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Talking to people in shops

(94 Posts)
NanKate Sun 21-Dec-14 16:38:56

I was shopping with a friend recently and in all the shops we went into she struck up conversations with all and sundry. I have to say here that my friend is a very generous, kind, friendly person, so you get the feel for her personality.

I tried to avoid all these little chats she was having and continued looking round each shop until she had finished these conversations.

My sister who leads a very solitary life is also ultra chatty with people in shops when she has the opportunity.

It worries me a bit that I avoid chatting to strangers or shop assistants. I am not an unfriendly person and have a good social life, but I wonder if I would be like this if I lived on my own and was lonely.

I don't want to turn into one of those old dears who hold up the queue with inconsequential chat, when I want to whip in and out of the shop sharpish.

I may one day regret my avoidance tactics.hmm

Tegan Sun 21-Dec-14 16:46:29

I had a lovely chat with a lad at the W H Smith checkout yesterday. We both had a guessing game with regards to each others ages [he produced his driving licence to prove that he was 19] and he said I didn't look a day over 55 grin. I also know that he worked 72 hours this week but he had today off. And Peace at Last was one of his favourite books when he was little. [must point out there was no queue].

Marelli Sun 21-Dec-14 16:58:55

I blether away to all and sundry. Very careful not to hold anyone up, though.

kittylester Sun 21-Dec-14 17:05:10

I blather too Marelli - I think it makes the world a better place!

FlicketyB Sun 21-Dec-14 17:11:46

I am another who will chat away with anybody. DC said as children that I was (to them) at my most embarrassing at bus stops

ginny Sun 21-Dec-14 17:26:02

I'm another who always seems to have conversations with people sitting on benches, waiting at the checkout, at the checkout. I often have conversations with other shoppers about products they or I are buying. It certainly brightens up the day. I once overheard a lady in a wheelchair saying that a certain product was ok for 'normal' people but wouldn't work for her. I casually said " Oh, I tried being normal once but it was boring so I went back to being myself." She laughed and said I had made her day and we continued having a good chat for another 10 minutes or so.

NotTooOld Sun 21-Dec-14 17:38:20

I like talking to people anywhere but DH sometimes gets embarrassed. He also listens to what I say and corrects me if he thinks I'm wrong. Grr.

Grannyknot Sun 21-Dec-14 18:05:21

I had a lovely conversation today with the youngster who packed my grocery purchases (the local Scout group was fundraising) whilst I waited for my daughter. I wasn't holding anyone up.

My mother had "friends" she would call them that she came across whilst out and about - people she had struck up conversations with. She lived on her own once we had left home, divorced at 29 and never remarried, and now I think a lot of it (in her case) has to do with being lonely sometimes.

TriciaF Sun 21-Dec-14 18:18:14

Where we live it's part of the culture for customers to chat to the lady on the checkout. As the queue builds up behind, everyone listens in to the conversation. So it's very slow, but part of the charm of the place.
Wouldn't work in the UK.

rosequartz Sun 21-Dec-14 18:20:25

I chat away to all and sundry in queues, at tills (make sure there isn't a queue of impatient people waiting to be served), anywhere really.

When I was in Australia I chatted away to people in queues in shops and they looked at me as if I had two heads. DD said 'you're not in Bristol now, Mum'! blush

rosequartz Sun 21-Dec-14 18:22:32

She was astonished when I said I had had a lovely hour's chat with a nice man on the seafront (in Australia) while I was waiting for her to finish work. I had obviously found one kindred spirit over there.

Ana Sun 21-Dec-14 18:26:37

NanKate, let me offer a lone voice of support - I'm not the chatting type either! tchsmile

While being perfectly friendly and sociable, and not averse to a bit of a chat with the check-out person at the supermarket if they're that way inclined, I tend not to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Nothing wrong with either practice!

Eloethan Sun 21-Dec-14 18:52:57

I don't chat just for the sake of chatting. In the normal course of things, I wouldn't normally strike up lots of conversations with various people.

