Girls Write Out
Friday, July 27, 2007

Denise is in the land of no Internet today, so I thought I'd pose a question. When is it okay to give unsolicited advice to strangers? You know, your tag is showing, you have lipstick on your teeth...

Case in point, I'm in Target's Pharmacy the other day and there's an older woman whose doctor has told her to get "Titanium Oxide" sunscreen. She's got a handful of $5 products asking which of them have this ingredient. Now, being a frequent Spa Girl, I want to tell her, honey, you're not getting that for less than $35, and you need to find a spa or a doctor's office.

But I sit there and listen to the twenty year old assistant pharmacist offer up useless advice. About how some brands have zinc oxide, look in the cosmetic aisle.

I opened my mouth a few times, but you know, I was eavesdropping, so unsolicited advice was probably not warranted, but have you ever had that happen? Did you say something?
posted at 11:00 AM  
  Comments (21)
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At 11:15 AM, Blogger Kay said...

I'm afraid I have frequently butted into strangers' business. I have given my 2 cents in situations you have described. Most often it is appreciated.

Once, I came out of the changing room with my pants on wrong side out. I very much appreciated that a stranger let me know while I was still only feet away!!

Another time a lady informed me that I had a sticker on my hiney. Unfortunaltely, that was after I had already wandered through the entire store.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Oh my gosh, Kay that is hilarious! I have worn a shirt inside out all day and no one ever told me until my husband got home and said why is your tag out? LOL

At 11:46 AM, Blogger CHickey said...

I'm always opening my mouth. Nine times out of ten, the person thanks me. Especially if I help them look for something they've seeking. Sometimes, I get that look that clearly says, "Who the heck are you?"

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I always say something. Like that's a shock. LOL

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Deena said...

If it's helpful, I usually chime in with a smile and a soft voice...and 9 times out of 10 it has been appreciated.

One time my son and I went through CostCo giving out coupons we weren't going to use. We spied out items in people's carts, and then handed them a coupon for their item...only one person got "mad"...

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

I usually say something because I hope someone will do the same for me.

Once, just as I was going to board a crowded ferry, my slip fell down around my ankles. I couldn't get it off because my straight skirt was too long and tight to step out of the slip easily. Fortunately, a Turkish lady came along in a raincoat and immediately understood my predicament. She pushed me back in a corner and stood in front of me with her coat open to protect me from hundreds of on-lookers so I could get the slip off.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

I would have said something. Usually it IS appreciated. I love getting random tips that make my life easier, so I like to give them, too. (I say this like I'm a wealth of knowledge LOL)

Pam, that's a GREAT story! How nice!

At 4:22 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I tend to give advice, too, but I do it carefully and by watchin for a few minutes first. Test the waters, so to speak. LOL

But if someone's tag is out, you bet. If it's a booger ... well only if it's a good friend. ;o

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I wonder if this relates to who is a stager, and who is a behind the scenes person. LOL

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Crystal Warren Miller said...

Kristin, Not only does this happen to me all the time--but I don't have to offer advice--they turn to me and ASK ME. I'm not making this up. I will be innocently picking out yogurt and some lady will say, "My doctor told me to get a certain kind of yogurt for my IBS, do you know which one??" And why,yes, I do. I must have it written all over my face--"This lady is a know-it-all." This has been happening to me since I was a kid.

But it depends on my reading of the person if I speak up first or not. I rarely have to. People tell you all kinds of things if you are a stranger.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Well, you are MARRIED to a doctor. It must bring authority with it. LOL

At 11:47 PM, Blogger Steph said...

For some reason, strangers ask me questions all the time, especially when shopping. I'm always being asked if I work somewhere. Even when I say "no" the customer still asks my opinion. Other times they don't ask they don't assumed. I guess it is because I'm such an experienced (bargain) shopper people can just feel my wisdom. haha just kidding.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Swaziland Mazzucas said...

I saw and episode of Tyra where they sent women out on the streets with very obvious issues (weave sticking out, lipstick on teeth, stain from "that time of the month) to see if people would help them out. Most people just walked by, whispering once they were on the other side. Seems like you would just have to ask yourself, "What if it was me?"

When my husband was dieting, he was very excited to buy these South Beach ice cream sandwiches. They turned out to be about the size of a quarter and tasteless. When we were at the store the next time, he saw a women eyeing said ice cream sandwiches. He wanted to tell her not to waste her money, but kept his mouth shut...and he regrets it to this day, wondering if he could have saved her much undie heartache and dissapointment.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Swazi,it's so good to see you here, are you home? Denise is in Oregon right now. : 0 kristin

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Swaziland Mazzucas said...

Yeah, I'm home *sigh* Bittersweet...more bitter than sweet since we still don't have our own place. Who knew you could go to Starbucks so many times in a day?

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Pammer said...

I ALWAYS say something. You know that little censor thingie between your brain and mouth? The one that is supposed to stop you from stepping into other people's business or saying something that will get you in trouble....well mine is defective. Doesn't work. So I wouldn't have been able to help myself.

I've had incidents where I wished someone had said something to me (let's just say it had to do with a skirt and pair of pantyhose and me walking down the street--in downtown Kansas City, MO--with construction workers whooping at me).

Chuckling at these stories. So nice to know I'm not alone.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Denise Lauerman said...

I love your spa girls collection. I read She's All That and now I am almost finished with a girl's best friend, I am anxiously awaiting no. 3 in the spa girls collection. Any idea of when????

Also I think we as women know when we are trying to be helpful and if that person could really use that information, rely on the Holy Spirit, it won't fail you!!!
Thank you,
Denise L.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Denise! Guess what?! The third "spa girls" IS out! :o)

Trot down to your bookstore and buy it ASAP! (The third book is my favorite.) Kristin has some other books you can pick up like her Ashley Wilkes Stockingdale series and SPLIT ENDS. And while you're there, you can check out Colleen, Diann, and Denise's books, too. (Hint! Hint! You'd like their books a lot!) End of commercial.


P.S. Kristin: Is this an example of jumping in and trying to be helpful?

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Pattie said...

I do! I do! I'll say something like, "I couldn't help but overhear, and I'd like to help if I can." Rarely has someone not reacted thankfully. Then again, I live in the Midwest. Doubt that'd go over as well in California.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

You know me, I always have to say something.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Pam, where do I send your check? LOL


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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