Okay, this one is a doozy and was the first and worst thing I ever experienced in video game retail.
It was my second week on the sales floor. I was innocent and hopeful, not yet jaded by years of entitled customers demanding discounts for no reason and being generally clueless or rude about everything. I had not yet been snapped at like a dog or had anyone yell in my face, so that was nice. Such a sweet summer child…
The home phones were tacked on the end of the video game department for some reason and I was helping an elderly gentleman figure out which phone battery he needed. This took nearly 20 minutes because he had no idea what type of phone he had at home. (No one ever does.) After we finally figured it out, I let him know he could flag me down if he needed anything else.
Several minutes later a co-worker tells me via headset that a customer was asking for me in the camera department. It’s the elderly gentleman again. (Man, when I said “anything else”, I meant in my department!) So I help him out with SD cards for another 15 minutes, give or take. He kept going off topic, asking me for too-personal details about my life and slipping in weird comments like “You’re so pretty, you’re one of the good ones, aren’t you?”, but I assumed it was just him being a kooky old man and ignored it.
Now, after I spend a long time working with a customer, I usually offer a handshake when I see them off to the registers to properly thank them for coming in. When I offered this fellow a handshake, he takes the opportunity to suddenly pull me into a CRUSHING BEAR HUG and WOULD NOT LET ME GO, despite me trying to pull away as I made awkward “erhm… uh” noises.
This old dude was pretty feeble and wobbly with his cane, to the point of me questioning how he drove here without getting in an accident, so I was absolutely stunned he had the strength, let alone audacity to grab me like he did. It was incredibly uncomfortable and I was mildly panicking.
Security saw this on the cameras and after I managed to somehow gracefully extricate myself, they told me they would keep an eye out for him in the future because that incident was obviously, incredibly inappropriate.
Well! Cut to a few weeks later and I’m straightening the shelves in my department’s aisles when I turn a corner and walk nearly face-first into Creepy Grandpa. He was back! A different security guy must have been at the front door who didn’t recognize him?! Crap! I’m all sputtering, “Oh, it’s nice to see you again, sir. How can I help you?” You know, like a liar.
Not phased in the slightest, Creepy Grandpa immediately starts rambling and shambling into my personal space. I keep taking a step backward every time he gets closer. He says repeatedly, trying to touch/caress(?) my arm, “You’re one of the good ones, yes. You’re so pretty.” I keep sidling backwards, laughing nervously. I’ve never been so uncomfortable in my life, I’ve got goosebumps all over me, and I’m a even little shaky. He adds, “I could just eat you.” Oh lord, please don’t. We’re nearly at the other end of the aisle now as he’s been edging me backwards the entire time. “Yes, I could just EAT you. I’ve love to take you to lunch some time.”
I don’t remember what I said. Something like “I’m flattered but I have a boyfriend,” or “I have to go, my cat is on fire”. A co-worker spotted what was happening and came over to get the Creepy Grandpa’s attention so I could escape. That was the first time I remember thinking, I do not get paid enough for this. The next time he came in, security warned me and I hid in the warehouse until he was gone.
I’d like to say I never saw him again but I actually ran into him when I was helping my parents with plant shopping at a greenhouse nursery the following year. He was there with someone who must have been his wife and his eyes got huge when he saw me. Soooo I went and locked myself in the car until it was time to leave.
Thank you for reading!
Did this amuse you? There’s more:
Tales From Video Game Retail: Black Friday Edition
Tales From Video Game Retail: Sandwiches and Shenanigans
Tales From Video Game Retail: Peeves and Mistakes
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