This is why I don’t go to GameStop anymore. I don’t normally go to stores. I don’t like dealing with people often so I usually shop online. I do make exceptions for my niece though. I don’t see her very much, but when I do I like to spoil her by taking her shopping and letting her pick out whatever she wants. This time, it was a Pokémon game and some DS styluses.
When we entered GameStop, there were a few other people. Mostly older guys just looking at games or loitering in conversation. I get nervous in any social situation so I steered clear of them and ushered her toward the Pokemon games. This is where it gets creepy. Being the oldest of four, I’m very protective of people younger than me. I’m also acutely aware of when I’m being watched.
I could see the guy hovering around the counter for a while. He was a chubby guy with a shaved head, wearing the GameStop lanyard that employees wear. He looked vaguely familiar, but I shrugged it off. The day wasn’t about my paranoia, it was about treating my niece. So we ignored the guy and kept looking at the games.
She was trying to decide which one she wanted when he finally walked over. And that’s when I recognized him. He was in some of the same classes as me at the community college, but there he always wore a hat. It’s weird how much that can change a person’s appearance. I saw him coming up to us and prepared my usual “we’re just looking” excuse that usually made salespeople walk away.
“Is this your daughter?” he joked.
My niece was twelve at the time. I am in my twenties. Even if it was a joke, it was lame. But I gave a fake smile because, while I don’t like dealing with people, I still try to be polite. I didn’t want to talk to him more or offer an explanation of her being my niece; I just wanted this interaction to end. So I steered her over to the styluses, telling her that we would just get the game opposite mine so we could trade Pokémon.
He followed us, pulling out his phone. “Hey so you’re on Facebook, right?” I nodded, but I was still trying to focus on getting the styluses and game and getting out as fast as I could. “Which one are you?”
I didn’t answer. I watched my niece pick out some styluses and we went up to the counter to deal with a different employee. The whole time, this classmate of mine kept looking at us and it worried me most when he looked at my niece. As we were leaving, he gave me this smile. It was a little too friendly. That was the day I decided to never go back there.
Of course, the story doesn’t end there. When I got home, I saw that he had sent me a friend request on Facebook. Along with several messages. Between leaving GameStop, dropping off my niece at her dad’s house, and arriving back at my house he had sent me at least half a dozen messages. They started off as sort of normal. Things like “Hey.” “I’ve seen you in a few of my classes.” “What games do you play?” Then they started to get weird. “What are you doing later?” “Do you have class later?” “Do you live in the dorms?” “Want to get coffee when my shift ends?”
We had hardly spoken in the store and I never spoke to this guy in class. Not to mention, at the time this happened I was wearing my engagement ring with a large, very noticeable black diamond on it. I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea so I just finally replied with “I’m with my fiancé.” Satisfied that that was the end of it, I pushed it to the back of my mind. Until he messaged me back a few hours later with what was easily the creepiest thing he could have said. “Your friend was really cute. Is she on Facebook?” My niece was twelve, but very petite. In a looks more around eight sort of petite. This gave me the creeps even worse than when he had been staring at us in the store.
Thankfully, this all happened around the end of the semester. I didn’t have any classes with him again after this and I never went to GameStop again. Although I did later hear that he did typically hit on much younger freshmen girls. I’m just glad that he didn’t talk to my niece that day.