They say menopause makes us braver. More willing to confront others. To not put up with stuff. Hmmm. I have a story to tell.
Daughter Kath had announced Maze needed winter pajamas. Grandma mission!
I stepped into Kohl’s. My plan was to find a few pairs of PJs. No need for a cart.
Minutes later, with fire engine, doggy, and dinosaur pajamas in hand, I paused in the infant section. Didn’t brand new granddaughter Emerson need a Halloween costume and a Thanksgiving sleeper? Of course. They went into my arms.
Why not a quick run into the toy section? I found a talking Yoda for Maze, who is now deep into Star Wars. “I should have gotten a cart after all,” I said to myself. “This stuff is getting heavy.”
On my way to the register, I picked up a book for each child. I love that Kohl’s offers picture books for five dollars and donates all profits to charity.
Arms brimming with merchandise, I headed toward the registers. I set the items down at the end of a counter, happily awaiting my turn. The line was short. Just one woman ahead of me. She stood at the other end of the counter, sliding her credit card through the machine.
She turned to me. “Could you get your things off the counter,” she said, face grim. “We’re conducting business here.”
I was at least five feet away. Shocked by her cold words, I didn’t answer, I just picked up my stuff. I eyed the young sales person. Her face indicated no emotion.
“Wow,” I said when the woman left, and my turn came. “Is it just me or was that woman really rude?”
“Oh you wouldn’t believe what people say to us,” the saleswoman replied.
“I’ve got half a mind to chase after her,” I said. Then I added, “But I won’t. Not worth it. Not the right thing to do.”
But then, I watched the woman walk back into the store. My mind spun.”Don’t do it, Barbara. You’ve never confronted a stranger in a negative way. You always behave calmly in these situations, despite inner turmoil.”
But that turmoil turned into tempest. A force took over!
I searched Kohl’s until I found the woman sorting through women’s tops. “Excuse me,” I said. “Could you tell me why I upset you?”
“I was conducting business,” she answered, her tone curt. “I was using my credit card.”
“But my items were heavy. I set them down at the very end of the counter.”
Short pause. Then: “That’s what carts are for.”
Speechless at her reply. Horrified that a fellow shopper could be so cruel, I walked away.
How did it feel to confront that scrooge of a woman?
Dramatic. It definitely had an element of excitement to it.
Did I feel empowered?
Did it help me understand her?
Yes. As much as I want to paint her as a creep, I realize she has skewed privacy issues. There’s no way my bad eyes could have read her credit card number from that distance or a phone camera capture the number on her card. I wish she’d left off her snarky cart line, but otherwise, I’ll chalk her up as someone who lives with a level of paranoia I’m glad I don’t have.
But I never, ever would have confronted her when I was younger.
Did menopause make me do it? Maybe.
What about you? Have you gotten braver or feistier as you’ve aged? Are you happy about it?
P.S. Now that I think about it, the woman seemed older than I am, so surely she’s been through the Change of Life. Maybe she was goodness and honey before! That, my Friends for the Ride, we will never know.