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Old 05-09-05, 05:19 AM   #1
Alekhine
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"Oh, you poor thing!"

I was grocery shopping this morning, and loading my panniers with my various foodstuffs for the week, when this lady comes out of the supermarket with the cart piled high - sodapop 6-pack rimmer and everything, living suburban WASP stereotype - and comes over to me:

"Oh, you poor thing! Don't you have a car?"



I didn't have a witty comeback or anything; I didn't want to embarrass her. I just explained to her how much I love bicycles and that I gave up cars 3 years ago (I always say it like ex-smokers do). She politely went along with it, we exchanged standard low-wit pleasantries (she made the 'gas prices these days' joke, of course) and she waddled away.

It's not the first time anyone has accosted me in the supermarket parking lot, but the genuine pity she innocently expressed at seeing some 'poor' young man who has to resort to using his bike (gasp!) to shop for food was a first for me, and very amusing. She was very nice, of course. She just had no visible concept at all that one might willingly and pleasurably use a bike in favor of a car for any other reason than money tightness or as a play toy.
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Old 05-09-05, 05:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alekhine
I was grocery shopping this morning, and loading my panniers with my various foodstuffs for the week, when this lady comes out of the supermarket with the cart piled high - sodapop 6-pack rimmer and everything, living suburban WASP stereotype - and comes over to me:

"Oh, you poor thing! Don't you have a car?"



I didn't have a witty comeback or anything...
Why didn't you tell her that you too made an instant judgement about her lifestyle and cultural backround from one look at her shopping basket. Then you could have added that your stereotyping/bias is PC and her's is not.
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Old 05-09-05, 05:54 AM   #3
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Why didn't you tell her that you too made an instant judgement about her lifestyle and cultural backround from one look at her shopping basket. Then you could have added that your stereotyping/bias is PC and her's is not.
She wasn't stereotyping or judging me, that I could see. I'm not trying to judge her (or her foods) either - just describing her appearance as typical of my local suburban supermarket. Forgive me if it sounds otherwise. Or don't.
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Old 05-09-05, 06:28 AM   #4
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A lot of people I come across don't even get the concept of running errands on a bicycle. As soon as they see you loading up for the trip home they get this 'no frikkin way I would ever do that' look on their face. And truth is, most of them wouldn't either.

I was curb chatting with a buddy who was headed out in a light rain yesterday morning to pick up some goodies for Mother's Day brunch. As we stood and talked another neighbor drove up and when he heard where my buddy was heading, he offered to give him a ride. He had that exact same look when my buddy said, "No thanks."
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Old 05-09-05, 12:49 PM   #5
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I get similar comments at work about my riding in.

I just say, I don't get why people drive cars to work when they could bike it instead.
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Old 05-09-05, 01:05 PM   #6
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I have heard similar--my response is a more-patriotic-than-thou speech about the least I can do while some Marine is dying for oil is to use a little less of it.
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Old 05-09-05, 01:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Why didn't you tell her that you too made an instant judgement about her lifestyle and cultural backround from one look at her shopping basket. Then you could have added that your stereotyping/bias is PC and her's is not.
whoa, somebodys more tolerant than the rest of us. i just made an instant judgement of you but i cant finish it in polite conversation. stereotyping happens, thats a given. a reply like that does nothing to help.
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Old 05-09-05, 01:24 PM   #8
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i would say: "yeah it's been tough. i have a horrible disease and the medical expenses have forced me to sell off the family car. we barely have enough to eat as it is. would you be kind enough to give me a few bucks?"
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Old 05-09-05, 01:27 PM   #9
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My parents always act like I'm too broke to have a car, so they offer to buy me one. I am kind of broke, but if they gave me money to buy a car, I'd just get a bling bling bike.

When will they learn?

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Old 05-09-05, 01:59 PM   #10
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I've had the opposite reaction in my grocers, most people who stop mme think it is good to ride for errands. They do get amazed by the amount of stuff I can carry on the bike.
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Old 05-09-05, 02:42 PM   #11
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I've had the opposite reaction in my grocers, most people who stop mme think it is good to ride for errands. They do get amazed by the amount of stuff I can carry on the bike.
Some might be just as amazed if a bicyclist should pile their panniers high with, "sodapop 6-pack rimmer and everything" at the store just like a "living suburban WASP stereotype".
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Old 05-09-05, 03:10 PM   #12
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The first few times last winter that I stopped by the store on my way in to work to restock my desk drawer supplies, I got a kick out of how amazed the ladies working the early shift were that I was riding in the winter.
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Old 05-09-05, 03:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
i would say: "yeah it's been tough. i have a horrible disease and the medical expenses have forced me to sell off the family car. we barely have enough to eat as it is. would you be kind enough to give me a few bucks?"
Good one..

