Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Nov 16, 2012 05:30 PM

Unwanted Advice at the Store

At the store, I was looking at a display of holiday-oriented cookies. A man walks up and says, "No, you shouldn't eat that. You will gain weight." I tried to laugh it off and said, "Oh, it is for the holidays." And he said, "It doesn't matter. You shouldn't"--and walked away.

What the what? Since when is that appropriate or tasteful to tell people what to eat? I'll be honest: I am not overweight, not even close ... I felt like mini-gingerbread men.. I bought the cookies despite his opinion. But I wondered why/how he would even think to tell a stranger what to purchase....

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Be very glad the weirdo said his piece and walked away. There's nothing to say to someone as strange as that and better to walk away. Seriously, that behavior is very odd and who knows if he would have escalated.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monavano

      I have the advantage of being over six feet tall and not looking like the big teddy-bear I am. I find myself saying to people more and more often now, "Didn't your mother teach you you shouldn't talk to strangers."

    2. I agree with monavano: creepy. If you're inclined to creative writing, you have an intriguing beginning to a novel, maybe a thriller?--inspired by real life.

      1. W. T. F. is really all I can say.


        1. One could think kindly and just pass it off as a person who had some issue that compelled him to speak . You know, something like having no social filters.

          25 Replies
          1. re: Quine

            What you are describing is a form of Autism called Aspberger's Syndrome. It may not have been the man's fault.

            1. re: PotatoHouse

              OTOH, that person could have been part of the "food police," and thinking that they are doing their duty, to change the tastes, purchases, of others. Some feel so obliged.


              1. re: PotatoHouse

                PotatoHouse, I am not Doctor, so I do not offer a diagnosis, nor is this the place for them. There are other conditions and personality traits, that can be responsible.
                All I am suggesting is that perhaps having a kinder viewpoint other than "creepy" or weird.

                1. re: Quine

                  Quine, read again. I never ONCE said "creepy" or "weird". So far, I am one of two who have offered a possible explanation that did NOT say or infer "creepy" or "weird". Aspberger's is a clinically diagnosed condition not a metaphor for "creepy" or "weird".

                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                    I think that this is a product of inability to have a robust conversation via boards. To me, you both are coming from the same direction, just slightly different tracts...

                    1. re: khuzdul

                      khuzdul: Perhaps they both unknowingly suffer from Asperger's Board Syndrome? It's a common affliction on internet forums.

                    2. re: PotatoHouse

                      I think if you are going to diagnose people you've never met over the internet you should, at the very least, try to spell your diagnosis right.

                      1. re: Lamanda

                        Actually, he missed the diagnosis too. He seems to be thinking of Tourette's Disorder. Folks with Asperger's are more likely to be socially withdrawn. But who's counting?

                        My favorite unsolicited grocery store comment was made by a woman in London who picked up a roast from Safeway's butcher counter, looked at the price, and said, " 'e want four pound for this, do 'e? Well, 'e can stick it up 'is
                        'ole, 'e can." This was in 1976; allow for inflation.

                      2. re: PotatoHouse

                        Wow, Guess you totally missed the point. Have a wonderful day!

                        1. re: Quine

                          Could you explain the point that you were making? (Seriously. I'm not being bitchy.) I seem to have missed it as well.

                          1. re: dmjordan

                            For various reasons and various medical issues, some people lack social "filters". So, they just, outright say what sometimes we think, but do not say out loud. Asperger's syndrome is just one. It is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction. But others apply as well. And there are just straight out self-appointed food/anything "police" who do exist.
                            My point was just to offer up, a reason that that indicated it may have not have been a "mean/stalker" issue, but someone who, for other reasons, felt compelled to express what the OP experienced.
                            Sure, the he may have be a whack-a-doddle, a food police ( I've interacted with those) or, perhaps someone with not so great social skills who was trying, what he thought was a compliment.
                            My response to PotatoHouse, was merely a comment, that reflected the whole of the posted replies to the OP. PotatoHouse chose to take it as a personal response. And so it goes. Again, I am not a Doctor, I am not making a diagnosis, I use spell check, know it is called Asperger disorder, as a past Bboyfriend has it, and I understand, it is not something that is mean-spirited, Rather it is just not a "filter" they have. Have I helped?

