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Yesterday, Jim and I did some shopping -- a dress shirt and work chinos for him, a raincoat and bag for me. Assisting us in chino purchasing at Field's was a young men's department clerk named Abdul. Abdul, a handsome African-American lad with a friendly smile and a quiet persistance where pants-vending was concerned, worked his ass off for his commission, never grousing or flinching as he hunted down sizes and colors for us. "It's all good, it's all good," he smiled politely every time we apologized for sending yet another unsatisfactory pair out of the dressing room. While Jim tried stuff on, Abdul and I chatted superficially about the weather, the wedding, pants. He was a stellar sales associate. Field's should be proud.

Except...Abdul's ingratiating small talk was peppered with occasional crass, confessional or just plain bizarre statements that took us aback. For example:

Advice given by Abdul:
Big waist, huh? Better lay off the burgers and beer. (to Jim)
You need to get to the gym. (to me)
In your thirties, huh? Better start having kids soon.

Questions asked by Abdul:
So, you got tired of playing house and now you want to make it legal?
How much are you spending on your wedding?
How do you know when you're ready to get married?
You feeding him too much?

Unsolicited information from Abdul:
I'm 24, my girlfriend's 20. We've been going out for two years, but I don't think we're ready to get married.
My cousin spent $10,000 on his wedding.
My girlfriend was a virgin when we started going out.

Listed together like that, it may appear as if our experience with young Abdul was excruciating. It really wasn't. He was very helpful, except when he left us speechless and stunned.

The sales help at Belmont Army-Navy, by contrast, was uninvolved to the point of being mistaken for punk-ass statuary. But I still managed to find a swell German army surplus raincoat (Gore-tex!) and a great multi-pocketed satchel.

Replies: 3 Confessions

You feeding him too much?

I'll have you all know I can feed myself quite well!

jima @ 04/08/2002 10:47 AM CST

I wanna see a pic of the raincoat. Here in Portland, we're always interest in raincoat technology, you know.

Charlie @ 04/08/2002 01:31 PM CST

Oh, you'll be seeing the new raincoat in a few weeks, my friend. I bought it specially for our trip to the rainy lands.

amyc @ 04/08/2002 02:10 PM CST

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