Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays

(I scheduled this post to go at 12:01 AM this morning, and it didn't work. Blame blogger.)

It's the time of the week again, ladies and gents! Let's all be awkward together! Basically, the rules are that you read my awkward story, you comment on how you're amazed that I am so consistently awkward, you write your own story on your own blog, you leave a link to that blog post below, and then we all read it and feel glad that we're not alone in our awkwardness.

Throughout high school and college, I worked at a grocery store. It was awful, often mind-numbingly boring, and full of tons of awkward moments. Here's one of them:

At the grocery store, we used to have daily specials that were announced over the loudspeaker. It was decided on like, the second day that we ever had a special, that I had a "good loudspeaker voice," so they picked me to be the one to make all of the sale announcements. Which means that, for five years, my most meaningful and heartwarming speeches sounded like this - "Attention, shoppers! For the next fifteen minutes only (this was a lie, we repeated the specials every hour, all day long), we will be having a sale on oatmeal - buy two boxes and save one dollar! Hurry over to aisle three to take advantage of these great savings! And as always, thank you for shopping with us!"

Nobody ever bought the specials. They were never things you'd actually need or want, and the deals were never that great. It was always like "Buy 500 styrofoam plates, get 500 for half price," and who really needs 1,000 styrofoam plates for 25% off? Occasionally (this is true), some creepy man would come over, and I'd say in my cheeriest customer service voice, "Do you need 1,000 styrofoam plates?" and the creepy man would say something like, "No, I just wanted to see who that sexy voice on the loudspeaker belonged to," and then I'd wonder if perhaps working for a 1-900 number would be less humiliating than the grocery store. But I digress...

So, one day, the special was on an artificial sweetener that I won't name in case they read my blog and try to sue me. I made my little announcement and then stood by a cart full of sweetener, looking like a moron and waiting for the 15 minutes to be up so I could go back to straightening the deodorant aisle. Finally, an elderly gentleman approached me, and I cheerfully asked if he'd like to buy some artificial sweetener, to which he replied, "That sweetener killed my wife."

I said something meaningful and comforting, like, "oh, ummm.... I'm so sorry. Um, I guess you won't be wanting any..." Then he proceeded to tell me that his wife had put artificial sweetener in her coffee every day of her life, and then she died of cancer three years ago, and the doctors had said that, no, it probably wasn't the fault of the sweetener, but he (the elderly gentleman) was quite convinced that it was the fault of the sweetener, and nobody should ever buy it, because it would kill them. His speech ended with something along the lines of, "so you shouldn't be selling it unless you want to kill people." I very definitely did not want to kill people, but I also did not want to lose my job, and the manager had distinctly told me that I had to sell sweetener. So for the next 12 minutes, at three minute intervals, I made cheerful speeches about sweetener over the store loudspeaker while this man glared at me like I was selling cocaine to pre-school children. It was quite terrible, and by the end of the sale, I was starting to wonder if perhaps I was a horrible person for selling artificial sweetener to unsuspecting customers. Luckily, he had apparently left the store before I made my next sweetener announcement 45 minutes later. For the record, I think I sold one box all day, so at least I can't be held responsible for killing anyone.

So, what's your awkward story? Please share it!
Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays Participants
1. From KS to PA
2. Kim
3. Ryan Ashley Scott
4. LegalMist
5. E
6. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

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~Donna said...

I don't have an awkward moment..well..that I can think of right this minute...;) but I wanted to say I love your blog!

Adriana said...

What some people won't believe. In a way you feel sorry for him but in another way you just want him to leave already. That is awkward. So Thursday is Match day right?

Tova Darling said...

Donna - thank you!!!

Adriana - Yep, we'll know where he'll be doing his residency in just 2 days! The anticipation is KILLING me!

Former Fat Chick said...

so 1 box of the sweetner EQUALS one death? hmmmmmmmmmm...SWEET, way to off someone, I'll keep it on the LOW down...ugh, I'm so lame.

Tova Darling said...

Former Fat Chick - Hmm, it seems like there's a hidden message in there somewhere... if only I could figure it out! Haha!

Girl On A Journey said...

"that sweetener killed my wife" I woulda have watched and be like "WTF duuuude"

P.S. Your blog roxxx

kim said...

I mean, really. For all he knows, carrots killed his wife.

Good luck on Match day! My best friend went through it last year, so I totally empathize with your anticipation. I'm sure Mr. Darling will get exactly what he wants. Because he's amazing and all that.

Sassy Britches said...

Jeepers, how on earth is one supposed to handle that?! Good thing he was a quick shopper, or he might have given himself a stroke from all that concentrated effort!

Am sooooo excited for Thursday!

raf said...

I always have awkward moments..but now I have no time..
By the way..I hate artificials sweeteners,and offers!Unless you have a mormon family..you never use all of them.

SkylersDad said...

My awkward moment was when I called my usual 1-900 number and asked for you, but they said you had left and gone into blogging... ;^)

pj said...

That stuff sure isn't healthy. You must be a ball of nerves waiting for the match notice.

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

On one hand, I feel sorry for the old man, but what are you supposed to do when it's your job? A very awkward situation indeed.

Yes, a 1-900 number would have been much less humiliating - until your best friend's dad called in and you recognized his voice.

LegalMist said...

I've been reading and enjoying all the awkwardness for so long, I finally decided I ought to participate, at least once!

Thanks for the laughs, Tova Darling!

E said...

Totally Awkward Tuesdays remind me that I am not alone in my awkwardness :)

Morgan the Muse said...

oh, ouch. That stuff is pretty controversial. But he should not have taken it out on you, since you were just doing your job. Jeez.

Gwen B. (aka skinny bitch) said...

"while this man glared at me like I was selling cocaine to pre-school children"

hahahahaha. perfect analogy, I could just picture it. Damn that is TOTALLY AWKWARD Tova. hahaha sorry you had to suffer it, but hey at least it was at the expense of a good TAT, right???

Moi said...

yikes - I have no idea what I would have done with the guy glaring at having to sell the deathyl sweetner...awkward!

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds said...

oh my goodness i loved this post! I feel bad for the old man but I couldnt stop laughing while reading this hehe. Great story!!!

ÄsK AliCë said...

Eeep it's not like you turned those chemicals into sweetener yourself!

Poor little old angry man

J&D said...


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In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Calvin & Hobbes