Don’t make eye contact!

It seemed like a good idea. I had not been to Opry Mills since it’s refurbishment. As I walked through the mall I glanced in the direction of one of those kiosks set in the middle of the walkway. Until that point, although I had passed several others, they were more like phantoms. The one kiosk that I was hoping would pay me some attention was the one that sells the roasted pecans. Usually they offer a sample to passers-by. No such luck this time. Even after I walked by a couple more times, still no free sample. I gave up.



As I was saying, I glanced in the direction of one that I had been looking for. You’ve seen it. They sell those aromatic, microwavable packs for your back, sinus, etc. I really just wanted to know the prices. Instead I turned down several offers to try one on. Another potential customer joined me as I waited for the presentation to end so I could hear the bottom line. Unfortunately his bottom line and mine were many dollars apart. Taking advantage of the merchants attention toward the other shopper I made my getaway.

The waters had been chummed. I guess other vendors must have noticed my attention toward this one purveyor of goods and identified me as a mark. Offers of massage, perfume, crayons and cell phones were like the beating of rain during a storm. I made the mistake of making eye contact!

How was I to navigate the rest of the mall without further interruption? I was without a cloak of invisibility or a magic ring to make me disappear so I mustered up other ways to go undetectable. All the time I repeated to myself as if a mantra: “Don’t make eye contact! Don’t make eye contact!”

Let me offer some advice for others going through the mall trying to avoid the kiosks. Always look to the right and keep your body close to the stores. Think of yourself as a shadow, without form, clinging to the wall. If you accidentally do make eye contact, which breaks the cardinal rule, just smile and nod. Better yet, what ever they offer you, say “no thanks, I just ate lunch”. Forget about the fact that food is not being offered. Keep walking and the vendor will be too puzzled by your comment to pursue you further.

I did feel sorry for some of them and was tempted to look at what they were selling just to give them a break from sorting and dusting their wares. As I thought about this I realized this would be sort of a tease and give them the false hope that I may buy something so I dismissed the notion.

As I approached the food court I knew from previous visits that I could count on at least three free samples of various kinds of chicken so I made the rounds. I was not disappointed.

For those of you who haven’t been yet, they seem to have done a nice job of restoring the mall to its former self although I do miss the Black Lion store and the TOOL store that used to be there.

So if you go, enjoy the stores but remember: No eye contact.

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