This was all pretty standard fare until his order was complete and we were waiting for his receipt to print. That’s when he dropped his bomb at the tail end of a longer arc of monologue: “—and pardon my forwardness but DAMN YOU SMELL GOOD!” he exclaimed so loudly that several customers turned to look at the spectacle. Now, as I’ve mentioned before I have a tendency towards amusement rather than embarrassment, fear or anger. Thus when he said this and people looked up from what they were doing, I had to stifle a laugh. I thanked him, handed him his receipt and moved on to help other customers. Later that day several coworkers asked about it, as apparently they heard him at the cash wrap and up the stairwell. When I learned that this man’s proclamation had reverberated through a nice-sized chunk of the store, I burst into laughter. I thought about tacking on an addendum to my nametag: "Jala 'Smells Good'."
Given that my official job was that of an inventory supervisor and thus the bulk of my day was spent slinging boxes of books, the fact that I still managed to not only have a neutral odor but actually maintain my perfume as applied before work was in fact pretty flattering. Furthermore he hadn’t persisted in saying anything else of similar ilk, nor had he followed me or tried a pickup line (all of which have happened in other cases), so all in all I’d just decided to take it as it was delivered, run with it, laugh, and move on.
Elderly people are great because they just don’t care about other peoples’ opinions as much. He may or may not have known that other customers were staring at him, but either way I don’t believe that it would have affected him. Younger people are too uncertain and often miss opportunities due to temerity or fear of rejection. This isn’t limited to teens or people in their 20s, but is more widely applicable to most people. We could all take a lesson from this guy. Well, sort of.