The Concord Mall is only a couple of miles from my house, and I browse through it and the adjoining big box stores about once every other week, usually alone on a Friday or Saturday evening when TV is slow. It is a very pretty mall, and I enjoy seeing the variety of people. I use it as free entertainment.
So this past Saturday evening, I had come out of Best Buy (I like to keep abreast of my technological obsolescence) when I was approached by a woman in the parking lot who appeared to be middle-class and middle-aged, petite, blond, neither notably attractive nor unattractive. As soon as she got my attention, she quickly stepped back, as door-to-door salespeople now do to appear nonthreatening, and she apologized for interrupting me, not intending to scare me. (Did I look scared? I certainly was not.)
I braced myself for the spiel I knew was coming. She said she had been to the Christiana Mall, about 15 miles away, and left her wallet at the Best Buy there. They are holding it for her, but she needed money for a few gallons of gas to go back and retrieve it. Could I possibly help her?
I threw up my hands, laughed in her face, and replied, “Lady, you’ve got to be kidding me! Do I look that stupid? You’re insulting my intelligence!”
If you think I was unnecessarily harsh, remember, she picked me out and followed me into the parking lot because I looked vulnerable. No doubt she had an accomplice lurking nearby and must have planned on getting more than just a few dollars of gas money for her night’s work. The gas money was just a test. I suspect her plans involved an ATM machine somehow.
But could her story have been true? Not a chance, not even a chance of a chance. I had heard all that I needed.
And I really was insulted. Have I reached the age when I am tempting prey for vulturous ladies who are no spring chickens themselves? Do I look that lonely? that weak? that desperate? Apparently so.
I turned abruptly and continued on to my car without looking back. I suppose I should have watched her, followed her to her car, called security, any number of things, but the whole episode seemed ridiculous and unworthy of further distraction. Only my pride was damaged, and that needed TLC at home.
She looked shocked by my response. I hope she learned from it, but that was not my purpose. Educating her is not my responsibility. She could be a very good salesclerk or a receptionist with a steady paycheck and no need to cruise parking lots on weekends. Working as a con artist does not suit her.