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I think it helped that you were straightforward (and restrained) about it, not a blithering creepy idiot.


and she's probably heard. worse. had a guy my dads age ask to take me out for tacos because I'm Mexican... that wasn't ok.


You're probably one of the better admirers she's had as far as behavior goes. My personal favorite comes from when I worked at Upchuck hell. I had a family come in and every time the dad came to the register whether it be for a beer(why the hell do you need a beer at a kid's place) to more tokens or another drink, he had a comment to make. Long story short the threat of my manger explaining to him and his wife why they were no longer welcome shut him up real fast.

The Last Archimedean

So I didn't give off "total stalker/creep" vibes. That's reassuring.

And I'm redoubling my efforts to think before speaking around pretty retail slaves. Most of the ones I see aren't as drop-dead gorgeous as this one was, but there are a lot of very nice-looking women who work in the retail industry.


Nah, that's okay. You kept it short, didn't hang around like a creeper, and didn't actually ask for anything (phone number/date/sexual favors).
Compliments are fine as long as you don't go about it in a sleazy way and don't expect anything in return.
You're not a creeper.


It's sad when people have to double think paying someone a compliment. Political correctness, you have gone too far.


Political correctness has nothing to do with it. I think TLA was motivated more by posts on this blog from retail slaves who complain about creepy custys who harass them because they know they can't just tell them off like they could if they used the same approach in a bar or anywhere else besides work.
It's politeness, not political correctness, to consider whether you might be making someone uncomfortable who can't say anything because they have to be nice to you.


The if I weren't taken COULD come off as creepy. The telling her she's beautiful, makes sense. Just imagine saying it while swirling your finger in your belly button ala dodge ball. If that's creepy, you've gone too far.

The Last Archimedean

What Chica said. I managed not to appear like a total creep, this time, but I'll have to make sure to be careful in the future. We slaves get enough crap from crustys, we don't need to be inflicting it on each other.

I'm sure my eyes were bulging out of my head. This clerk was... well, from a physical point of view, pure goddess. But I still have to think with the head resting on my shoulders.


If you were the first customer to tell her she's beautiful it probably would have made her day. But since she probably hears the same thing ALL DAY EVERY DAY from every male customer, as well as a few females, she was probably screaming "FUCK OFF!" in her head.

Think about it. She was blessed with good looks, but now that means that she can't do ANYTHING without complete strangers making comments about her appearance and sometimes even harassing her. She hears it at work from customers and probably coworkers. She hears it from people behind her in line at the grocery store. She hears it from friends and family members and strangers on the street. I have a close friend who deals with this problem and she doesn't even like to go out anymore because we can't go to a restaurant without the waiter turning into a horny idiot. It makes her feel embarrassed and angry.

The next time you meet a woman who is so beautiful you think you HAVE to make a comment about it, just don't. Maybe compliment her work ethic (working on Christmas eve) or her ability to put up with all the idiots who are bound to come into the store that late (excluding you of course).


The point here, Mr. Pi Approximator, is that you are aware of the creepy factor. That is the most important thing.

The worst are those who think they're cruising along just fine, and through their ignorance others suffer.

In more specific advice, compliments probably should be specific. "I like your hair" is one thing, but "I like how you tucked that little black braid up there beside the blonde stripe." is another.

Of course, that could be seen as even creepier.

Unfortunately, as has been pointed out before, the 'first compliment of the day' might be taken perfectly cheerfully, while the fiftieth in the last half an hour may be seen as exasperatingly creepy by the very same worker.

To that I can only add that, well, be aware that yes, your perfectly innocent compliment can and will be taken as creepy sometimes. Yet recognize that sometimes the retail slaves like to be noticed as interesting people over and above their duty.

It's a judgement call. Sometimes you will be wrong.

But the best preparation, really, is to be aware of how it could be taken badly, and pay attention to how it's being taken, and, whatever you do, don't push it if it has gone badly wrong.

It's not going to get better.

Still, you never know. At 7pm they may have been on checkout since 7am, and would rather hit you with a stick than smile, but still have to, or they may have just come on for the night shift and you could make them smile for a moment. I occasionally compliment retail and service workers on their appearance - perhaps I'm creepy (no lawsuits filed! (yet!)) - and sometimes I get a retail smile 'Thank you, drive thru' and sometimes 'Aww, phooey, thanks'. It varies.

But I reiterate this, in case it was tl;dr - The best part is being aware of their situation. They *have* to smile. Don't over-think that and become obnoxious. If they want to smile, you'll know.


The Last Archimedean

AT: You are spot on. That is why I normally manage to keep such thoughts in my head rather than blurting them out. If all I do is give them a smile, there's no possible way that could be interpreted as creepy.

M: I have to disagree with you on one point [and one point only]. There's simply no way that EVERY male customer would be saying that to her, simply because different men like different body types. I prefer voluptuous [large-framed, big-boned, Rubenesque -- pick your adjective] women. Some men prefer women who don't weigh 100 pounds soaking wet. Some men go for blondes, others are captivated by brunettes. Some guys like pale-skinned women, others like Black or Latina women [darker-skinned.]

It is *very* possible that a large number of previous customers had already observed out loud that she was physically attractive. But I think EVERY SINGLE MALE is somewhat of an exaggeration.

(For the record, THIS particular clerk had the body type of Pam Ferris (except the clerk was considerably younger -- perhaps in her mid-20's), the facial structure of Marianne Sagebrecht, and the skin color of CCH Pounder. (Three actresses: feel free to look them up.) To me, that combination is oh-my-word, a living embodiment of a Goddess.)

However, I agree with everything else you said. No matter how stunning the clerk is and no matter how tired I am, I have to have enough self-restraint not to just blurt out things. Think first, THEN speak.


For a somewhat more crass philosophy, I've heard the adage "Beautiful people love to be told they're smart; Smart people love to be told they're beautiful." Wednesday's remark alluded to this, but they said it tastefully.

Fortunately, I have it easy. Having 'a bit of silver around the muzzle' (as they say), my making any comments about the attractiveness of any retail worker younger than Grover Norquist is automatically creepy... :)



Um I'm not sure how that relates to my point. To make my point more clear. I am responsible for what I say not how you choose to interpret it. If I say "wow you are beautiful and if I wasn't taken I'd ask you out on the spot!" I am paying a comliment. If you choose to take that as insulting than that is just too bad. I am not responsible for how others choose to feel. Every one of us has the responsibility to regulate our own feelings. Mind you if I say "damn those are some nice titties!" then clearly I am not complimenting but objectifying and I would be responsible for intentionally being an ass hole.

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