Monday, October 4, 2010

I Have To Admit I Laughed

Working in a mall setting can be interesting at times. You see a wide range of people from extraordinarily normal to extraordinarily bizarre. What I saw on Sunday gave me a flashback to the movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape."

And as the blog post title infers, I laughed.

On some level this makes me a bad person in this instance. While there was humor in the situation, the cause of said humor was pathetic. I'm trying to justify laughing as a defense trigger when you see something bizarre, disgusting, and sad all rolled up in one package. Laughing was a cover for the revulsion I felt.

So where is this going, huh?

There is a store located directly across from us that caters to shoppers of the female persuasion. It's not a store for the petite shopper, at least if they're shopping for themselves.

(Man, there's just no way to come out of this looking good for me is there? I'm truly not trying to offend anyone with a weight issue.

Scout's honor!)

But a weight issue was the crux of the problem.

A woman entered the store, unseen by me at the time, looking to add to her wardrobe. Apparently things went downhill rather quickly when the store didn't have her size in stock. And that's when I saw her. She was furious, and loud.

She accused the staff at the store of hiding clothes that would fit her in the stockroom. She berated them for being too lazy to help her. They were conspiring against her in her own words. Lawsuits were threatened. She. Was. Totally. Out. Of. Control.

She was biggest person I've seen in real life. I've seen a few television shows with the bedridden obese person and that's what came to mind to me. I was amazed that she was capable of being mobile in all honesty. And I laughed, but it wasn't funny. It was horrifying in a sense.

Yet I laughed.

And now I feel bad about it.

Security was called and this just sent this lady higher into orbit. She started to swing her arms at them in an attempt to hit one of them. (This is actually when I laughed.) Every time she swung her arms her body twisted 180 degrees and I thought she'd eventually fall. Thankfully that never happened.

The police were called. The lady was actually arrested. Disturbing the peace and assault charges pending from what I've gathered. She was taken to jail in her own vehicle. A specialty type of van to accommodate her. Her companion, who brought her to the mall, had to drive to the police station with an officer aboard the vehicle. Because of this rather unusual arrest a total of four police vehicles were used in this arrest. Two were in front of the van, two were behind the van, as she was taken to jail. All in the name of safety I was told.

And the saddest part of this? This lady has shopped at this store for years. But never in person. The store manager told me this was her first appearance in the store. This lady was well aware that her size of clothing wasn't stocked in the store. They always accommodated her by special orders, which probably aren't going to happen any more by the sound of things.

The staff at this store were shell-shocked. Both the manager and the other lady working there yesterday stated they've talked to her on the phone numerous times in the past when she ordered clothes. She was always pleasant to deal with over the phone apparently.

So now I sit here wondering what possessed this woman to do this. I'm also sitting here wondering what possessed me to laugh as well. The situation was bizarre, but truly not funny, now that I've had time to reflect on it. Just very sad.


ChiTown Girl said...

I think you nailed it. It was a defense mechanism, used to cover your horror and confusion. What a sad, sad situation. I'm sure you'll never find out exactly what set off this bizarre episode. I hope she finds some kind of peace, and some help with whatever is causing her so much obvious pain in her life.

Jean said...

Having worked retail for more years than I wish to say...I also have seen the bizarre. What you witnessed must have been funny at the moment. Like a scene from a comedy. In afterthought..I would also feel sad that this lady over reacted and created a huge scene. No pun intended....I think.:)

BeMistified said...

I am not skinny by any means. Nothing wrong with being skinny, I am just not. However, if I was there, I probably would have laughed too. I mean good gravy lady you have enough attention drawn to you, why the hell did it need to be more? You should not have to apologize, as stated, it probably was more of a shocked, omg I can't believe this is happening laugh more than laughing at her for what she looked like. =)

SY said...

LOl.. I work retail as well.. so I can completely relate.. I would've laughed too.. You should only feel mildly bad.

darev2005 said...

