Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dennis doesn't know what to make of this...

He really is baffled by this, and so am I

I had called him at work minutes before he left today, asking if he would stop off at the store and pick up some guacamole.

Well here's what happened after that, in his words:

"I stopped at Save-Mart, picked up a package of guacamole, and went to the register. There was a middle-aged woman with a teen-age girl standing in line behind me. The total came to $4.99 so I gave the clerk, Travis, a $5.00 bill. Immediately, the woman in line behind me jumped forward and said "I'll take care of this." She grabbed the $5 bill from Travis, handed it back to me, and gave him $5 of her own money. I then looked at her wondering if maybe she knew me. But I had never seen her before. I then said "Why are you doing this?" She said "I just want to pay for it." I then handed my $5 bill back to Travis, while stating "I can pay for my own food." She then grabbed it from his hand again and tried to give it back to me, while pushing her own $5 bill towards him. Poor Travis didn't know what to do. I finally talked directly to Travis, saying "This is my item...and I will pay for it." He took my money, gave me $.01 in change and my receipt. The lady then stuck her $5 bill in my face, saying "Here's more of your change." I just turned away and left. At first, I thought she was crazy. Thinking about it later makes me wonder if she just was someone that wanted to do a good deed. I don't think I looked like I was homeless."

Okay, here I am again.
My question is, if she was just trying to do a good deed, why would she choose a nicely dressed business man? (like I said, he was on his way home from work) Why wouldn't she have chosen a young family, or an older tired looking person??

And why was she so insistent? She would not let up. Dennis had to just get out of there to get her to back off.

Does anyone have a possible reason for her behavior?
What would you have done? Really, what would you have done??

So nice there was a BYU game on after dinner so he could de-stress.
Dennis may have a hard time taking from strangers,
but he sure is enjoying the cookies Paul Gage made for him.

"Wait, don't eat them. Hold the cookies up high, honey, so I can take a picture."


theasley said...

This is not one of those times when you say, "If I had a dollar for every time..."

That's a cool story, I guess. It leaves a huge hole though. I wonder who that lady was.

Jill said...

We have no idea Tyler. After dinner Den and I went back to Savemart hoping to talk to Travis the checker. He had already gone home for the day. I wanted to ask if he knew anything about that woman...had he seen her do this before? I'll ask him next time I'm in there.

the Rich girl said...

Was she hitting on Dennis?? I don't know. That was my reaction.

And I don't understand why she was so insistent. That seems a little odd.

Poor Dennis. How awkward!

I at least hope the guacamole was delicious!

Dennis said...

The guacamole was great!

Jill said...

Funny you should say that Karen because as Den was telling me this story he said, "I'm wearing a wedding ring." I'm thinking, what in the world does this have to do with the story?? So now that you mention it too, I guess that was a possibility, but a very odd way of going about it.

Valerie said...

I can't imagine what else she'd be doing besides trying to do a good deed, but hopefully she'll learn a more gentle way of doing it.

You asked me when I lived in Corona. I moved lots growing up and we only lived there the end of 1979 to the beginning of 1980. Not long at all. I really liked it while we were there.

Jake said...

Very strange! Maybe they were in some sort of scavenger hunt or contest and they had to pay for the next person who came along?????

Rebecca said...

That last comment was me, Rebecca. I guess Jake was signed on my computer!

Anonymous said...

I remember the very first time I met Dennis. As soon as I saw him I thought, "he looks homeless, maybe he needs some money?" The only difference between me and that woman at Savemart is that I don't try to give money to the homeless.


Logan said...

I really need to have been there to have had a strong opinion but I just think she was just trying to do a good deed. I don't think someone needs to be homeless to do a good deed. She should of just told him that was what she was trying to do instead of being so forceful about it. If it were me, I would of said "no" the first time but when she persisted, I would of excepted it. That's just my opinion.

grandmapeg said...

