4 People Who Always Stress Me Out

Bar and grill hostesses

They are the tiny, beautiful gatekeepers to the land of Cajun chicken sandwiches and wedge fries, and in order to be seated you must answer them these questions three. Are you enjoying the sunshine? Do you have big plans for the night? Are you celebrating something special today? These questions always stress me out because firstly, they all need to be answered by the time you get to your table and secondly I’m usually at a bar and grill type place for one of two reasons — the birthday dinner of someone I only kind of like, or trying to score a free meal out of my parents. In other words, no, I don’t have big plans. Most of the time I’ll clam up and spit out something like “Uh… oh, you know, just uh… eating food, right?”

The personal trainer at my gym

Why must she always be there when I’m working out? It’s like she works there or something. I can never work out anywhere near the personal trainer at my gym for fear that she’s judging me. I’m mostly afraid that one day she’ll approach me and in front of everyone, tell me the way I’m doing my deadlifts is actually killing me, and then all the other gym goers will point and laugh. A totally realistic fear, right? Once she glanced over at me in the weight room and I became so self-conscious I immediately grabbed my things and hid in the stretching zone until she was gone.

H&M employees

I’m sorry. Did my shopping get in the way of your frantic running and yelling into a walkie-talkie? Look, I’ve never worked retail, and I’m sure that it can be stressful, particularly when you’re working in a big store like H&M, but seriously, please relax because you are freaking me out. Every time I shop there I get the feeling that H&M is a front for some sort of secret operation, and I’m not actually supposed to be shopping there. In one visit, I always end up apologizing to at least three unimpressed employees trying to rush past me with a rack full of discarded floral print shirts.

Clipboard People

They’re standing outside your bank, milling around at the bus stop trying to get you to give all your money away to their cause. Part of my fear of clipboard people comes from the fact that my mother has always embarrassed me in front of them by saying things like “I’ve been supporting women’s rape relief since before you were born, missy! So don’t talk to me about your so-called cause!” If I spot one of these clipboard toters from far enough away I’ll cross the street and walk on the other side. But if it’s too late to cross or turn around without looking suspicious, I’ll pull out my iPhone and fiddle around with it while furrowing my brow, ya know, because I’m so busy. Sometimes, if I sense they’ve spotted me, I’ll stage a phone call, and sometimes these fake phone calls will continue until I reach the end of the block, just to make them seem more authentic. The trick is, don’t make eye contact, because then they’ll try and reel you in with something like “Can I ask you a question? Do you hate the environment?” The last time this happened I got so freaked out, I pointed at my headphones and yelled, “I can’t hear you!” TC mark

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  • Michaelwg

    As a former Personal Trainer, i’m 99.5% sure you’re doing your deadlifts wrong. :(

  • skwerl

    I have faked so many phone calls on 7th Ave on my way to and from Whole Foods.  Now I’m going to pretend I’m talking to you.

    • Georgia

      Excellent. You’ll be my new fake phone call buddy, too.

  • Dan

    As a former employee at h&m i’m sorry, they’re crazily understaffed.

  • Emily

    The H&M thing made me laugh. I shopped in there for the first time a couple of weekends ago and hated it. The sales people were so rude!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620174174 Katy Yuan

    I totally agree with the first 3, but “clipboard people”? Come on, they’re trying to collect money to help people. :P
    You could just give them some change if you really feel that harassed by their presence…

    • Mathlvr

      No, those clipboard people are annoying and to most of them it’s just a job, it’s not someing they’re really passionate about. I mean, check out Craigslist, always mad clipboard people listings come summertime.

    • Kim

       The thing is, they’re never just looking for change. They usually want your credit card info so you can become a regular donor to their cause. Not that there’s anything wrong with this but it’s a little overwhelming to have to give out all your info to someone on the street. I’ve spoken to a few of these people and some of them make it seem like the cause is your fault. It’s just a little aggressive sometimes that’s all

    • deftonia

      I’ve actually had one of the clipboard people tell me that they weren’t giving out website info because they were hoping to increase the amount of donations they get on the street.  When they place themselves on either side of the street there really isn’t an escape plan, and I shouldn’t feel shamed for trying to walk up the street without being harassed to give up my funds to their cause.  I donate to charities on a regular basis but will never give my credit card info to someone on the street because they guilted me into doing so.

  • Jessica Knapp

    I’ll add one category … telemarketers for non-profits. Ever since my grandparents passed, all these organizations seem to think my parents will magically want to give them money now (even though my grandparents never donated either). Since I’m home during the day more than anyone else, I get to talk to these people most often. And now I have a reputation in our family of being the “phone bitch”. If the same organization has called more than 2x in a week, or continue to call after we ask them not to, or continue to ask for my grandparents when they’ve been gone 2+ years, I WILL chew them out, want to talk to their supervisor, and report them because our number(s) are on the Do-Not-Call Registry.

  • Jessica

    all of these made me do an internal “haha, yeah,” but the h&m one made me laugh… continuously. i’m still laughing. as someone who worked in retail for 2+ years, i know the feeling of being a frantic sales associate. however, i don’t think i’ve ever imagined what it’s like being a customer on the receiving end. that’s mostly because i have tunnel vision when running racks of clothes. oh and i’m not really “running racks of clothes”………

  • Caro

    Me gusta

  • Rishtopher

    I will cross the street to avoid clipboard people every single time. Not because of the people themselves, I just don’t want them to know that I don’t care enough about their cause to make a donation. I make it look like I had somewhere to be across the street and around the corner. I just don’t want to be able to visually confirm that I’m being judged when I try to rush by every morning. Yes, I’m a terrible person. I apologize. 

  • http://twitter.com/robwoh Robert Wohner

    You are beyond correct about the Clipboard People. I got an awesome opportunity last year and was really excited. So I decided to give back to the universe, in my own way, to help someone else out! Suddenly, people from the Red Cross popped up in front of me on my path. Cool. For the first time in my life, I let these Clipboard People talk to me. The stress poured on. 

     I said I wanted to make a one-time donation of 25 dollars. Which for me was relatively generous.  “How about 75?” No. “50?” No. “25 dollars per month?” Excuuuse me? This guys made pretend “comfort zones” on the sidewalk and had me walk in them and then out of them. It was frightening. They finally accepted my donation but it felt so worthless after and I got no satisfaction from the process. Now I just scowl when I see them. 

  • Sophia

    oh man, every single one of these made me laugh out loud vigorously. great post.

  • Abbey

    2 experiences with clipboard people:

    1. Asking me to donate to save some lakes and claimed that most of the donators give their checking account number and the organization simply withdraws its monthly donation.

    2. Totally did the look down/fumble with my phone routine and the guy said in a loud voice, “Oh so you’re going to pretend like you didn’t see me?”

  • Alysha


  • Ab

    As a longtime clipboard person AKA canvasser, I can totally understand your annoyance but at the same time, canvassing is an incredibly effective fundraising and awareness tactic that does a lot of good for a lot of valuable nonprofits.

    And I can usually tell when people pretend to be on their cell phones :) Just say “no thank you!” We won’t chase you down.

    • Peaches

      False! I have been heckled by you people on more than one occasion when I try to smile and say no thanks. Like, yelling at me down the street as I try to scurry away. It’s not particularly mean and usually sort of jokey but I’m shy in public so all the attention from passerbys is really uncomfortable.

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