As soon as my child leaves me in the parking lot, a man approaches me asking me for money so he could “get something to eat.” I had expected to shop at the post office (a different one where no one yet has declared I had insufficient funds before all coins were counted) with the only currency I had, coins of insufficient value to get anyone anything nutritious, but I did plan to make drugstore shopping my first visit, so I tell him I will buy a protein energy bar for him at the drugstore. He says he appreciates it, he’ll be waiting for me when I come out.
I spend five minutes, I can’t find energy or protein bars in the aisle marked “energy bars”, it’s all candy. But I find some almond trail mix discounted. I buy it and my listed items. When we re-enter the parking lot, my son and I look for the man. I’ve given a description to my son, but I for sure know what he looks like. He’s not in the parking lot. We walk to the car, deposit our bag in the hatchback, close the door. I wait twenty seconds. I still don’t see anyone.
I open the door, retrieve my receipt, take it to the cashier for reversal of charge. If I had bills on me, I’d have paid in cash and bought a Real Change newspaper from a licensed vendor. But I didn’t have change. I bought something for someone who said he needed money to get something to eat, I told him what I’d get him, and for hours afterward I wondered if being alone and female in a parking lot means to many, many people without mammalian protuberances that I must have stupid on my face.
Why do people have to be terrible.