It amazes me all the junk motorists buy while filling their carts with soda, chips and junk food in general. It's like having motorized transport enables you to load up on food that is unhealthy.
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Old 05-09-05, 03:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
i would say: "yeah it's been tough. i have a horrible disease and the medical expenses have forced me to sell off the family car. we barely have enough to eat as it is. would you be kind enough to give me a few bucks?"
and you know what? It probably would have worked.
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Old 05-09-05, 04:59 PM   #15
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Two co-workers have actually offered to give me a car! Unlike the previous poster, I would not want to take advantage of their kindness. You can't expect everyone to understand the choices you have made. If you can do it kindly, explain what you're really all about.
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Old 05-09-05, 05:49 PM   #16
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Try restoring an adult trike and ride that anywhere........

"Look at the poor handicapped guy"

So that lady was so sick she had to use a car to get around? She's going to get worse. Maybe you should have offered to buy her a membership to a gym if she can't handle a bike. The poor thing.
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Old 05-09-05, 07:19 PM   #17
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I always like to terminate pleasantries like that with a show stopper..So after the initial exchange Tell em that youre on the revoked list for drunk driving and that the accident that you were in while hammered sent three to the hospital, they understand that better..And it will shut them up .. If not tell them that your death by auto trial begins next week and you cant talk about it anymore!! Do this with a smile on your face and they will have no idea if youre pulling their leg or not..:]
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Old 05-09-05, 07:54 PM   #18
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"Waddles off" is NOT a stereotype, it's truth! 60-odd percent overweight, 30-odd percent obese in the USA.

I once went to a restaurant, for a dinner with a group, well, I'd gotten home from work, and was starving and knew things would go slowly including the service, so I ate before coming. Packed down some nice calories, then got a nice big salad at the dinner (this place did good, big, salads). Since this was a "women's group" and concerned with injustices, real or, mostly imagined, against "wimmen", one of group scolded me and said I have to eat, that I'll hurt myself - she thought I had anorexia! Since I have a neck, instead of a Charlie Brown round head sitting on round shoulders, I already look thin to my fellow Americans, and I was thinner then being younger and in better shape. When I realized what she meant, I took my jacket off, stood up, and told all of them that I was not "hurting myself" while popping a nice double biceps pose. I never got any more flack for being thin!

And this thread has made me realize something, for a while there I was traveling overseas fairly often, and people in various countries seemed to not know I was an American. Come on, blonde, and I was wearing a red/white/blue jacked with USA on it, but they just seemed to think I was a local, or some other nationality. Once in the Madrid airport another American who was berating some poor Spaniard lady for directions didn't even come over to me, and those types stick to other Americans like glue. Sure, I kind of his behind the Spanish newspaper I was reading, but that should not have fooled him. What fooled him was probably that unlike himself, I was not carrying an extra 50+ lbs.

In fact I've noticed that even since the 70s when I was a kid, since the 80s when I was a young adult, any kind of muscle definition, elbows or knees being other than a dip in the fat, are becoming very rare in the American physique. Everyone's got this layer on them .... I do too right now, even if less than most.

So, anyone not (a) overweight, (b) driving an SUV, (c) buying soda by the case, is going to be considered a charity case or a weirdo. I'm all for saying something really off the wall to the curious waddlers, the crying poverty to get a $20 out of 'em sounds good, but the gory accident one sounds good too!
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Old 05-09-05, 08:34 PM   #19
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When I lived in PA I would sometimes ride in near zero degree weather. I remember this one co-worker - they were HUGE, and would say the same thing to me... "You poor thing! Why don't you drive!" blah blah blah... meanwhile, this is a person who would order a cake for everyones birthday, anniversary, or just because.. heh...
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Old 05-09-05, 08:39 PM   #20
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That 'layer' is just from being out of shape, the slack,doughy look you get from not getting any exercise. One thing I notice a lot of is HUGE BUTTS and saddlebags. From sitting all the livelong day.You'd think they'd take to bikes- you can SIT while using them!
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Old 05-09-05, 08:57 PM   #21
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Yep slack'n'doughy is it, it's the American Look.

I was just impressed that a skinny biker is not considered an unfortunate charity case now..............
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Old 05-09-05, 09:00 PM   #22
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Oop I mean "are NOW considered"

In the US it seems like it's considered acceptable to be in shape if it's for a definate purpose, like you're a soldier or athlete, or you've been through some harrowing experience like being lost at sea, but as soon as possible you're supposed to lard up, athletes and soldiers often retire at 40 and sometimes earlier and the acceptable thing is to get that fat layer built up ASAP afterwards, so as not to offend Real Americans.
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Old 05-09-05, 09:51 PM   #23
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I just get the weird looks, especially as I load half a shopping cart into my messenger bag and get moving.

I really should build a nice touring bike with panniers and show them how it's really done L
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Old 05-10-05, 01:59 AM   #24
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Quote:
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"Oh, you poor thing! Don't you have a car?"
CommuterRun: "If I drove everywhere and didn't ride I would get fat."
<sometimes CR forgets to put tactfulness in his pocket when he leaves the house>
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Old 05-10-05, 02:04 AM   #25
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CommuterRun: "If I drove everywhere and didn't ride I would get fat."
<sometimes CR forgets to put tactfulness in his pocket when he leaves the house>
Raiyn: "If I drove everywhere and didn't ride I would get fat. I'm sure you know what I mean.
<screw tact condescending ***** had it coming>
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