When Polite Chit Chat Goes Horribly Wrong

Stalker Smith strikes again.

Sainsbury’s. Today. About 3pm.

I whip out a Bag For Life and PAM! Open the bad boy up.

“Hello!” I boom.

“Hi… Are you Ok packing?”

“Yep, should be fine thanks! Got my recycled bags” and I shook them. Just to make sure she saw them. Making sure she knew I was a staunch warrior for the environment! And that she would remember to give me my green loyalty card points.

And she began to scan my items. Without talking. A silence interrupted only by the repetitive

Beep! Beep!

of food items being ran along that thing in the clear box in the conveyor belt with a massive Terminator bright red eye beaming out of it.

A good 10 seconds of vocal blackout…

The skin around my fingers sort of began to tighten my hand into a claw, and I started to breath ever so slightly faster. You see, I can’t stand silence. Not when there is the opportunity for polite chit chat to be had! You never know, said my Aunt once, you may be the only one that speaks to that person that day. And those wise words have haunted me forever since, a big lead weight of responsibility heavy on my conscience, my burden to carry on forever and ever.

Well, that and a constant need to have people love me and find me charming and endearing. And to want to be my best friend and like me best of all. In this case, better than the customer before me, and better than the customer after me. And so I began my mission to make her love me, by showering her with attention. And questions.

Me; “So… did you have a good Christmas?”

Her; “Yes thanks. You?”

Me; “Yes thanks….” 1 second of silence, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds and…”Did you get up to much?”

Her; “Oh, er” 1 second of silence, 2 seconds of silence “We just had a quiet one.”

Me; “Ah yes! “We“! I remember you told me you had a daughter! She’s 10 isn’t she? Or is she 11 now?”

The beeping stops. I look up from loading my bag for life to see a pair of bulging eyes staring at me. A bit concerned. Perhaps a dash of horrified. Wait, is she reaching for a panic button?

“Oh. Have I served you before?”

“Erm” the cold sweat forming under my arm pits and the flush of blush flooding over my cheeks suggests to my pea brain that I may have over stepped the line from “interested customer with fabulous manners and an excellent memory” to STALKER.

It also registered a dash of hurt that she didn’t rememeber me.

“Yes, you did, it was a while ago now though…”

“Oh right” and her hand comes back up from under the checkout, gripping extra carrier bags. Not reaching for the panic button then. And the beeping starts again.

Beep! Beep!

This would have been a perfect opportunity to finish loading up my shopping, be quiet, slink off into the crowd of cross, pushy shoppers and always avoid that checkout lady from now on until the day I die.

But I can’t stop myself… That awkward moment whereby I delivered a major part of her biography  to her (not all of it…oh I remembered a lot more, but figured her frightened little face meant I should stop offering such information) meant I now needed to prove I was NORMAL and not a STALKING FREAK. And so…

Me; “Rubbish weather isn’t it?”

Her; “Yes, terrible.”

Me; “Wasn’t nice over Christmas was it either?”

Her; “No but we weren’t up here.”

Me; “No?”

Her; “No” and then as the words “We went down South to see family” slipped out her mouth, I could see she instantly regretted it.

Ah. Oh dear. She has accidently had a slip of the tongue and offered some additional information about herself by making a leading statement. Poor thing. She has basically opened her flood defences and let in the tidal wave that is me and my chat.

Me; “Down South? How lovely! Where abouts? It’s lovely on the South Coast! I grew up on the Isle of Wight!”

Her; “Dorset”

Me; “Ooooh lovely! I LOVE Dorset! We spend a lot of time there! How funny! What a coincidence! (it isn’t really, is it? The South coast is a pretty big place) “Where abouts?”

Her; “Er, Lulworth”

Me; “Oh I LOVE Lulworth! I’d love to live there, it’s on my fantasy list! (Shocker. I have a fantasy life). Does your mum actually live in the seaside bit? LUCKY! Did you grow up there?” (Why can’t I stop?)

Her; “No, erm, she is just renting as she has had to be out of her house for a few weeks”

Me; “Oh I see! Still near lovely Lulworth? Or far away?” (it’s like a verbal rollercoaster I have no control over)

Her; “No…Durdle Door”

Me; “Oh I LOVE Durdle Door! How marvellous! Where abouts?” (what’s wrong with me?)

