Monday, September 29, 2008

When you stand outside of a grocery store for 8 hours, weird things happen

On Saturday, I did an 8-hour voter-registration shift outside of a Von's grocery store here in North Las Vegas. I was told not to bring a chair or a table, since people really respond better if you are standing and addressing them on eye level. So, I stood non-stop for six hours. The last two hours, I must admit that I occasionally sat on the bench outside the doors. Gotta get a little break, ya know!

I decided, if I was really going to stand holding a clipboard, paper and pen for 8 hours, that I needed something to do other than ask, "Ma'am, are you registered to vote?" I'm kind of a counter by nature, so I decided to keep track of people's responses to my question. Here's the breakdown (now, remember, this is only people entering one door of a 3-door grocery store):

470 people said yes, they are registered
31 said no they weren't registered and they weren't going to
27 ignored me completely (I decided they were all deaf...)
3 said they were British
1 asked me "why?" when I asked if he was registered (he thought I was trying to get signatures on a petition or something)
3 said they can't register because they are felons

FELONS! I mean, I'm not so naive to think that there aren't felons around me going to suburban grocery stores, but honestly, if you were a felon, would you TELL the random stranger outside of a grocery store that you were? I think, were I a felon and asked if I was registered to vote, I'd say "Yep, all registered. Thanks!" And go about my business. But three whole people, all separate and distinct from each other, admitted to having been in PRISON! It was interesting.

And then there were the people from the "other side of the aisle" who asked me whom I was supporting and/or working for. I got harassed by 10 or 12 people total, telling me how stupid my choice was, and that I really needed to rethink it. Also, one guy suggested that I was going to shred any registration forms that were for the other camp. I told him that was a felony as well as being immoral, and that even if he didn't agree with my choice of candidate, I actually wanted him to vote for his candidate on election day because that is part of being an American!

Then there were the two guys who both wanted to fill up their 5-gallon water jug thingies at the Sparkletts water dispenser. At the same time. And they both had myriad tattoos on their necks and faces and looked dangerous. So, they decided to have a little "discussion" right in front of me that I thought might force me to jump into the bushes to avoid being hit! Luckily, 96 F bombs (each) hurled at each other seemed to do the trick, and they both backed off.

Then there was the older man who walked into the store, then came out a few minutes later with a 2-qt container of ice cream and a spoon. He sat on the bench near where I was standing, and in about an hour, ate the entire thing. He even scraped the sides of the container, then licked his lips, stood up, threw the container away and left.

And I met cute little blonde girls, adorable twin 3-yr-olds, several babies in carriers, a mom who was carrying I swear, the contents of an entire Toys 'R Us store into the grocery store to keep her children entertained, several people who disagreed with my choice respectfully, and many people who agreed with me and took a free bumper sticker!

All in all, it was VERY interesting. I'm headed back today, but only for 6 hours this time, and maybe I'll have more stories tomorrow. If you are NOT registered to vote, it's getting close. The deadline in Nevada is Saturday, October 4. If you ARE registered to vote, GREAT! And don't forget to actually go vote on election day. This is a very important election, and whether you agree with my political and philosophical views or not, I want you to do your civic duty. That civic duty is one of the reasons that, even with our current struggles, I believe we live in the greatest country in the world. And why I will always be proud to say God bless the USA!


Shelly... said...

I laughed about the felon comment. That is Alan's favorite line when we are at the grocery store and people ask if he is registered to vote and he always looks at them with a straight face and says, "nope, I'm a convicted felon". Although, you were in N. Las Vegas, scariest area in the entire state, so I'm not surprised people said that! :) BTW, we both are registered and we vote!

MOM said...

I think the man eating the ice cream should have offered some to you. In the Southland, they might have! (or not.)

You're a good citizen, Susie. I'm proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You are living life on the edge out there girl! I would be worried about someone harming you for your political views as well as standing, outside in Las Vegas in September for 8 hours!!!!!!!!!


STQ said...

Shelly - I guess I didn't mean ACTUAL North Las Vegas - don't I live in North Las Vegas? It was on Rampart and N. Charleston, so it wasn't in a bad part of town. Don't give my mom a heart attack just because I don't know where I live!!! :) Glad you guys are registered and glad you guys vote!!!

Vegetable House said...

I wish someone would stand outside my grocery store accosting strangers. That sounds entertaining!

Shelly... said...

Don't want to scare your mom! Where you live is the NW part of town. I guess I should clarify because when I talk about North Las Vegas being the bad part of town I'm referring to NE! The NW part of town is nice and new! Glad to hear that's where you were because I was a little alarmed at first.