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How do you deal with nosy people?

Yesterday carrying a cheerful yellow potted Mum, I walked into Fred Meyer grocery store wearing a flippy, short skirt. I was returning the plant. Standing in line at the customer service desk, I was having fun chatting with the woman in front of me.

“Are you selling flowers?” an older man asked, rolling up in a store wheelchair. “I saw you come in with those flowers.”

Sigh. Must I give him an explanation? My patience was thin because I've been sick with flu/cold. Waiting in line was an ordeal.

It occurred to me that he watched me walk in, tracked my movement, and followed me. Creepy.

“I bought this plant yesterday,” I replied. "I’m returning it because I discovered I don’t have enough room in my flowerpots.”

“You have too many flowerpots!” he declared and abruptly wheeled away. He must have heard annoyance in my tone.

In retrospect, his question was funny. It reminds me of poor little flower girls in Charles Dickens' tales.

“Why do you ask?” is my usual reply.

Was I rude? How do you deal with nosy people?

LiterateHiker 9 Sep 5

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38 comments (26 - 38)

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I don't think they are being Nosy If you read what you have described you will see that they are Lonely. They are elderly people whom you described and may be undergoing a lot of unseen mental issues that they were looking for release.
My intake on being 'Nosy' is people who go into areas that they have absolutely no business going there. People who know something about your past and start digging into sensitive areas or who try and get others to push your buttons.
Don't hone into what you happened to experience that particular day, but when you are waiting in line just listen to what is being discussed or how people want to make a scene about a price or a product while 6 people are waiting in line.
I hear what you are saying because I go to a Senior Center three times a week to work out on Cardio Exercise Equipment of various types and to get caught in between a conversation that you have absolutely no interest in but cannot get off the machine or scream out STFU which I would not do because some of these people are fighting the same scenarios that bring me there. I have learned to change my times and when necessary or bear it through which is becoming less a scenario that if was at first.


Doesn't sound like you were rude. If the guy was some sort of greeter, it's their job to see what goes in and out of the store. I've done security before, and you look for something out-of-line. But returning pots? We had to check every bag that went in and out. Some tried to sneak by. Other times drivers would try to lie about a BOL. By asking you that question seem a little weird. Maybe this old guy was a widower with no kids and just wanted to talk to someone?


That's why I had the receipt in my hand. Thanks for your kind reply.

He was not a store greeter. I know the lady who does that job.

@LiterateHiker No worries. 🙂 I enjoy conversation. I hope this guy is at least an employee. Otherwise that would be very creepy! If something like this happens again, I'd talk to one of the managers about it. If an employee, they'll tell him to knock it off, and stay away more than likely. If just some random creepo, might get him banned from the store.


I think that the term is disinformation... Mostly false info with a little bit of truth. And I never allow them to rattle me.


It seemed a pretty innocuous question and you didn’t answer rudely unless your tone of voice was sharp. Maybe you were just a bit out of sorts and didn’t feel in the mood to be bothered talking. I tend to talk to people in queues, although don’t ask direct questions, but I find most people will chat if you engage them. Maybe he was just a nosey Parker or he just wanted to talk to someone.


ild rather feel good about interactions with people than know i was less than pleasant


None of your business. 🙂



@LetzGetReal Do they know you're "off the reservation"?


Usually (assuming I cannot functionally ignore them altogether) I deal with nosy people extremely directly. I let them know it is none of their business & then ask them if there is anything else I can help them with.

But then again - I am an older dude - so I can get away with statements like that pretty easily.


Like you, I've found that a determined expression, slight squint, combined with "WhyEVER do you ask THAT?" works well.


I would not have found that nosey. I would imagine he was and old guy in a wheelchair, who saw a girl in a short skirt and a flower. Maybe he doesn't have many people to talk to. He sounded pretty harmless to me. It is pretty hard to offend me or make me mad though, so I usually just chat a few minutes then leave. No if someone was intentionally rude, like telling me I'm fat, or whatever, I would say, "Why on earth would you ask me something as rude as that? ". I have no problem calling out rudeness, but I don't try to find a reason to.


Personally I enjoy the opportunity to be as rude as I like. "Your opinion is neither needed or wanted" and "Don't you have a life of your own? Why are you concerned with what everyone else is doing?" Are two of my favs. People who don't know how to leave others alone annoy me to no end.


I use "Why do you ask?" also. But the guy was interested in you because of your short skirt..just chatting you up. Plus, he was at a lower angle, so was likely seeing more of you than you maybe intended.


I was wearing a Title 9 skort: a short skirt with boy shirts underneath.


@LiterateHiker Still intriguing to the average cis hetero male.
I'm only a partial transmale, and demisexual to boot, but when I'm in a mostly male mode, such an outfit would have had my full attention.


For those of you focusing on my short skirt.


I was wearing this Title 9 skirt with little shorts built in. Great for windy days.

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