                            1. re: Quine

                              Thank you both to Quine and PotatoHouse. I have Asperger's syndrome and am thankful for the good intentions behind your posts.

                              1. re: Quine

                                Sorry you had to do all of that typing. I am aware of everything you wrote in the first two paragraphs. I was confused that you were responding to Potato House with that comment. I guess I took it the same way he/she did. That's why I wasn't sure what point you were making.

                      3. re: PotatoHouse

                        Or he was just being a jerk. Or he was trying to make a comment on your current thinness and the idea that you would lose that if you ate cookies. Or he is really averse to people eating sweets.

                        Sometimes people just act in socially-unacceptable ways. It does not mean they have some "syndrome" and can't help it.

                        1. re: taos

                          Grace (the OP),

                          Or, he was trying to pick you up, but was so inept socially that all he could do was make an issue about your potential weight gain, in his imagination. Overall, I agree with Harters take on the situation, which is posted far below.

                          1. re: Tripeler

                            "Socially inept," came to my mind too. However, we may never know the full details, unless they "catch the perv... " Sorry - could not resist.


                          2. re: taos

                            Thank you, Taos.

                            I have had quite enough of this environment where the injured party is admonished for not spending time scouring the web for possible PC explanations of the offender's conduct.

                          3. re: PotatoHouse

                            If you don't know what you are talking about, you might as well keep quiet. As a father of a boy with Autism (and many of his friends being Aspie), thats not how their social interaction skills work.

                            1. re: vegiefudie

                              I have to say you are right. As the wife of a man with Asperger's (neuro-psychological testing, not just a wife bitching) but greatly improving with working on skills, he'd never have said that directly to a stranger. He would have said something about her choices/volume to me, though without regard to the stranger hearing him.

                              1. re: rccola

                                It's a huge spectrum with great variety, and we have to learn these things over time. I might not say such a thing now because I've learned better, but in my younger years, it's entirely possible I could have.

                                These things, in hindsight, were like "well, Duh" moments - but the intention was never bad. It all just comes out wrong.

                                I also know a lot of Aspies who are more severe than me, and who might never learn from these mistakes. I also know Aspies who know not to say these things too - like my daughter. But is this because she was diagnosed very young and we helped her with social awareness? There are a lot of undiagnosed people out there who have no idea.

                                Either way, I appreciate those who are trying to point out that "assholery" might not have been the motive.

                                1. re: ursy_ten

                                  And my husband is living proof that, no matter what the age, someone can improve. He's even learned to modulate his voice so, if he says something like that to me, the victim of his attention can't hear.

                                  But leave open the concept that this guy may have been an asshole who has no desire to improve. Perhaps a new psychiatric diagnostic classification should be made: Asshole--recalcitrant. .

                                  1. re: rccola

                                    Of course :)

                                    My main point is that nearly everyone's first reaction is always "asshole", and this is not always the case, and it's nice for people to be aware of that.

                                2. re: rccola

                                  So you made him get tested rather than admitting you're a preachy wife? Of course I'm just kidding, it was just funny reading how you qualified your statement.

                                  Over the last few years it seems like Asperger's became the popular reason for others differing behavior. While it's great for awareness, it's sad that many have a misunderstanding of what it really is, especially when trying to label others.

                                  Thank you for sharing. Becoming more aware of things like this helps me to be less judgemental.

                            2. re: Quine

                              That is what I would do. I admit I have offered unsoliciited advice but usually of a positive nature - "oh, you'll enjoy that XYZ, it is really good" type of stuff.

                              Life is too short to waste psychic energy on random musings of strangers.

                            3. some people are also so dry in their humor that they miss the mark. Whatever the case, this was about his need to say it, and it was your turn.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: binky1

                                Guilty. Fortunately my smile more than makes up for it.