I think this lady must have just been trying to do a good deed, and I agree with Logan (or is it Amy since Logan already gave his funny remark?) that they don't think someone has to be homeless for someone else to do a good deed. And I probably would have accepted her offer after my first 'no' when she persisted. All of us are so used to being the 'giver' that we forget to be 'gracious receivers' too. I think Dennis was just being the 'gentleman' which is also a very admirable trait. I found this posting very interesting...especially reading all of the comments. Thanks for sharing!

Mary said...

I think I would also have accepted the gift, though I would still have been left wondering why she chose me and what her full intent was. Her method needs some work, but she clearly felt impelled to do this for some mysterious reason. Maybe she'd recently been inspired to give but it still felt awkward. Maybe it was a lesson for her teenage daughter. Hmmm...

daqrlene said...

Here's my guess:
She was doing the "29 Day Gift Challenge". Read about it here...

Jill said...

You make me laugh Mary, "Her method needs some work" :))

I think men have a harder time accepting "help" than women do, especially when they don't need it. Den kept thinking that with all those struggling right now out of work and all, she should give to them rather than him...and he couldn't get past that.

I was thinking this morning...maybe this woman had always wanted to buy someone's groceries but couldn't afford to...and since Den's total bill was only $5. she felt she could handle this one. I don't know, probably a long shot.

Or maybe it was more like Rebecca said...they were on some scavenger hunt type game and she had to find someone quickly to do a good deed for.

Kris said...

Logan's comment was hilarious. :)

Such an interesting story and I have enjoyed reading all of the comments. I loved reading how Dad put it because it felt like I was really in your living room listening to him tell this story!

Jill said...

And Kris, don't you love the way your Dad writes like he's filling out a police report?
"$.01 in change"

Jill said...

And also Kris, can't you just picture your Dad saying, "This is my item, and I will pay for it."
!!! :))

Brock said...

I think the key is her desperation to pay for the item. It was clearly important to her, enough so that she felt that societal norms and polite conduct were to be set aside. Notice also her lack of explanation. At any time she could have chosen to enlighten Dennis or Travis the Checker, yet at every instance she refused. Her assumed goal of doing a good deed could have been accomplished easily had she simply taken the time. Perhaps, then, it was time that was in short supply.

So, was it a good deed she intended? The evidence seems to suggest that it was not. Let us assume, then, that paying for Dennis's guacamole was not her foremost in her mind. What else was in play? The $5 bill. Ms. Desperate did not care if the $5 bill went to Dennis or Travis the Checker, only that it departed from her.

It is likely, then, that there was something special, perhaps even dangerous about this $5 bill. Perhaps it has a curse on it and has brought her nothing but bad luck and misery for the entire time it has been in her possession. In that event, she has most likely tried to dispose of it by more conventional means such as simply throwing it away or making a purchase with it. Clearly, the enchantment on the $5 bill is such that conventional means do not work.

No, the curse must be much more twisted than that. Perhaps her bad luck charm can only be ironically passed on as the object of a good deed. In this case, Ms. Desperate's behavior is understandable, it not commendable.

It's possible that Ms. Desperate knew her time was short after what I'm sure had been a steady accumulation of sorry coincidences and mishaps. Perhaps after exiting Save Mart she was flattened by an oncoming car or fell into a drainage ditch. Just as likely, however, is that she was able to find someone to pass her Cursed $5 Bill to, and was able to free herself from the wreck her life had so recently become. One hopes that whoever took the bait after Dennis and Travis the Checker's refusal did not meet too untimely an end.

Try not to feel too bad, Dennis. There was no way you could have known.

the Rich girl said...

Brock! But of course! That explains everything.
Dennis, you really dodged a bullet there!!

grandmapeg said...

I just had to comment again. Brock tells a good story :-) At least I'm assuming that this is Brock and not Erin. Anyway, I'm sure your life with Brock and Logan growing up just got more interesting as the years flew by! Have they ever thought about going into comedy? These sons of yours, all of them, are so amusing! I can hardly wait to read what Richard has to say :-)

Anonymous said...

to her generous offer I would have said - can I add a couple of Hershey bars on my bill?

Dennis said...

