The Death of Molly Pleasantville

8 Aug

Yesterday marked the hundredth time someone in an establishment has asked me if I work there when, in fact, I don’t.

I haven’t been keeping hash marks or anything but one hundred seems right.

I’m not sure what it is about me that makes people assume I’m working for the place they’re patronizing.  I’d like to think it’s a pleasant disposition coupled with a comfort in unfamiliar surroundings.  Maybe I look like I know things.  You know.  Like, maybe I look smart and stuff.  Maybe when the guy at Starbucks last week saw me standing in line with all the other people who were waiting for their beverages, he asked me where the bathroom key was because he really thought I looked like I knew.    

Maybe I appear to be all-knowing.

I could just be wearing the wrong thing.  Like when the elderly lady pulled me aside in the paper towel section of the grocery store yesterday, maybe she was blinded by my bright orange cardigan.   Or maybe she was a little hunched over and could only see my feet.  I’ll bet it was the sensible flats.  She’d have never stopped me if I were wearing slut shoes.

What I’m really afraid of is that it’s none of these things.  I’m afraid that there is no pleasant disposition or appearance of comfort.   Rather, I look like a pushover.  Like a do-gooder.  A doormat.

What if this is evidence of my day job affecting my life in ways other than monumental stress and sudden, spastic bouts of depression?  What if in addition to biting off all my fingernails, feeling ill the Sunday night before a work week, and possessing dull, vacant eyes, I’ve also acquired an aura of ‘what-can-I-do-for-you”?

Oh dear.

It’s like people can feel it.  It hangs in the air around me.  They know I reheat lunches and answer phones.  They know I edit PowerPoints and get drinks for visitors.  They can smell bitch work on me from a mile away.

So they take advantage of me.  They ask me where the paper towels are when they’re staring right at them.  They ask me for the bathroom key when they know I’m not wearing a barista apron.  They mock me with their inquisitiveness. 

The other night at the supermarket, the cashier didn’t bag a single one of my groceries.  I kid you not – not one single item did that man place in an Earth-killing plastic carrier for me.  I did them all.  

What’s sad is I didn’t even realize it until now.

Maybe I’ll start dressing goth when I go out in public.  I imagine goth dressers don’t get asked a lot of customer service questions.   Maybe I could carry the persona over to the workplace and avoid the robotic good-mornings and how-was-your-weekends and the-temperature-is/will be/was-such-and-such-today. 

This is obviously the answer to all my problems.  I don’t know why I didn’t think about this earlier.  I could have avoided human contact my entire life if I would have just dressed up as someone people don’t want to have human contact with.   But no – I’ve been wearing cardigans in the summer time and pairing them with sensible shoes like Molly Pleasantville.  That’s it.  No more Molly Pleasantville – she’s dead to me.

I’m going to need to get some more eyeliner.

And spiky bracelets.  Definitely spikey bracelets.

"Excuse me, do you work here?"


12 Responses to “The Death of Molly Pleasantville”

  1. Lucy's Mom August 8, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Whatever you do Jackie, DO NOT wear a red shirt and khaki pants to Target, lol.
    Not that you would ever wear a red shirt and khaki pants anyhow, just sayin’ 🙂


    • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:29 am #

      I’ll bet if I did not a single soul would ask me a question. And then I’d be forced to off myself because I can no longer live with the stupidity and hypocrisy of the general populace.


  2. Jessica August 8, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    You’re not alone. I have the same problem and I’ve often wondered what it is about me that makes me look so knowing and seem so approachable. I always chalked it up to the fact that I used to work in retail and that it somehow created an aura that followed me everywhere. But to hear you put it the way you did, the fact that they can sense the do-gooder in me and smell the air of I’ll do anything to please, including water plants and buy lunches for people, yep sounds about right. 😛


    • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:29 am #

      could be the leftover retail stench too. How do I wash it off?!


  3. pegoleg August 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Your new look should keep anyone for asking for help. Just don’t wander into Hot Topic or Dominatrix R Us.


    • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:27 am #

      They make those? What kind of ride is at the front door where the giraffe and the car usually is? Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s more than 50 cents to take a ride.


  4. Momma August 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Must be in the genes. I was in Walmart the other day……in my Postal Uniform, mind you, and a lady came up to me and asked me where “we” keep the popcorn……like I would know. I did know from buying it so much but I was so shocked that she thought I worked at Walmart that I looked at her dumb founded and told her I don’t work at Walmart……I don’t get it…..I had a cart with me and everything…..She looked at me very strange….then looked at my uniform……then walked away…..People are just plain dumb! Do Walmart Uniforms and Postal Uniforms look the same?


    • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:26 am #

      LOL Momma. Well, it’s blue… and I suppose if it’s your first time in WalMart? Or maybe if the WalMart has a postal center inside?


  5. Zombie Poet August 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    I have had a similar experience in a local bookstore that I haunt on a regular basis. You could have fun with it though. When people ask for help from you in a place you obviously don’t work in, be a little mischievous and give them misinformation. Nothing that will be detrimental to their well being but just wrong enough that they go and complain to the manager about you and what a lousy employee you are. I have done this before many years ago and I still laugh at the thought of the persons face as the manger tried to explain that I didn’t work there. Oddly enough she later asked me if I would work part time over the holidays for her.


    • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:25 am #

      LOL that’s terrible. And hilarious.


  6. knotrune August 9, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    Sounds as if you have another Lollipop Tuesday challenge 😀 Dress as a goth all day! Go on – I dare you 😉


    • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:24 am #

      oooh that’s a good one. Seriously. I’d have to do it on a weekend because I’d most definitely get sent home. I might give it a try!

      That’s a costly investment at Hot Topic 😉


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