Friday, April 29, 2005

Merci pour le chocolat.

The boys who work at the Trader Joe's in Goleta are continually straddling the line between simply being very friendly and straight out hitting on my friends and I. They tend to ask too many questions, regardless of whether I am alone or with the group. Examples of said questions for the group situation might be something like "So, do you girls have any plans for the weekend? / Going to any good parties this weekend?" and things of that nature. Entire conversations will surround those questions. When I go by myself to Trader's, I am usually just getting off work or on my break, therefore, I wear the lovely Hollywood Video purple shirt. I usually get this kind of question: "So are you just off work? / Any good movies this week?" Innocent enough. However, I am sometimes recognized outside of the purple shirt by several of the Trader Joe's boys. When that happens, I get the following: "No Hollywood today? What're you doing this weekend?" The pattern ensues. We are never sure if the Trader's boys are simply being friendly or trying to get themselves invited somewhere with us. I like to assume they are simply being friendly.

The man who made my sandwhich at Subway tonight was not simply being friendly. When he inquired what I would be doing with my evening once I got off work, I replied, "Oh, probably just renting movies, going home, and going to sleep." To which he replied, "Nah. Don't do that. I should come with you. We can watch some movies, sure, but you wouldn't sleep." Were I not completely taken aback by this, I think I might have had something clever to say. Instead I said, "Nah . . . I don't know about that." And decided to eat my sandwhich in my car rather than stay in the restaurant. I cannot eat sandwhiches there fore a good long while. I'm sure sandwhich dude meant no real harm by it, but I am sufficiently creeped out.

One nice thing, though, occurred after the sandwhich incident. I shrink-wrapped some movies for this Russian boy so he could return them to the store from whence they came. He insisted on paying me for the favor. I refused to take $5 from him just to shrink-wrap something, considering we hardly use the shrink-wrap anymore so it's completely worthless to the store. After my refusal of his cash, he asked me what kind of chocolate I liked. I intentionally told him that I liked dark chocolate because we do not sell any dark chocolate and I didn't want him to give me anything for such a simple favor. I turn to shrink-wrap the videos, and Russian boy is gone, but his friends are still in the store. He comes back about 5 minutes later and hands me to giant bars of Hershey's Special Dark and thanks for me doing him the favor. "Thank you, but you really didn't have to buy me chocolate. Really." And he just waves his hand at me in that universal "No, I insist" gesture.

There really is no ending to any of these stories. It was just so odd that a routine work night that began with the traditional odd niceties from the Trader's boys wound up being infused with one of the absolute creepiest things I've ever had said to me. (Which. by the way, reminded me vaguely of this one time where a boy at the student store at UC Berkeley read my "Bad Kitty" t-shirt and, when I told him jokingly I tended to scratch up furniture, said "Scratching furniture, huh? Breaking headboards is more like it.") This sandwhich incident was definitely unsettling. I mean, I'm flattered. Really. I'm glad this dude thinks I'm pretty, but I am not legitimately creeped out by him. I'm actually much more flattered that the Russian boy was so dead-set on giving me something in return for the favor that he went out and searched for my favorite kind of chocolate. I suppose a good point of summation would be the following:

1. It is okay to straddle the line between niceties and flirtations if you work at Trader Joe's.
2. It is absolutely not okay to blatantly hit on a customer while you are making her sandwhich--especially when you do so by inviting yourself to her place to prevent her from sleeping in the manner of your choosing.
3. Russian boys are very nice boys.
4. Chocolate is an acceptable form of payment for any favor.

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