“Excuse me, what ethnicity are you?”
“What ethnicity are you?”
“Uh, I have Greek grandparents…” etc. and so forth.
This is what I heard in the aisle over from mine before I decided to scope out the weirdo. I strolled casually — if strolling can be done in such a way — to the other end of the store to a row of shelves parallel to where the random was striking up awkward conversation with the pretty girl.
I got a good look at him. His overly-polite and creepy tone had given the vibe that he was some perverted after-hours businessman (although his reasons for being in a clearance store between 9 and 5 would be unbeknownst to me if that were indeed the case). Instead, clad in possibly unwashed Walmart homie gear, fluffy unkempt hair and unfashionably plain glasses, he looked like any Wellander you might see on streets such as Crowland or King.
The girl ended the conversation and I became distracted by some nozzle-less bottles of root-enhancing spray. Kneeling down to look for a product of the same brand, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that same stranger creeping around to the side of the aisle that I was in. My peripherals indicated he was opening his mouth to speak to me. I stood up sharply as if remembering I had left the oven on, and bolted out of the store.
Thinking to myself, “What would I say if he asked me that same question, when that other girl was likely still only five steps away from him?”, I decided he probably wasn’t even about to talk to me. I haven’t really got a noticeable ‘ethnicity’ anyway.
However, the sound of footfalls did distract me from this conclusion. At that point, I was nearly half a mall’s length away from the store where this all took place, and in the reflection in a store window, I noticed it was in fact, our story’s crazy person.**
[**I wouldn’t call him crazy for asking about someone’s ethnicity, but his tone of voice, the sheer randomness of it all, combined with his following me around the mall did creep me out a smidge.]
Anyway, arriving at the store nearest the parking lot my car was in, I deked out the goof by faking a right (it looked like his plan was to cut ahead and stop me from in front because at this point he was looking back at me as he went down an aisle parallel to the way I was going), then veering back left when he couldn’t see me and pretending to be on my phone just in case.
I escaped unharmed, and especially weirded out.
So if someone at the Seaway Mall asks you your ethnicity, run. He looked and sounded just a little bit rape-y, and that’s the kind of thing we should all work to prevent.