Today was a beautiful spring day, finally – 73 degrees and sunny. My sociology class went on a walking field trip. And one of my groups came back with an interesting tale to tell.
Here’s some background on the assignment: As part of our stratification/poverty unit, we made a list of staple food items and went price-checking. The purpose was to notice the extreme differences in both pricing and availability of certain foods for a low-income person without a car. Since many low income people live in a food desert and do their shopping from a corner convenience store, this is an eye-opening activity for my students. As a bonus, we get out in the sunshine, and I may have bought my class frosties from Wendy’s to brighten the Friday.
Within walking distance of our school, we have a Dollar General, a Marathon station, a Lassus station, and a Health Food Shoppe. To vary our sample, two groups left a little early during lunch to drive to stores farther away. One group of 3 girls asked to drive to Sam’s Club to get bulk price data.
Here’s the story they came back with…
On their way to the store, they stopped at a stoplight with all their windows rolled down. A car next to them had two college-aged looking boys in it, who motioned to try to get their attention. My girls ignored them and drove to Sam’s where they went in to do their assignment.
Inside they noticed the two boys again. A little creeped out, they went to talk to a manager, and spent some time telling her about their assignment as the boys checked out and left the store. Then they returned to their car and began to drive the short distance back to school.
A few blocks away they noticed something stuck under the windshield wiper. They pulled over to a public gas station to get it. It turned out to be a receipt with two phone numbers on it.
|If you happen to recognize these #s, share this post with them…|
They returned to school eager to share this story of the two slightly creepy boys. I shared with the class how they did exactly the right things: they went inside, found a manager, and stayed together. They might have asked the manager to walk them to their car, but after they saw the note, they smartly drove to a public location with cameras to grab it. They didn’t just jump out of their car in the parking lot or on the side of the road. They made the right decisions.
However, this receipt lead to some interesting analyses and I had to decide if I wanted to pursue it further. Was this action just classless and stupid, or was it nefarious?
- The girls were wearing their school uniforms and they had a school bumper sticker on their car. This should have suggested to the guys that they were at least high school students, if not underage (which they are). It also means they know where they go to school.
- The receipt says they only bought water and gatorade. This suggests they weren’t intending to go to Sam’s Club and instead followed the girls there to get closer.
- There is no name, so no guarantee who would pick up the phone.
- Especially in the era of #MeToo, it is almost impossible for a guy to approach a girl without sounding creepy; perhaps these were just two socially awkward guys incapable of talking to girls.
- If they didn’t notice they were all wearing maroon high school uniforms, they were morons. If they thought they were party girls skipping school, why on earth would they go to Sam’s Club??
- If so, leaving a note might be okay, but they didn’t leave ANY info – This makes it totally unlikely they’d get a callback. Let’s say the note had said something like this:
My name is John Smith and I was too shy to talk to you. Look me up on Facebook and text me if you like – I’d love to take you to coffee.
- This way, the girls could have looked him up online, decided he was who he said he was, and if he was just some 19-year-old at the university, maybe texted him to meet for coffee. However, without ANY info — and the classless “driver call me, backseat girl call me” — my classy girls won’t go ANYWHERE near such guys.
Maybe I can find a dad-teacher or administrator who’d call one of these guys and be like, “I found your number on my daughter’s windshield – who is this? Stop creeping on underage girls.” Scare them a little…
Takeaways for my sociology class that had nothing to do with the price of bread:
- Be aware of your surroundings. If something feels creepy, it is. Stay in a public, well-lit place. Find a manager or worker. Do not get out of your car if you see something on the windshield.
- If you need help, yell, “Fire!” – more people will respond than if you yell, “Help!”
- If you want to talk to a girl, don’t follow her into a store then leave a vague note on her windshield. There can be a fine line between flattery and creeping, but giving her a chance to google you is a good faith action that you aren’t trying to be weird – just friendly.
One person I conversed with about this was intrigued by the very straight line underneath the first number — he thought it almost looked like they used an edge of something. Why go to the trouble for that detail? Feel free to weigh in on the analysis!