Can I Ever Shop Alone?

By Mindy Arbour

Why is it that every time I want to get away from everyone and go shopping to get my mind off of things, salespeople are following me around asking if I need anything?

If I need something, I will let you know. I want to have some peace. If I see something I like, I will get it. Leave me alone.

From the time I walk in the store and the greeter says hello to the time I walk out and the greeter says bye, I feel bothered. Just let me walk around and look. You do not know what I like, and I DO NOT want you picking out my clothes!

No matter what kind of store it is, someone is following me around. I cannot even go to the grocery store anymore without someone coming up and asking me if I am finding everything OK. I do not know if it is just me, but if I want something, I will ask.

I have an iPod, but I think it is stupid to walk around and ignore the rest of the world listening to my favorite music that I already listened to in the car and at home and now everywhere I am. However, I might start wearing mine to the store just so I do not have to tell the salespeople one more time that I can find what I need on my own, and if I cannot, I will let you know.

“Thanks anyway,” is my new favorite line. I am sick of being nice all the time when I am constantly being annoyed. Soon I am just going to ignore the fact that people are talking to me. I do not want to hear about the sale that is going on. I can read the signs that are hanging everywhere, but “thanks anyway.”
The salespeople have to feel as if they are bothering people. They greet me when I come in, follow me around talking to me the whole time, ask to start a dressing room for me, ask me if I am ready to check out and then finally say bye.

The truth is that half the time, when I get salespeople like this, I walk out of the store. I do not want to be bothered. I normally go to the mall alone to be alone. I do not want to be persuaded to buy something I do not want.

The sad part is that store managers actually train their employees to be that way. Have they ever shopped in their life? Do they like to be followed around like they are not capable of picking out their own things? Everyone has their own personality, and even though it is not always for the best, it is visible through the clothes they pick out. What is this world coming to if we cannot even pick out things that we want to buy?

I have it under control, but “thanks anyway.”

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