I seem to be sending out signals to those in a constant state of bewilderment lately. I don’t understand why. Unless, it takes one to know one!

Yesterday, after leaving work, I had 45 minutes to kill before I got a haircut. So, I went over to Big Lots. I love to peruse the aisles and see what goodies I can find. I headed straight for the Christmas decor. Spying a big pile of rugs, I decided to see if there was one I could not live without. I parked my buggy over to one side and bent down…because, of course they were on the bottom row… when I heard a voice very close to my right ear. “Honey, let’s just open this one up out here. I can’t see when you are down on the floor,” it said. Oh, with the luck I have been having…I was terrified to look up at the face that was speaking in my ear. And, before I could turn my head to see who it was…it spoke again, “Now, don’t you bother bringing up any of those tacky rugs, I just won’t have them, I’m telling you. I won’t have them.” Scared of offending this demanding voice, I decided to just bring up the one I was looking at. It was not an expensive rug…just one of those that will last a season, and then get thrown out. We were at Big Lots, after all! (It was, however, in very nice colors…muted deep red and khaki, and brown…2 snowmen looking up at the snow falling.) I stood up and gazed upon a tiny, old er lady who couldn’t weigh more than 100 pounds, about 80 years old. solid white hair. “Whew!” I said to myself, “I can deal with her.”

Or, so I thought. She immediately started in talking to me, “That is a dumb rug. Who would have such as that in their house? Have you ever?” I knew better than to say that I was thinking I may take this rug to the Creek House to put in the entryway through Christmas. “What is it, Mam, that bothers you about this rug?” I said. “Well, what idiots bring snowman rugs to D*th*n? It don’t snow here…why would we want snowman rugs? Dumbest thing I ever saw!” she answered. “You would think a nice store like this would know better,” she continued. I was quickly folding it up, to move on out of the area, when she said, “Well, go ahead and bring out the rest of ’em…let’s see what other cr*p they have.” I did as she asked, and laid open another rug across my buggy. It showed a snowman, and a tree with a redbird in it. “There’s another old snowman…but at least it has a pretty bird on it,” she said, “What else you got?” (I was thinking that I don’t have anything, Lady, I don’t work here, or supply their rugs. All I want to do is leisurely look at the Christmas items…without having another ‘looney’ interaction) I figured I might as well play along…so I put on my best sales lady hat, and continued. “Well, here’s another one, Mam. How would this pretty rug look in your house? No snowmen here, just a birdhouse and a bird. Do you like it?” I asked. “Why is it in such dull colors? Christmas is supposed to be bright! Show me another one,” she demanded. “How about this one, it has lots of green holly and red berries…and its colors are brighter. I bet this one would work for you,” I said. “No, that is just not a purty rug, and you know it,” she said. I pulled myself up to my full 5 feet and still stared down on her. “I actually like this one with the snowman and the bird,” I told her, “You know, I think it is just fine to use a snowman rug even if we don’t have snow. It is sort of like having beachy things to decorate with even though we don’t live at the beach.” “Well, dear, the beach happens to be just down the road, but there shore ain’t gonna be no snow just down the road, now, is they? “she countered. “You’re right”, I said, “I don’t know what I was thinking.” “Just tell me, dear,”she said,”what am I supposed to do for a rug in my living room? You’d think you would have some Santy rugs, or those cute little teddy bear ones, but I ain’t see’d them no where.” “Oh, I know just what you need”, I said. Down near the end of the row they had those rubber backed vinyl door mats in a virtual plethora of Christmas glory. “Look down here,”I said. And, her tiny mouth started to smile. “Yes, Mam, that there’s what I’m a-lookin’ for. I know’d you had ’em”, she said with great excitement.

Now, if you thought this was the end of the story…you have obviously not read my last few posts. “Come on,” she called, “let’s have a look at these, now!” (there were about 75-80) Going against my better judgement, I followed her, and began to pull an assortment out of the huge piles. Her eyes began twinkling. “Yes, yes, yes”, she exclaimed, “here’s the good rugs!”
And, so, we spent about 30 minutes pulling rugs out of piles, and laying them on the floor, and deciding amongst ourselves if they would match her house. She thought I had been there…and I did not bother to correct her. She settled on a group of snowmen holding hands around a fire. I decided not to point out to her the obvious danger in that. She also bought one with a jolly group of reindeer (acting like the Rockettes…complete with pink tutus). And finally, she chose one with Santy and Mrs. Santy sitting in their rocking chairs…Santy with his feet in a washtub.
And both with a bottle of questionable liquid refreshment in their hands. She was now a happy shopper.

“I used to have lots of rugs”, she told me. “And, I moved 8 years ago and I ain’t see’d ’em since.” I said, “Well, maybe you will find them one day.” “Ain’t nobody gonna find those rugs till I’m dead and gone.” Honey, if you ever move just plan on loosin’ half of yore things and you won’t never find ’em. That’s what happened to me. ” (No, I did NOT tell her that I would be moving very soon. I could feel a lecture just waiting to be passed along. And it wasn’t going to be to me…and it wasn’t going to be today.)

“I better get busy,” I said. “Honey, you’s the best help they got in this store. And I’m gonna tell the manager. What’s yore name, honey?” she asked. “Doris”, I replied. “What’s the last name?” she asked. “Just Doris”, I said, over my shoulder. And I beat a hasty retreat to the door without looking back. And, I did NOT buy myself a ‘tacky rug’!



1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
2. ‘Good taste’ is very subjective.
3. It is hard to find good sales help in retail stores.
4. Keep your eyes on your stuff when you move.
5. I look like the sales help at Big Lots…and obviously, the name ‘Doris’ fits me just fine.