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The Trouble With Shopping Centres

Fat Mum Slim /


I walked out of the supermarket, holding a grocery bag of food for the kids draped over my arm, and my phone in the other. My phone had been playing up, so I restarted it to get it revived again.

A guy much younger than myself, probably still in his teens, stood outside the supermarket and bellowed out to me, “Are you reading my text? That night we had together was awesome, wasn’t it?”

I looked up, saw him behind one of those tables trying to sell something, and I gave an awkward laugh and then gave him a look that said, “AREYOUFREAKINGFORREAL?”

I was almost old enough to be his mum. Inappropriate much? And I was most certainly not buying a ticket or whatever it was he was selling after that encounter. I walked on, and back to my family.

Those stalls with the people aggressively selling stuff in the middle of the shopping centres get me EVERY time. The other day I saw a guy at the organic moisturiser place massaging cream into the hands of a masculine bikie dude. I smirked. He got done too.

I’ve tried many techniques. I’ve walked by with the screaming toddler with a look to say, “Don’t even mess with me!”, I’ve looked away, I’ve looked at my phone, I’ve engaged them and told them about all the other charities I support, and my most successful technique has simply been the old, “Hello, I’m OK thanks. Have a great day” and then quickly walking on.

Hubby has it down pat. He DOES NOT engage. Ever. They get me, and he’ll be walking on disengaging with the world. We’ve worked out when we’re together that we pretend to be deep in conversation about something and they generally leave us to be.

I don’t like to be rude to people, but those people at the stalls get me kinda anxious. I’m bad at saying no {ask my spoiled kids}. They get me all frazzled and before I know it I’m buying tickets, or creams, or giving out my number so that some superannuation company can call me at a later date. I’m a sucker.

I know I’m not alone. A friend was in the City, rushing to catch a train, and the same charity who almost got him every afternoon narrowed in to get him again. They got eye contact and they were going in. They almost had him. He saw the train in his sights and he wanted home. So he rushed by before they could stop him, and he turned back briefly to say, “I HATE WHALES!”

Of course he didn’t hate whales, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get past them. It’s quite the battle.