Adventures In People Watching

This weekend I’ve had a unique opportunity at various locations to “people watch.”   The official (if you think Wikipedia is in any way official) definition of People Watching is:  People watching or crowd watching is the act of observing people and their interactions, usually without their knowledge. This differs from voyeurism in that it does not relate to sex or sexual gratification. Eavesdropping may accompany the activity though is not required.

My first adventure was at Meijer.  I know I go to Meijer nearly every week, so what made this trip different?  Well first I was by myself and usually I have my husband and/or kids with me when I grocery shop so this time I was more observant of my surroundings.  Second, I had two things specifically that I needed to get and then I was planning on “browsing” through the grocery section as opposed to being focused on a grocery list.  I started out  at the front of the store picking out a sweater, went to the back of the store to buy oil for the car (which ended up not needing oil) then to the pharmacy area to pick out some make up.  This part of the trip was extremely uneventful and there was barely anyone else in the store.  As I made my way from the pharmacy side to the grocery side I noticed that suddenly there were hundreds of people who had invaded the store.  I checked my phone to see if there was some kind of end of the world apocalypse coming – because surely one of the news apps I subscribe to would have alerted me with BREAKING NEWS:  CNN has just learned the end of the world is coming in 2 hours, everyone should go to the grocery store and wipe out the shelves.  Nope, no alerts on the phone, odd I guess everyone just decided to stop by the grocery store at the same time.

All I really needed (or technically had a coupon for) was milk.  Spend $25 get free milk – who doesn’t need milk?  The grocery was wall to wall crazy.  There were little old ladies bundled up like Eskimos moving at the speed of turtles, frantic Soccer Mom’s darting around the little old ladies and dodging in and out of the breakfast and snack food aisles checking their watches because school was going to get out in about 40 minutes – or yoga was starting in 10 – or something equally important, and a few straggling hipsters (if you can have hipsters in Midwest suburbia – maybe just college students) looking slightly lost.  There was so much noise and commotion I missed the alert on my phone:

  • WEATHER ALERT:  Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until Sunday

(I’m laughing while I’m typing because I went to pull up my phones history to get the exact wording and didn’t have to as there is a new Winter Weather Advisory that had just been issued.)


So what do people rush to the store to buy when you get the apocalypse warning on your phone?  Oddly not the typical “Emergency French Toast” kit made up of bread, eggs and milk.  Although I thought I was going to have to take an old lady’s cane and beat her with it to get her to move away from the milk section – 1%, 2%, whole or skim…….. you’ve bought it for 80 + years what seems to be the problem making the decision today?!?!?  ANYWAY…… here’s what I’ve found.  The little old ladies bought batteries, milk, eggs, bread, butter, fruit, raw veggies, potatoes, cereal, some canned goods and a few of them had a bag or box of cookies or some other dessert.  The Soccer Moms (yes I know technically I fit into this category but I didn’t count because I was the one observing) bought milk, cereal, 2 or more bags of potato chips, soda, snack cakes and granola bars.  OK yes these items were in my cart, along with a sweater, a tube of CC cream and 2 quarts of oil.  Oh yeah and eggs because the cart I took had a 50 cent coupon for eggs that someone left behind.

But the truly disturbing group are the under 25’s.  I watched 3 different couples load their carts and check out. So if they got stranded by snow or forced to go without electricity this weekend here is what they had in stock:  frozen pizzas, frozen lasagna, a bag of apples, 3-4 bottles of wine, 6 packs of microbrew, lettuce, gum, nail polish, tea bags and organic cheese.  Ok so maybe the 80 year old lady with the cane was going to be the best prepared for ice, wind, snow and power outages.  And HELLO 25 year olds, you need electricity to fix frozen pizza and lasagna!

My second adventure in people watching this weekend also happened by accident.  We were at a bar…. Don’t most great stories start off that way?  We just happened to be at a bar inside a casino – which adds to the people watching factor.  I don’t want anyone to take this the wrong way because I’m not being judgmental – I’m just reporting on my observations and then possibly my opinions on my observations.

Ok first observation: the overly excited and probably intoxicated cheerleader standing behind her friend who was winning at a slot machine.  You would have thought the lady playing the slots just won a million dollars by the way this chick was hooting and cheering and hollering…. It was a penny slot machine.  Whoo hoo!!! She just won $10.50 so let’s shout really loud and jump up and down so everyone within 50 feet of us comes over to see what she won.

Next I’d like to give a shout out to the French Lick Resort and Casino for hiring the DJ from my high school prom to DJ last night.  The 80’s tunes were flowing…. In the 80’s I was in high school, so the ladies who were rocking out on the dance floor were clubbing in the 80’s and once the 80’s tunes were flowing they were making spectacles of themselves on the dance floor.  Minimum age was 50 (and I think that’s a low estimate), and to their credit they can still rock out on the dance floor — they weren’t doing the side step back and forth while shaking their fists above their head.  No… that would’ve been welcomed though over the grinding and twerking.  I sent my sister a text begging her not to let me wear leather pants and a Kentucky Derby style hat for my 50th birthday.  She promised she would stop me.

Then there was a trio of gals who were in their 20’s who had purchased expensive little black dresses for their night out, the problem was that the dresses were so short that most everyone in the bar knew what color panties they were wearing because while dancing the dresses went every direction but down.

A store somewhere recently had a sale on bling jeans.  They were on every other gal in the place – from the 80’s re-visited ladies to the Barbie doll look alike 20-somethings.  Again just observing, but when you dye your hair blonde it’s supposed to be blonde not white.  Maybe they were trying to look like Marilyn Monroe not Barbie, but still their poor hair was fried.  There was also a sale on glitter.

Now in all fairness to all those I “observed” (and trust me I’m leaving out a few) – our table did seem to be the only one singing along to Sweet Caroline… so good, so good, so good.  And we did receive some glances and/or glares as we were singing.  But what do they know?  And PS have you never been to a Red Sox game?

So lessons learned this weekend:  1) Don’t beat the indecisive little old lady with her cane because her cart load of groceries may be the only thing that saves you in a blizzard.  2) While going out you should dress age appropriately –  that means if you are out of college you should not shop in the Juniors department.  3)  A Kentucky Derby hat should only be worn at the Kentucky Derby.  3) Twerking is for people under the age of 30 – maybe 25.  4) Glitter, rhinestones and hair dye should be used in moderation.  5) If you are drinking to the point you are making an ass out of yourself – keep drinking so you don’t remember all the stuff you did.  6) Keep in mind everyone has a camera and video recorder on their phone these days.  7) 80’s music is awesome to a point and then it becomes annoying and that point is when they start playing Ice Ice Baby.  8) People who don’t sing along to Sweet Caroline suck.  9) Wear nice panties if your designer dress barely covers your ass.  And finally………..

10) Most people under the age of 25 would die if they lost electricity for more than 12 hours.  But they would be buzzed on overpriced craft beer, wine and organic cheese.


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