I would have laughed, too. Even after all of the disgusting spectacles i have witnessed in my line of work, I would have laughed myself sick. Obviously the woman has issues, but since I'm not a doctor or a pshrink, it's not my place to address them. All you can do is raise your force fields and do you best to protect your brain from insanity. The best way to do that is to laugh at the stupidity. It's okay.

Just Plain Tired said...

ChiTown Girl -- Same here, she needs a change in her life, mentally and physically.

Jean -- It was quite the scene.

BeMistified -- She definitely drew attention. By the time it was over there was quite a crowd watching.

SY -- While I feel a little bad I don't plan on losing sleep over it. Just kind of dwelled on it and decided to write the post.

darev2005 -- Insanity covers it. Surreal scene to say the least.

Mustang Sally said...

aw ... I understand your dilemma. It's true that being morbidly obese is sad rather than funny. I can feel for her on that level.

However, adults throwing a temper tantrum are almost always hilarious. Especially when they are over things you know that had to expect to start with. And that's what you were laughing at.

There was humor in that, it's not wrong for you to notice even if it isn't politically correct. It was the kind of exaggerated scene you'd see in a silly comedy ... and we'd all laugh then.

p.s. there is something waiting for you on my blog ;)

Anonymous said...

The best part of going to the mall is people watching. I spent the better part of last weekend there with the kids, and oh good grief, the things people wear! Sometimes you can't help but to cringe/laugh/gasp.

Sarahf said...

I think I would have laughed too, more out of surprise than anything else. You see all sorts at the mall, huh.

Just Plain Tired said...

Mustang Sally -- It was a version of shock and awe, without military engagement of course. ;)

Another Day of Crazy -- Every day a new oddity presents itself in the mall.

Sarahf -- It's interesting what can be seen there at times.

Gail said...

I think it was just a gut reaction to the discomfort of the moment.

The funny thing is my word verification in banshe!

Smart Ass Sara said...

Honestly? I would have done the same. I have this fun little habit of breaking out in hysterical laughter anytime anything serious or not funny is happening. Hit by a car? Arm sstuck in elevator? Hit in the face by a rock off a truck? There's Sara- laughing. Totally useless should you need medical help.

**and as a side note- I totally take all opinions. My hubs hates my hair and that's ok. Because I can like it, and until he decides he's going to shave regularly he has no say. :)

Just Plain Tired said...

Gail -- Banshe, pretty apt word for today's post. ;)

Smart Ass Sara -- I tend to laugh at highly inappropriate times myself.

And, in answer to your sidenote, straight looks fine, but curly is nicer. :)

Charlene said...

In April a woman went to the local J. C. Penny's and had a coupon from the paper for a "deal". The coupon had expired. The woman asked the clerk to give the coupon back then and the clerk wouldn't, saying it was expired and she had to destroy it. The woman got irate. She verbally "let her have it" and stomped away. The clerk said something hateful [not reported in the newspaper] and the woman got mad enough to turn around and slap the clerk. The clerk called the police and they went to the woman's house and arrested her for assault. She was convicted of assault, lost her high paying public relations job and has been humiliated in the news since.

This is a very good looking well dressed Caucasian woman in a nice shopping mall. She lives in a beautiful house, has a husband who has a good job and two children.

So she is also a wacko. I think the clerk was a bit of a wacko myself, but working retail is pretty awful, having done it myself.

I'm surprised that the woman in the plus size store acted that way. Usually really fat people are quiet and accommodating, trying to avoid extra attention. After all fat people are the only kind we are allowed to laugh at and not be called bigots.

I wouldn't have laughed. I would have watched, but I wouldn't have laughed. I find crazy people fascinating.

CrunchyVTMommy said...

holy crap. wow. i REALLY want to know what possessed her. Poor thing.

Just Plain Tired said...

Charlene -- It's a crazy world. It sounds like there was fault with both people you described.

CrunchyVTMommy -- Pretty sad situation. I haven't heard a follow up, or anything new about this either when I worked today.