as I helped my friend with her bags. She was a bit offended to have not attracted his attention but he was obviously so dazzled by my smile he only had eyes for me.
Or maybe I give off some vibe that says "Loonies Welcome"
Well with her chuckling and me practically running we headed back to the safety of the car and our husbands. But even though it had happened only minutes before, relaying the story to them sounded like we had made it up or exaggerated.
You couldn't make it up though could you?
Feel free to comment below and let me know some of your strangest encounters - I would love to know I am not alone in attracting odd folk!

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