The Lunch Break Tag-along
We had a regular at my second video game store who would come in multiple days a week to hang out for hours on end without buying anything. No one felt comfortable asking him not to loiter because he was a young veteran discharged with an injury, and he was nice, if oblivious. The main problem was that he would follow either me or my female supervisor around the store constantly, talking at us and preventing us from getting work done.
Now, I say “talking at” and not “talking to” because he didn’t particularly care if we returned conversation or not. I think he was lonely, but we had work to do, man.
One day I was on my way out for my lunch break and this fellow was on his way in. I’m pretty introverted and I really value my quiet lunch breaks listening to a podcast or reading. He asks me where I’m going for lunch and without thinking I tell him ”Panera” in passing. He declares “Me too!” Insert face palm here.
I don’t know why I still went there. I guess I figured he wasn’t serious since he had clearly been on his way into the video game store and not to lunch… Sure enough, he shows up behind me in line. I have my earbuds in and he starts talking to the back of my head. My body language is screaming “I’m trying to be alone right now”. He tries to buy me lunch—I decline. I sat down in a corner without a another chair at the table and begin eating my meal (ham sandwich and broccoli cheddar soup, for the record). He pulls over a chair and continues talking at me…
If I was older and more mature then, I would have told him firmly that I prefer to take my lunches alone, but at the time I was 19 and feeling cornered and uncomfortable, so this went on for my entire lunch break—him talking at my blank, eating face, and me not responding, hoping he would take the hint.
After that my manager finally started asking him to leave me and my other female co-worker alone, so that was nice.
The Newerth Guy
Back when League of Legends was first hitting it’s stride in Esports it was my main game. I once saw a guy over in the PC department wearing a Heroes of Newerth shirt. Heroes was League’s main competitor at the time. I thought, Neat! A fellow MOBA genre fan! It’s slow right now; maybe he’ll chat with me for a while.
I go over and say hello, introduce myself, ask about his shirt. I say I play League and ask him about his PC setup. Then he without missing a beat said, “League of Legends? I can’t talk to you,” and promptly walks away from me and right out of the store. What.
The Printer Meltdown
I was once talking to a mom with her 4 year old daughter at my register in the video game department. Both were super sweet, but her daughter kept trying to get behind my desk-podium thing to put her hands in the printer. I asked her nicely to please stay out of there. She ignored me. Her mom told her to stop a bit more sternly.
Cute kiddo immediately goes full demon tantrum on the floor. This is fine. Her mom and I keep discussing products as normal, pretending our ears are totally not bleeding, and the toddler keeps flailing on the floor. Her mom pauses after a while and raises her voice over the kid’s, shrugging dramatically at her tantrum, “I. DON’T. CAAARRRE”. It was funnier than it sounds, I swear.
The Time a 10 Year Old Got the Best of Me
A mid-thirties couple were visiting my department during the holidays with their daughter in a push cart, who appeared to be around 10 with a developmental disorder of some kind (couldn’t tell what, doesn’t matter that much). Her mom was playing with her hands to sort of keep her occupied as she kept grabbing at everything they passed.
I was helping them get set up with a new console when suddenly I feel myself jerk over sideways. It was a bit of an out of body experience and I had no idea what was happening. Turns out the girl had seized a strong fistful of my hair and had yanked me over with my head sort of pinned against the side of the kart.
No one could really see what was happening because we were out of sight between some aisles. Her parents start freaking out trying to get her to let me go, apologizing profusely to me the whole time. I’m all chill on the outside, saying, “Oh it’s fine. Don’t worry about it,” from my place on the ground.
I hear on my store radio “Angie, are you ok?!” from our security guy, who is clearly holding back laughter as he watches on the store cameras. “Yep, I’m just… You know, here.”
Eventually they got her to let me go and were extremely apologetic. I told them not to worry and they came back another day to finish their shopping. Definitely one of the more bizarre things that has happened to me in retail.
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