That Time At ThinkGeek When I left Without Buying What I Wanted

Orange County is one of those awesome spots that texts you when it’s your turn at the DMV; This gives you room to wander, and wastes less time sitting around in a stuffy and overcrowded waiting area.  With the kids under the care of a babysitter I embraced my three hour wait wandering the Florida Mall without children or husbands in tow.

First I made my way to ThinkGeek to check out some gift ideas for our upcoming anniversary.  3 years is supposed to be leather and the last thing I want to gift Mr. R is a boring old wallet.  I thought if anyone had a unique leather item that he would enjoy, ThinkGeek would.

When I walked in both associates were distracted in their own early morning retail associate chatter; a moment I miss from retail.  Quiet mornings were the best, quiet mornings with the gift of having a coworker with you were magical.

As I perused the aisles I took some time to update my Twitter, and browse the vast array of Star Wars light sabers, NES backpacks, and Pikachu cake molds.  I mean come on I had three hours to burn.  I pondered what it was like to work here, the product knowledge, the customers.  This was particularly peaked when a girl came in demanding a specific collectible that wasn’t in stock.  “But I want it now,” she whined, her voice on the borderline of cute and obnoxiously adorable.

The next individual in line wore a black tee shirt and jeans.  His beard was scraggly, and his hair was equally a disaster.  His pale complexion in Florida told me he possibly spent more time playing video games at his apartment than getting out meeting girls.  He was also on a quest of a different collectible than the girl who was now wandering the aisles across the store from me.  He had been sent over from GameStop who said that their inventory showed that Think Geek would have 11 in stock.  The argument from the associate behind the register and the man went on for quite some time.  I tuned in and out as I started to really consider the Death Star Popcorn Popper, and a few other gadgets, but still nothing leather.

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Approaching closer to the register as I make another lap, the associate is now assuring the bearded man that he does not hold product, that there are none of what he is seeking at this location, while I notice that their event marquee which hangs from the back of the register read that a Star Wars VS Star Trek trivia night was coming up.  Quickly, I snapped a shot with my phone so I could remember to show it to MR. R, and quite possibly share the news with my followers. (As we all know I love to support the happenings in a mall.)  But just as I was placing the phone back in my purse an associate came out of the backroom behind me.

She froze as she stared at me, and I looked back at her making eye contact, to be honest she had startled me.  Her eyes were now switching between my gaze and the bag, and the moment was becoming quite telling of what the rest of my visit would be like.  Her next words sealed my suspicions.  “Is there something I can help you with?”  Only, this wasn’t said kindly, but instead quite annoyed, rushed, and said in that manner of, how can I help you out.

Now she was scanning my legs, my pockets, and my bag; I knew that look, I had made it myself form time to time, she just knew she had caught me stealing and just couldn’t figure out how to prove it.  I wished, though, that she would just ask to search my bag so she could see nothing had been stolen, so that I could continue to shop in peace.  So that I didn’t have to feel like I was being stalked from suspicion or judged for doing something wrong.   I prefer the confrontation over the brooding silence any day.

So, I decided to start fresh, I explained to her it was our third anniversary and asked if they had anything for men that was leather.   Still, her eyes on my damned bag, “Nope don’t think so.”  I’m unsure if she heard the question, I had never seen anyone so focused on anything in my life.  I’m most likely just sounded like someone who made a career of stealing, and now was coming up with a story to distract an unsuspecting associate from my bag.  I have met those types too, this just wasn’t that situation.

Finally we made our way and looked in the display case, there was nothing leather.   I kept trying to think how I could prove to her that I just wanted to shop, and dump my wallet on ThinkGeek merchandise.  What is it about me that always screams criminal?  Is it the jeans and T-Shirt?  Is it the faded dye job of teal and red?  What was it that put off such suspicion?  Perhaps she was just a suspicious person.  I began to picture her, holding a medal in the back stock room of some old retail gig.   In this image she smiled proudly as the plastic make-shift badge read something like Queen of LP.  Look at her now with her pony tail, a regular McGruff the Crime Dog, stalking me while other customers are left without assistance.

How can I casually let her see into my bag, I thought.  I guess I’ll have to buy something.

I picked out something in the case. (I won’t say what, because of course this would be the one blog Mr. R would fall his eyes on) There was a tinge of surprise in her voice, but the cold suspicion didn’t waiver.   I waited while she dug for the product behind the register, tried to stay in plain sight so she could see this wasn’t a set up, that I had no ill intention.  (Though in retrospect perhaps if I had wandered to the back of the shop she would have gotten bold enough to just finally ask to search my bag.)

Finally she found the item and when I went to pay I made sure to open my bag EXTREMELY wide for her to see.  A purse and a camera, that is all that was in it.  But she didn’t seem impressed, only more annoyed.  I paid in cash and took my item, opening a side pocket (widely) so to slowly make my way to stuff the product in.  Her face didn’t change though as she refused to look, and it made me sad because there was so much more I wanted to purchase.   I could have dropped over a hundred bucks when instead I only spent something like $25.

Until next time fan boys and girls—>

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