When I was shopping at Kohl’s a few days ago, there was an older gentleman in the women’s clothing department carefully going through the long clearance clothing racks. He caught my attention because I cannot ever recall seeing a man in the women’s department actually looking like he was shopping for clothes. I have seen plenty sitting around near the dressing rooms with a woman’s purse or wandering around aimlessly on the center aisles like they are lost puppies – but never one in the racks putting in the time to find clearance treasures.
I found the whole thing to be curious, but I didn’t have too much time to really speculate about why he was there because the next thing I knew he was saying aloud – “Look at this one!” At first I wondered if he was talking to me as I didn’t see anyone in the near vicinity. Thank goodness I did not immediately respond as an older woman soon emerged from a few racks over and responded to him. It was then that it became clear that the two were together.
If you are familiar with the way Kohl’s packs in clothing and have waded through their racks and racks of clearance items before, you will understand why I was in close proximity with this man and woman for a good bit of time. I say this because I am about to recount my observations of the two and pieces of their conversation and I want to make clear that I wasn’t eavesdropping. I was merely in the same vicinity and exposed to the interaction.
So let me get back to where I left off – he said, “Look at this one!” and she made her way around a few racks to take a look. She wasn’t thrilled with the item, but joined him at the same rack and the two of them then stayed close looking from rack to rack. The man kept trying to encourage the woman to get more items. At one point the woman (who I believe was either the man’s wife or significant other) told him she didn’t think she needed two of the same top in different colors or a bunch of new clothes for that matter. Then the man encouraged her to buy as many colors as she wanted and to keep looking for more clothes (can you imagine?). He continued showing her this or that and her comments about the color, size, or utility of the items kept coming.
I smiled a bit to myself during this conversation between the two of them. I was tempted to approach the couple and tell the woman what a lucky duck she was to not only have a man who would enter the rack jungle, but who would also encourage her to buy whatever she wanted. I didn’t do it…I thought they might think me to be a busybody.
I lost track of the couple after I wandered into the purse area for awhile. I saw the man again on the other side of the women’s department, he was still actively looking at women’s items and was now carrying around the woman’s purse as well. I surmised she was in the dressing room and that he was not content to rest on his laurels. Again, I had to stifle the urge to share my thoughts. The mere sight of this man with the woman’s purse in his hand just made me happy. I wanted to applaud his patience and devotion…I wanted to tell him that he is a rare breed indeed.
I was at Kohl’s for quite a long time before I finally made my way to the registers. You’ll never guess who was in front of me in line…okay, you’ll probably guess. The older woman was the person in front of me. The man was nowhere in sight at that point. I smiled when I saw she only had a few items after her long shopping adventure – she looked tired at the end of it all.
I wondered as we waited if the woman enjoyed the man’s shopping assistance or not. As an observer, I thought it was fabulous. But then I started to think about how I would feel if Mike was with me doing the same things for me. Good intentions count for a lot, but would I really want companionship in the racks or would I want him to linger awkwardly in the center aisle looking like he was mentally preparing to have a painful procedure? Are there some areas where togetherness is not the best option?
I’ll never know anything more about how the woman felt about the helpful and encouraging man and I doubt I will ever have another such sighting in my lifetime. I surmise I will just have to reflect upon how I would feel 15 or 20 years from now with a man deep in the racks helping me shop and carrying my purse. I’ll report back.
Day one thousand four hundred and forty-seven of the new forty – obla di obla da