However, if a conversation occurs naturally, I think it's nice to have a chat.

pompa Sun 21-Dec-14 19:50:39

Last week, I was buying 2 large bags of dog food at Tesco. I was about to check out when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog. What did she think I had – an elephant?

As I like to chat, I told her that I didn't have a dog, and that I was starting the Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I ended up in the hospital last time. On the bright side though, I had lost 2 stone before I awakened in hospital with tubes coming out of every hole in my body and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry and that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to give it a try again. (everyone in the line was enthralled with my story by now.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in hospital because the dog food had poisoned me. I told her no; I had stopped in the middle of the road to scratch my fleas and a bus hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack, he was laughing so hard.

Tesco won’t let me shop there anymore.

Grannyknot Sun 21-Dec-14 20:04:20


Soutra Sun 21-Dec-14 20:05:06

I love talking to strangers - and find one of the upsides of doing things on my own is that I can do just that on a way I wouldn't be able to if DH was with me. You can meet such interesting people.

Lona Sun 21-Dec-14 20:11:51

pompa tchgrin I'd love to meet you in the checkout queue!

pompa Sun 21-Dec-14 20:15:09

I would point out, that it wasn't true, it's an old joke. But well worth telling in a checkout queue if the opportunity arrises.

annodomini Sun 21-Dec-14 20:16:10

rosequartz, I found the contrary in New Zealand. People in queues and on buses often struck up a conversation with me and were happy to respond if I started it. On a brief visit to Australia, I was frequently accosted by people anxious to make sure that I was wearing sunscreen. My pale Scottish skin must have given them a clue.

Greyduster Sun 21-Dec-14 20:16:59

I am constantly entering into conversation with total strangers. DH is always saying "who was that?" Me: "I've no idea". Him: "but you were talking to her as if you'd known her for years!" Me: "So?" He finds it most odd.

durhamjen Sun 21-Dec-14 20:23:57

If you do not want to chat, go into a supermarket and use the selfservice tills. If you want to chat and keep someone in a job, go to the tills with staff.
I live in a village and when we go to the post office or the newsagents, or even the small supermarket, we chat. My grandson tells everyone he is going to have a good day, then asks if they are, too. Wrong way round, but they do not care, and if there is a queue, everyone joins in.
What I know is that, if I were taken ill when in the village and he was on his own, his worst nightmare, that there would always be someone who would help him.
One day last week, I went into the M&S cafe for my lunch. A man at the next table started chatting and when his wife came with their lunch, we continued the conversation and discovered that we all came from Humberside.
I admit, I live on my own, so when my grandson is taken home during the week, I have no adult conversation until the next day. But I have always been like this. It's not because I live alone. I had a cafe and a guest house, and before that I was a teacher. You learn to talk to strangers.

Ana Sun 21-Dec-14 20:29:15

I don't how chatting with the till staff will keep them in a job!

And I rather resent being told which checkout I should use...hmm

NanKate Sun 21-Dec-14 20:30:03

Thanks Ana at least I am not alone in my conservative chatting.

I do speak to a very nice young girl who works in Boots who is so natural and does not ask me the set questions that other staff use such as, 'are you doing anything nice today?', 'have you done all your Christmas shopping yet?'. You get my drift.

However, there may come a time in my life when I would only be too grateful for a chat with anyone, so I think I will up my interaction by about 10% so that I don't lose the knack of light hearted chat. However, if I see Pompa in the queue I may just duck down below the counter and creep out of the shop. tchgrin

granjura Sun 21-Dec-14 20:33:04

I am a chatter and a smiler- nought wrong with that I'd say. If we all opt for the staff free booth- yes, the cashier's jobs will go.

Ana Sun 21-Dec-14 20:40:48

Quite - so shouldn't we all be using the staffed tills? I expect they're quite relieved to have a break from having to make conversation with every single customer.