Love ain't for Sale

Mystery shopper lookin' at me

Not a spice for your recipe

And, you, no, not my cup of tea

Love ain't for sale in this grocery

========================

Trip down the aisles with a mission to see

Eyes on dessert reads a book of debris

A worm that invades the fruit on the tree

Love ain't for sale in this grocery

=========================

Insatiable gluttony scents potpourri

Flower to flower flies the bumble bee

Buzz the garden with clever repartee

Love ain't for sale in this grocery

=========================

Stalk the store for what will agree

Check out in vain a devotee

Steal the fruit then cop a plea

Love ain't for sale in this grocery

=========================

Con with a smile hugs a detainee

Caught in lies of your own reverie

Shoplifted kiss won't set you free

Love ain't for sale in this grocery

=========================

St. Louis has it's own brand of smooth criminal, stalking women in local grocery stores and making the news today. Two weeks ago, as luck would have it, I experienced my own personal encounter with "the hugger" in a Fenton, Missouri, Dierbergs parking lot. Afterwards, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I did both.

While I was in the store, I noticed a Casper Milktoast kind of dude checking me out. I didn't recognize him so I looked away. I thought no more about it, left the store and headed for my car. I no sooner got into my car, rolled the window down, as it was warm and was ready to leave, when "the hugger" was at the window of my car. Little did I know at the time, his modus operandi is to approach a woman and ask her if she remembers him. Yes, I bit. I was flipping through my memory cards, rapid fire, when I figured I must know him from my former workplace, as they employed over 100 electricians, many who I never meet except at their initial interview. So, I asked him if he'd worked at Kaemmerlen Electric and, of course, he said yes. He fabricated a story about his layoff, how he'd spent some time in Chicago and was back. And, it was his 44th birthday, which I now know. after the fact, is his standard lead in to requesting a hug from the woman he's followed. Most of the women who filed a report complied with his seemingly, benign request. However, with me he said he had visited his mother, who gave him 4 "prayer kisses". He asked me if I knew what that was and I said no, just wanting to leave, but afraid I'd hit him with the car, as he was leaning in the window. I felt trapped. He leaned in closer and I turned my head away from him. When nothing happened, I felt cautiously relieved, thinking I'd turn back and the incident would be over. He'd stood up, but quickly leaned in and kissed me on the lips, while trying to force his tongue in my mouth. I quickly said "I'm outta here", started my car, giving him the warning to move away. I didn't feel afraid, just astonished, stupid and incredibly creeped out.

The majority of the Facebook comments on this story admonished the women, who were approached in many different locations within St. Louis and Fairview Heights, Illinois over the span of a year. The man looks harmless, and has a friendly, non-threatening demeanor, but nonetheless, the women who elected to report the incident expressed feeling creeped out afterwards. Most of the emails expressed an opinion that law enforcement should be "solving real crimes." From experience, I can say that the man is manipulative, using lies and aberrant, stalking, harassing behavior. The police, who already know who the man is, have stated that he has a record as a sexual predator. Whether his behavior constitutes criminal remains to be seen. Law enforcement would be remiss in ignoring numerous reports of abnormal behavior that could escalate, if in fact, he is a predator. An investigation is in progress. The only "good" crime is the one prevented.

It's always somethin'.



Comments 30 comments

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

What a bizarre story and I'm just glad your physically alright but I too would be thinking, "what the hell just happened." That's what this dude likes-he knows women are nurturing and he exploits that. The fact this guy has a sexual predator record, makes me wonder why the cops are doing nothing. I just hope this doesn't end up in a rape or something worse. Thx for sharing this story and hopefully it can help other women that he tries to manipulate.


lovedoctor926 4 years ago

His behavior is indeed creepy! I would not have engaged in any type of conversation with this man and just simply driven away. You warned him and he didn't move. I would have called the police and filed a report.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand

Glad you're okay! Very bizarre experience! I am almost always puzzled by bizarre behaviour. I often wonder how one arrives at the mental space where they do not realize their actions are not acceptable. If he has a record one would think that changing the patterns of his inner mind would be paramount to rehabilitation. Doesn't appear to have ever happened.

Your poem says much. Thanks


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Hi Amy, you already know what I think of that creepy punk and the fact that the obviously 'weak' are neglected by the Law and all who are supposed to enforce it.

I'm impressed with this poem - your way of turning everything you experience into ART. Beautiful!

Yes, love is NOT for sale and also not for stealing or grabbing.... Love is truly a gift to be given by us to others out of our own free will and to be received with gratefulness.... we may even refuse it with dignity....

Hugs galore from SA :)

(BTW - I believe you've rinsed your beautiful, kissable mouth with a strong germ-killer. Yuk!)


