When a Stranger Buys You Beer [in a grocery store…]

Y’all know this blog has a lot of really random themes including odd grocery store experiences and encounters with strangers. I mean, my original blog post set the tone that this little corner of the internet was going to be dedicated to strangers who buy me things. Well, this one has all three!

20150603_170801Last night while Bret and I were picking up a few groceries at Harris Teeter, we had an experience that made me think I am definitely going to be writing about this.

We had just finished our nightly walk around the Greenway (pictured left), and decided that we wanted to make cheesy grits and salad to go with dinner, so we thought we’d pick up a bag of corn grits, cheese, and salad ingredients.

I LOVE shopping at Harris Teeter because of all of the samples. I was bopping around to each sample station eagerly sampling rye bread with oil, cantaloupe, and then some cheese while Bret checked to see if the seafood counter offered a particular kind of fish he liked to order in Tallahassee. (They don’t).

We met in the beer and wine section. We were looking at some local North Carolina six-packs that we bought a few weeks ago, but ultimately decided to buy some Blue Moon. It is one of our favorite beers so we agreed quickly. When we turned to to walk away, a voice called out,

“Excuse me, are you done shopping?”

This caught us both by surprise and we weren’t sure how to respond. The man who was wearing a shirt with the Hefe logo was holding up a 6-pack of Hefeweizen beer. In response to whether or not we were done shopping, I just said, “No – we’re not done.”

“I just wanted to ask if you’d tried this beer before. Have you tried this?”

We looked at each other to confirm before answering, “…No, (have you?), No.”

He went on to explain that we were buying the number 1 wheat beer in the country, and that Hefeweizen is number 3 and asked if we’d be willing to give it a try.

I should say right here that Bret does not like sales people – especially those who interrupt him to try to sell something. It may be why he doesn’t frequent the sample carts as often as I do. We were about to leave when he said,

“Okay – I’ll buy it for you.”

I felt like there was probably a catch so we still declined, but he insisted.

“It’s okay. I work for the brewery!” He pointed to his shirt to prove it.

Beer 2He told us that he would go purchase it at the register and leave it up there for us. Instead, he ended up finding us a few minutes later and bringing us the 6-pack in a bag with a receipt! I couldn’t believe it.

I said thank you and he said, of course, and he hoped that we’d like it. When we made it to the checkout lane with our other groceries I was going to explain the whole scenario, but when I held the bag, the cashier said,

“Oh yeah – he told me about that.”

I asked if he knew that guy (thinking maybe this was a normal Hefe/Harris Teeter experience) and he said no, but that really is the best beer they carry.

While we were walking out of the grocery store, I told Bret I’d had random men buy me a beer in a bar before, but never in a grocery store, haha. Also, yes, I am wearing my LCB high school gym shorts.

So while we were making dinner, we decided to do a little taste test. We poured one glass of Blue Moon and glass of Hefeweizen. Do you want to guess which one was smoother, a little sweeter and probably my new favorite beer?

Beer 1Yep. Hefe.

If you like wheat beers like Shock Top or Blue Moon, you will probably like Hefeweizen. Bret even tried it with an orange in it! I will say that we usually put Florida oranges in the Blue Moon and all they had was a regular old naval orange which isn’t the same, but, Bret tried a regular orange in both and still preferred Hefe.

So there you have it – a strong sales skill that worked. I will probably be buying Hefe again, but for now, we’ll enjoy the free 6-pack!

Strangers!

Happy March!

Well, so far 2011 has been more than I can handle. I’ve been in a dark place making some reckless decisions and I can not thank my friends enough for sticking by me. I don’t know what I would have done without shoulders to cry on and homemade dinners to feed me and faithful ears to listen to me even though – as my incredible friends who listened to me vent for a couple hours in a Charlottesville Wendy’s last night will tell you – most of what I have to say is a little nutty. The point is when things get bad, you can wallow for a bit, but then you have to pick yourself up and take control of your life. I’m holding on to that concept of starting resolutions at any point in your life, and trying to do some healthy things for myself starting March 1.

