A woman comes up to her in the parking lot. She is speaking mostly Spanish, but gets out the words “no home, 2 babies, live in car”. Well, if you knew my sister you would know how much it means to her to help the homeless. Her heart is too big and her empathy scale is off the charts. She is constantly trying to help others and does her best to pass that on to her children as well. Which is lovely, in theory.
She tell my sister she has no cash on and says “get food”. My sister says okay so the woman follows her into the store. She immediately tries to get the woman to follow her into the store cafe because her plan was to get the woman a sandwich, or pretzel, or something.
The woman proceeds to grab a cart and starts off into the store. My sister said at this point her "mind now wanted to slap my heart!" She had a bad feeling.
To Be Or Not To Be... Scammed
The woman walks by the kids clothes points and says "for my babies." My sister's husband was just recently out of work for a few weeks and their money is tight. My sister says no. and she reiterates to the woman she will get her something to eat. The woman proceeds to towards food section and starts doing tossing food in the cart she grabbed. Groceries my sister simply cannot afford at this time to purchase for a stranger.
When she sees the woman putting meat in her cart she knows for sure she is being scammed. My sister asks how she’s going to cook the meat if she lives in a car. The woman ignores her and keeps
shopping. When she continues to add more packages of meat in her cart, my sister asks again how she’s going to cook it. She is again ignored. My sister considers the woman may have one of the "things" truckers have to cook on the road. But, she doubts it.
She tells the woman "no more." She tries getting the woman to understand she can't buy these things for her. The woman then grabs a of cuties (small oranges) and adds it to her cart. My sister, a vegetarian, is good with the fruit and says she will buy them. But, she has to tell the woman, again, "no more."
She then asks the woman to wait at the register area so she could get her own shopping done. The woman won't stay - she follows my sister - EVERYWHERE!
When she is in the girls section looking for accessories for the girls to wear to an upcoming wedding of a friend, the woman appears to get very antsy. She starts pointing at her cart and then the registers and repeating something in Spanish. My sister just kept saying "No comprende!" She doesn't speak Spanish.
As my sister walks toward the registers she saw a man who worked there and stopped him. She told him how this woman wouldn’t stop following her and was expecting her to pay for all her food. She explained she was willing to buy her food at the cafe, but that the woman filled up a cart of stuff. She explained to the man how the woman said she lives in a car but wants my sister to buy meat she has no means of cooking. He spoke to the woman in Spanish and she became upset.
My sister wants to help the woman in some way. But, her funds are limited. So she hands the man the bag of cuties and explains she is willing to buy them for the woman's children. He talked to her for a bit and she picked up a box of mini chocolate chip muffins from the cart. He translated: if my sister was only going to buy her one thing the woman wanted the muffins. My sister says she would prefer the buy the kids fruit. Her thinking was that if they are living in a car they could probably use a dose of fresh fruit. When the man tells the woman this she throws the cuties into the cart in a huff and storms off!
My sister looked at the guy and said “I guess her kids don’t need oranges!” He shrugged and said something to the effect that the woman was an idiot.
No Good Deed
My big-hearted sister was upset because someone tried to take advantage of her kindness. It's been known to happen. However, she says it will not stop her from trying "to help when and where she can" to those that are truly grateful.
What maddened her the most was that her kid-free Target shopping trip was ruined. All you Mamas know how awesome that should be!!!
As my sister is telling me this story, I felt so bad for her. She always wants to help and sometimes has a very hard time saying no. At the same time, I was laughing and trying not to laugh. Don't judge 😉 I could just picture my sister, happy as can be and enjoying her solo time as only a young mom does. And, bam, her first stop and she is basically accosted. It's funny, to hear her tell it. It's also so sad her time alone was ruined and that there are people who will see a good heart and pounce.
I was at my local Target several days after I heard about my sisters' ordeal. The cashier was chatting me up and as we talked I shared this story with her. I was told that this happens all too frequently. She informed me that managers are told to call police if something like this is reported. Often, it turns out, there are repeat offenders that will face a consequence such as being banned from that store for a time. Or, after a few warnings, a repercussion from the police - though it is often minimal.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? I am curious. But, I'd also love to hear how others deal with those who scam.