Yeah, Dick...that would have been the better way to handle it. Although my ego would have been ruined, a little chocolate always makes one feel a lot better.


Anonymous said...

I love this Ellery Queen type mystery!! And isn't Dennis a retired detective? Come on, Dennis, you could have gotten her license plate number and made a few calls. Perhaps she escaped from the State Hospital.

I vote for Brock's "Choose Your Own Adventure".

Anyway, after 6 years cashiering at a grocery store, this incident is not unusual. It happens more among relatives and at times I have had to say "please stop arguing and somebody pay the bill".

Anonymous said...

Time was of the essence:

The woman was kidnapped by the teen and subjected to endless texting and listening to 'you know' and 'like'. The $5 had a message 'call police' written on it.

Richard said...

Maybe Dennis required three price checks and two coupons before they got to a grand total of $4.99 and maybe he hadn't even begun to dig out his wallet when the tab was finally totaled...that usually works for me.

Eileen said...

I think she was doing one of those 'pay it forward' type things. Someone did something nice for her and told her to pass it on. Or it's that 'do a good deed' each day program that lots of people are doing now.
Act good to become good, think of others until it becomes natural. She must be new at it, she didn't handle it very well.

Believe it or not, that happens often here in New York! We're probably both the rudest State and the kindest State at the same time!
I see it a lot, where someone will pay the Bridge Toll for the car behind them, or someone will pay the bus fare for the rider getting on behind them. Someone hands a flower to you on the street (I do get suspicious, I feel like they want me to donate to some cause), but just a lot of random acts of kindness are done around here.

Maybe Dennis just should have said 'thank you' and then said that he was going to pay her in kind by 'paying it forward' and giving Travis a gift of $5!

I really don't think she thought Dennis needed the money, I think she was trying to be nice (in her somewhat weird way).

Post if you find out any more about it!
All the best,

Anonymous said...

Ok, lets make something clear. $5 is not paying it forward, nor is $5associated with any act of kindness. Based on the present devaluation of our current federal reseve notes, loss of purchasing power, and this 'smoke & mirrors' of a fiat currency that we have....$5 dollars is an insult.

If this woman were to have payed for his item and then thrown in all of her purchased groceries as a gift then we can call it paying it forward. Or at least said, "OK sir, you have 15 minutes to put as much food as you can in this cart...GO!!" Then that would have been as act of kindness.

I call upon all people within the confines of the information superhighway to raise the bar on this "pay it forward" scheme by really paying it forward. Large ticket items, big cash rewards, and life changing donations is a minimum.


Mom of 3 Boys said...

I've paid for others groceries before. I've even paid for items (salad, bread, and cookies maybe) that they decided they couldn't get at the register and ran out the door after them to give them their purchases. Dennis would probably think I was really strange but then you should point him to my blog *grin* so he'll know I'm not any stranger than anyone else.... But sometimes helping others is unfortunately more about me needing to think of others and try to serve them in some way.

I think if this were me I may have let her pay and then taken the money I intended to use and donated it somewhere where it could really help.

So there are my early morning 2 cents worth (HA! You don't get a chance to refuse) and now I'm off to start my crazy day.


Luke and Nat said...

free guac? where do i sign up? :)

Eileen said...

You know, Jill, I've been thinking about this post a lot. If I didn't feel so guilty about the fact that I feel you should do a nice deed just for the sake of doing a nice deed, I would like to try a little experiment and record people's reactions to random acts of kindness!
Each week I'd pick a different act of kindness (say for instance, one week I would be paying for somebody's groceries on line at the supermarket, or picking up the tab of a stranger in a restaurant!) and keep track of the varying reactions. I'll bet some random acts of kindness are more acceptable to people than other 'kind' acts.
Okay, I think I've officially gone over the edge now, I'll never preform an act of kindness without assessing the reaction of people!

All the best,

Lynn said...

I think it was an experiment from a sociology class!

Jill said...

Hey, well, maybe so. Then I guess it failed :(
But you know what Lynn? I think that makes more sense than anything else we've come up with.