Sunday Afternoon: Stranger Than Fiction

When I was living in London, I worked at a shop in Putney called Julian Graves.  (For all my American readers, Julian Graves is like Harry and David’s, only smaller and more chocolate-oriented.)  One evening, about an hour before close, a man came into the shop and bought a fruit bar.  He paid with a £20 note and spent the majority of the transaction flirting with me.

I just smiled and counted his change.  Then he told me, “Don’t close the register.  I need change for the parking lot.”

Now an experienced Front End Specialist would have ignored the man’s request, handed him his change and sent him merrily on his way, but that was before I worked at The Shop.  I didn’t know any better.

The next few sec onds were a blur.  He took the £19 I handed him, then handed me a ten pound note and asked for change.  When I handed him two fives in return, he told me he’d given me a £20 and demanded that I give him the £10 I still owed him.

“But I… I already gave you your change,” I said.

“I gave you a £20 note!” he demanded.  “Look at the receipt!”

Sure enough he had given me a £20 note, but something wasn’t adding up.

“You stupid b*tch!” he yelled as I fumbled with the drawer.  “I want my change!”

I panicked.  I was alone in the shop and the security guards were nowhere to be seen but I knew, despite my sub-par math skills, that I was right.  He was just trying to confuse me and I’d be damned if I had to spend an hour trying the balance the till later that night, especially as I was supposed to meet my boyfriend and his friends for dinner.

“Sir, I’ve already given you your change,” I said, trying to keep my hands from shaking as I closed the drawer.

“F*ck you!” he screamed, slamming his fruit bar down on the counter.  “I don’t even want this!  Give me my money back!”

By the time I refunded his 33 pence, I was a wreck.  Granted, scam artists aren’t exactly known for packin’ heat (especially in the UK) but I’d never felt so vulnerable.  I would later learn that the man in question had tried to pull that very same stunt on all the new cashiers, and that I’d been right all along (my till count was dead on that night) but by the time I met my boyfriend at the tube, I felt helpless.

“Can I stay at your place tonight?” I asked.

“Of course,” he replied.  “And I’ll check on you during my lunch break tomorrow.”

Now, you may be wondering what the heck this story has to do with anything, in particular, what it has to do with the events of this past weekend and the knock on the door Sunday afternoon.

Well folks, I’m not going to tell you.  To be perfectly frank, the appearance of the person in question would have been better suited for a novel than for my blog but rest assured: when I do publish a book on the events of the past year and a half, I’ll be sure to include the full details.

Suffice it to say, the 90-second exchange that occurred on Sunday afternoon left me feeling exactly how I’d felt that night back in London: vulnerable, and helpless, and angry at myself for feeling so helpless, especially with The Wedding Date standing right there…

…Which is why it was rather fortunate that he simply wrapped his arms around me and said, “That settles it: I’m staying the night.”

16 Responses to “Sunday Afternoon: Stranger Than Fiction”

  1. Zak

    I’m okay not knowing, but it’s good that the WD was there anyway. Sometimes just having someone nearby is enough to help us out, regardless of who they are.

    And when you publish your book, can I request a signed copy? Y’know, maybe I get special priveledge being the “blog boyfriend?”

      • Zak

        And totally posted this on the wrong day! I’ll add it to yesterday’s post. You can delete these comments if you like – as if you needed my permission…

  2. Lost in France

    When people invade your personal space, by coming to your home to abusive, it can often seem so much more traumatic.
    You feel that your home is your castle and your are safe from the outside world.
    Glad WD was there for you.

    So an Ex date or some one else whose path you have crossed?

  3. aka gringita

    Of course, we are all out here wanting more details on what happened…

    … but can I tell you? I think I’m falling a little bit in (vicarious) love with The Wedding Date.

    • Kat Richter

      Yep, he’s pretty fab! But I know he read this blog when he starts up his computer to check his email every morning so I’m not going to say anything else or he’ll get a big head 🙂

  4. Philly Tap Teaser

    For you, I invoke one of my favorite Oprah quotes: “You aren’t responsible for the energy you bring into a relationship, you are responsible for the energy you _allow_ into it.”

    • Kat Richter

      Ain’t that the truth! I’m looking back over the past few months and wondering “WTF happened to me??? What was WRONG with me???”

  5. Wendy

    No, No, No! I’m not nearly as gracious as Zak. I totally need to know! And I am with aka gringita on this one. The WD sounds so lovely. I love that I get to have little mini Rom-Coms (and sometimes Dramas) weekly from your blogs. 🙂

  6. sarahnsh

    I’m sorry that the run-in you had reminded you of that terrible experience at The Shop. But, it’s really wonderful that the Wedding Date was there to hug you and give you the support you needed in that moment.

  7. mydatingprescription

    This same kind of thing happened to my eldest son when he was working the register at a fast food restaurant. Unfortunately, he got confused and the mistake involved a 50 dollar bill instead of a 20. He realized his mistake, of course, and a couple of months later the guy came back to pull the trick again. This time, my son was ready for him, and told him he could either take his money and go or he was going to call the cops.

    I want to know what happened. (Whining, whining…)

    • Kat Richter

      Yeah, I think that everyone who’s ever worked retail has had that same stunt pulled on them– when I told my boyfriend-at-the-time, he told me he’d fallen for the same exact thing when he first started working. Those people are good at what they do! And for your son for laying down the law the second time… I was just glad it never happened again!

      As for what happened… my lips are sealed (and not because I want to drag this out into a three-part post, full of cliffhangers… although the writer in me is like, “C’mon Kat, this is such GOOD MATERIAL!”) but because I don’t even want to think about it anymore!


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