I started today with my 7AM yoga class that I’ve been skipping for, well, a couple months. As I was walking to yoga this morning, I had a lot of thoughts going through my head. I admired the sunrise and thought about how GOOD it feels to see the sky like that. I remembered how beautiful the sunset was last night and I felt lucky that I got to see the whole thing unfold all over the mountain skyline during my drive. I thought about how many times in the past 6 years I’d made this same early morning walk to the gym. And then remembered this encounter I had a few years ago during one of those walks…

So I want to tell you that story, but first, have you ever been to the gym before 7AM? Its usually not the most talkative place. No matter what your motivation, after trekking through the dark and freezing temperatures, most people aren’t in a talky mood. They’re still waking up or they’re on a mission to beat their personal best 5K time and, yeah, people tend to keep to themselves. I’m a morning person. And a people person. I know more GOOD MORNING songs than you’ve ever heard of (thank you 4-H, color guard, and pre-school). =

So, back to my story, I remembered this time I was walking to yoga a couple years ago. It was about 6:45AM and I ended up walking next to this athletic guy in his mid-twenties and instead of cruising by while plugged into his iPOD, he walked right next to me and said,

“Hey! Are you going to work out?”

I was so excited that someone else wanted to have a pre-7AM conversation that I practically shouted YES but it was fine because he was all pumped about his workout, too! He told me he was a grad student (which seemed old at the time… oh man… anyway) and that he was just learning his way around JMU and he was so excited about this new Recreation Center. He had tons of questions so I told him everything about JMU that I could cram into our 5 minute walk together, and that conversation made my morning.

Back to real life time this morning, thinking about this conversation reminded me of all of these crazy wonderful interactions I’ve had with strangers. Remember my first blog entry about a man I’d never met buying my coffee at the gas station? Seriously WHO goes out of their way to buy ANYTHING for a stranger? An awesome stranger.

Some strangers are not awesome, but they are still worth talking to. I was riding in my car a few weeks ago with my friend, Kara, and this random lady pulled up next to me at a light and honked her horn and screamed at me to roll down my window. I was kind of intimidated, honestly, she seemed a little crazy. When I finally did roll down my window, she SCREAMED, “HI THANK YOU DO YOU KNOW WHERE A STARBUCKS IS?!” …I could not help but laugh hysterically. I mean if that isn’t a commercial for Starbucks, I don’t know what is. Fortunately, althoughI could not contain my laughter, Kara was able to direct this poor women to the closest Starbucks (which was pretty far away). Meanwhile the light was green and everyone behind us was ready to progress through the intersection. They didn’t honk, though, because this is Harrisonburg and people are nice here.

Okay, so that wasn’t a change-my-life kind of encounter, but its a story that I love telling. The point is, I love interacting with strangers. I understand why we tell kids not to talk to strangers and I know that Stranger Danger saves lives. I’m not advising anyone to get into a car with a stranger…unless the situation is definitely safe. Last year I was walking to class and I got caught behind a train. There was no way I was going to make it there in time, and the SWEETEST woman ever rolled down her car window and asked if I was going to school and if I wanted a ride. I said yes. She drove me. It saved my whole day. Also, one of my best JMU friends, Kristiff, (actually that’s two people but anyway) we did take a ride from a movie theater back to campus freshmen year, but our driver was a JMU senior who told us it was okay to get in the car because we reminded her of herself. Yeah.

The thing is, we’re all people. We’re all dealing with our own struggles and its easy to dismiss people you don’t know as people who don’t matter. They do matter. One positive interaction with someone who needs encouragement is a big, big deal. Be safe. Trust your instincts. Don’t make reckless decisions, but feel free to say hello to strangers. Talk to them. Let them make your day. OR make their day. You are a stranger, too, you know.

You will never see me again, and you don’t owe me anything.

I gave up coffee for lent, and even though I slipped a couple times on those early mornings touring New York City and apartment-hunting in Boston, I (basically) lived for six weeks without it.
So, I start Easter morning with a medium cup of black coffee. Something you should know: I always drink straight, black coffee. Unless, of course, its 90 degrees outside and I’m craving an iced coffee. Anyway, I spend Easter Sunday driving all over Virginia with my boyfriend to visit my family and his family, and then we arrive back in Harrisonburg around 8pm on Sunday night. I feel exhausted and moderately overwhelmed with the amount of work I have left to do before Monday, so when we pull up to the gas pump, I run inside to buy a coffee to get me through the night, not expecting any life-changing events to occur.

Continue reading “You will never see me again, and you don’t owe me anything.”