Monday, March 24, 2014

Thank You for Sharing Your Beauty in Walmart

Bit of a change for everyone today.  No chickens, no garden.

This has been bugging me for a while.  One of the Walmarts in the area has a older man "greeter", who frequently after he welcomes you to Walmart he thanks the female customers for "sharing ypur beauty with us".  Now this can come across different ways, the first time he said it to me he had just asked me to contribute to some charity and I declined.  Here's how it went:

-Welcome to Walmart.  Would you like to give to QQ charity today?

-Not today.

-Well, thank you for sharing your beauty with us today.

Now tone is everything, the tone of the last line came across as if he was calling me stingy. I stopped in my tracks and did one of those, "Did he really say what I think he said?" moments.  I just kept shopping.

Nearly every time since then this man has been near the entrance, sometimes asking for contributions, sometimes not, but invariably he thanks me and every other female who enters the store for sharing their beauty with "us".  The tone varies, sometimes it sounds as "Have a nice day!" having been repeated hundreds of times that day--just a meaningless phrase, other days a bit lecherous, other days sarcastic, sometimes it sounds like he actually means it.

I'm not there to share "my beauty" with anyone, especially strange men in Walmart.  I'm just there for the Q-tips and the whole wheat pasta for $.99. It feels like walking past a construction site every time I enter that store. I cringe and get a knot in my stomach. Society keeps bludgeoning women with the idea  that they are there for the sole purpose of being looked at.  We know the truth, but this stupid idea keeps smacking us in the face anyway.  It is time to get past that.

I want to ask that man why he doesn't ever say it to the male customers. I would love to be there when he thanks some guys for their rugged good looks and inner beauty.   I would, of course, stand ready to call 911 for the ambulance.

If it is not appropriate to say to a man, it is not appropriate to say to a woman.

I think this man would be shocked to find out that some women (well, at least this one) feel that it  can be a sexually charged statement (when it is not a snide commentary), but have been taught to ignore people who make inappropriate comments.

I would skip the store altogether just to not encounter this man, except that it is one of the very few places to shop within a 25 minute circle from my house.  This last time I went there he was not at the entrance, I felt so relieved.  It was this feeling of relief that made me realize how much "sharing my beauty" sounded like a catcall.   A few moments later I realized, with that familiar pit in my stomach, that he was sitting by the exit door to check the receipts of the folks with electronics items, etc. as they leave.  When I left the store he thanked me for sharing my beauty, as usual,  and it will be the last time I will not speak up.

The next time I will head straight to customer service and fill in one of those nasty-grams that gets sent to corporate.

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