Her; “Erm, the caravan park actually”

Me; “Oh I KNOW the one! The one on the approach to Durdle Door, the one you have to drive through to get to the big grassy carpark that overlooks the sea? The one with the sweet little old fashioned shop that looks like it was decorated in the 1950’s and hasn’t changed since? (how rude of me). The one with those funny little yurt thingy’s? It has to shut down every now and then doesn’t it? Caravan park rules and all that! You have to be out for a few weeks a year and – ”

She hands me my receipt and smiles.

“Have a lovely new year”. Code for “please leave now”

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32 Responses to When Polite Chit Chat Goes Horribly Wrong

  1. jo says:

    I do this – and I’d have probably been the same about Lulworth and Durdle Door, although would have rabbited on about not getting there as it sounded too scary and it was windy, although it’d have been a deep water tangent in there too. You’re not alone 🙂

  2. Lisa says:

    I just love reading your blogs funny thing I was in Sainsbury’s today around that time and heard the security guards talking about a red headed stalker lol.

    • Hannah says:

      You want to be careful saying nice things to me like that though, because I am looking for fresh stalking meat. 😉

  3. OOOOPS. You nearly had as lodger !!!!!!!!
    Good one though

  4. Tom says:

    Ha! I do this kind of thing too and replay it in my mind ad nauseum. I’d say you’re completely normal on that basis. 😉

  5. Ha ha, this is brilliant. I’m actually the other way around and find it awkward when shop assistants want to talk to me. I just want to pay for my shopping and leave! I think it’s impressive that you remembered so much about her though 😉

  6. Vanessa says:

    That’s why they invented self-scanning (to protect the staff…).

  7. Ha ha ha I was cringing reading this ???OMG it’s me!! I totally feel for you what it is with verbal diahorria … I know spelt wrong I’m sure…ooooss shut up Julie!! See !!

  8. Haha I do the same, I always remember things people have told me no matter who they are.

  9. I love you! This is just brilliant

  10. bonniecroft says:

    ooops this definitely runs in the family .we just cant help our selves . I call it being friendly its not our fault if others don’t see it that way . Its got nothing to do with the fact I don’t get out much ! x

  11. Ha ha – this really made me laugh! Will you shop there again? Will she be hiding?!

  12. Nicola says:

    Ha Ha! I am the complete opposite to you and hope the check out clerks do NOT to to speak to me and will actively avoid the ones who I know try to be chatty. Same with haridressers. I will never return if they try to engage me in conversation.

    • Hannah says:

      I know – Aren’t you the woman who takes a magazine in with her when she has a pedicure? 😉
      But this is why I love you. And this blog technique is how I MADE you love me…remember the hot sausage rolls I sent you and Smudge off with when you went to Wales on a booze trip about 10 years ago. I am a JEDI MASTER.

  13. Yay, I’ve been to the very same caravan park!! I would have been EXACTLY the same as you. Can’t help myself!

    • Hannah says:

      ACES! You and should like, start a cult. Or you know, a helpline for people like us experiencing restraining orders and court orders.

  14. josandelson says:

    just seen this and it’s very, very funny. I do the same thing and am sure am Northern adopted by Southern family. Except half of Southern family come from the North but they aren’t very Northerny really…. etc. I think you are a stalker but in a good way. Like the word *geek* is now fashionable, possibly *stalker* could do with some PR for people like us. Well I would have talked back to you if I’d been checking out in s’market. Unless I had PMT. Or was writing song lyrics in my head. Or had had a big argy bargy with someone. Or couldn’t think and check out at the same time. Most likely.

    • Hannah says:

      SONGS LYRICS IN YOUR HEAD! YES! That is the PERFECT excuse for stalker lapsing! I DO THIS TOO! I like the idea of “PR”. Maybe like those Geek t shirts and mug pictures we could you know, come up with something of our own? Like…A big red warning triangle with a cartoon of a restraining order in it?
      Thanks for reading and for your nice words xxx

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