Outside the box: Go ahead, ask if you can help me

My peaceful Blockbuster sanctuary has been destroyed by one of the loudest, most obnoxious women I’ve ever encountered.

I go to Blockbuster on a weekly basis, and when I go, I either know exactly what movie I’m looking for, or I plan to quietly peruse the shelves until I find the perfect companion with which to spend my evening. I definitely don’t need anyone’s help, and if I do, I’ll ask.

That’s why I always hesitate to go to this (I won’t tell you which) Blockbuster anymore-if any of you have been there, you already know what I’m talking about. This woman molests you before you even get inside. She stands right inside the glass doors, smiling that big, fake grin, ready to sell you one of Blockbuster’s new monthly rental plans.

But she doesn’t start with the sales pitch until after she asks you, “What can I help you find?” in her weasely little voice. What, exactly, is the answer to that question? If I know what movie I want to see, I know very well how to find it. And if I don’t know what movie I want to see, there’s no way she can help me. It is, therefore, the epitome of a stupid question.

I’ve seen other people try to sneak in when she’s busy ruining someone else’s evening. I’m even guilty of it-I’ve hid behind my boyfriend and let him deal with her while I run down a different aisle. But she always finds the people who are hiding. She walks down each and every aisle, looking for people she hasn’t spoken to yet. And then, when she speaks, no one in the entire store can concentrate on the movie they’re looking at anymore-her voice shatters any desire we had to be here in the first place.

It’s already fairly apparent that Blockbuster is doing everything it can to increase sales. Movie renters are bombarded with commercials and signs advertising monthly rental programs, no late fees, etc. But this is over the top, similar to those timeshare salespeople one might find in Las Vegas or Mexico who try to suck you into their little schemes. Blockbuster, which I used to love so much, might have to be replaced by a less pushy company with less annoying salespeople.

But I don’t just blame the company-I’ve never understood how salespeople like this woman can completely ignore another person’s body language. They don’t care that people try to avoid them if at all possible or that we’re mentally trying to shrink ourselves into tiny bugs that she can’t see-instead they just chase us down.

The Blockbuster woman doesn’t care that customers absolutely dread having to talk with her-she just pushes her way into their space and makes them writhe with discomfort.

I’ve thought about things I can do next time I go. Maybe I’ll stand really close to her while she’s talking, just to show her what discomfort feels like. Maybe I’ll talk in an extremely loud, high-pitched voice, just to imitate her. Maybe I’ll take her up on her offer to help me find what I’m looking for and hand her a list of 100 movies.

Or maybe I’ll tell her she reminds me of one of those baboons with the big, red butts-flaunting their disgusting wares in hopes of attracting someone else to their cause.

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