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting. You always gotta be careful The only good thing I can say about this creep is that at least he doesn't rape and kill. Although with all those screws missing who can tell what he may do if he gets desperate. Anyway glad you're OK and be careful. Hope they get that perverted idiot.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear Minnetonka Twin, I'm guessing the police didn't get involved until so many women filed reports that it could not be ignored. It didn't take long for law enforcement to zone in on the perv. More than likely someone got his plates. You pegged it perfectly when you classify the story as bizarre with an overwhelming sense of "what the hell just happened?" I am mystified what anyone would feel they've gained by insisting they be noticed by default through a purposeful plan that required lying, deception and harassment? He can't feel good about the fact that otherwise he is a non-descript, blend into the woodwork creep. Since he managed, in a short period of time, to mention his mother, I imagine an overindulged, overweight kid, pushed aside, overlooked or bullied by his peers, that with practice, stumbled upon a mode of operation that allows him to imagine he's what mom always said, irresistible. But, you know what, that is the kind of analytical thinking and nurturing behavior that perpetuates and in some ways, excuses his behavior. Bottom line, he's twisted and a menace to the general population. Since he is proven to act in a compulsive, out of control, objectionable manner, he needs to be stopped. I doubt that will happen.

I learned a lesson. Who says I must give an oddball the benefit of a doubt? I am going to do what I used to think was selfish, put "me first". Why should I feel one iota of responsibility for a stranger's feelings, even if he says he remembers me? Ingrained behavior, "be nice no matter what" is beyond stupid, it's dangerous. Ted Bundy duped many women who didn't get a second chance. I'll not squander mine. Thank you, Minnetonka Twin, for your bulleye's comment. You hit the mark dead center!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I'm glad to hear you have a healthy, confident attitude. Unfortunately, many women overthink to the point of over-riding their instincts. They grew up feeling second-class citizens, being "nice" above all else, acquiesing to another's wants. Apparently, there are a lot of women duped by this twerps M.O. The news no sooner hit the airwaves and he was caught again! Since the world will always be shared with quirks, creeps and freaks, parents, schools and authority figures need to teach children the importance in using their voice to say "No". I recently saw several broadcasts of "Dateline" where parents, who taught their children how to be careful and say "no" to predators, viewed footage of staged scenarios of what ever parents fears in how their children would behave in the face of a predator. Though the children expressed fear and hesitancy in an awareness at the possibility of danger, most climbed into the vehicle with a manipulative stranger, to mom and dad's horror. Something needs to change in order to ingrain the right to unequivocally say "no". One thing for certain is the fact there will always be unbalanced, abnormal individuals. But, we can change behaviors to minimize the consequences.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear pennyofheaven, Mental illness doesn't care about anything other than achieving what drives it. Obsessive-compulsive behavior takes control and creates actions that are out-of-control. The victims and even the consequences the perp may face aren't considered. If the dilemma was easy to solve, there wouldn't be the ongoing consequences of rape, abductions and murders. We know it's out there, but few think it will happen to them. It's hard to know how any one person will behave when faced with it.

I remember a homeless man who used to come into the office where I was a receptionist. He was usually hungry. He came in under the pretense of looking for work. The president of the company supplied candy at the front desk for guests and the homeless man usually left with some of it, with the blessings of the nice man that owned the business. As I was taught, I was pleasant, greeted him and gave him the respect I felt every human being deserved. One day, at lunchtime, I left my desk on a brief break, and returned to find he had come in and stolen my purse, hidden beneath my desk. Prior to the crime, I would have considered it petty theft, after all I wasn't hurt, but I dissolved into a deluge of tears and an overwhelming sense of violation and outrage beyond what I would have ever imagined feeling.

The recent incident left me feeling angry, violated and grossed out. In fact, I have autoimmune disease, with a low white cell count and two days following I woke up with a bad sore throat, still a minimal consequence for what could have ended badly had he got into my car. From little on, children need to be impressed with taking care of themselves, even if it means hurting someone else's feelings. Putting oneself first is not selfish, it's necessary. Saving "nice" for loved ones gives us the best chance that we'll be there to enjoy them. Thanks, penny!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear Martie, You are so passionate with a beautiful blend of humor, you exude nobility. I am sure your father is watching and beams with pride at his fiery, sweet, spicy daughter.

I love your comment about disinfecting my mouth! It was the first thing I did when I got home. Despite that, my faulty immune system let me know of it's displeasure when I awoke two days later with a bad sore throat. The creep gets around, as we all now know! Surprisingly, I fought it off, without even a trace of what I thought would be a miserable summer cold. In fact, Martie, as I backed my car away, the thought occurred to me that maybe he was a passive-aggressive man passing on some disease he'd gotten! I'm grateful that I am fine.

Thank you for another good laugh, my friend. It is the best medicine.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear Gypsy, Yes, I'm fine and I thank you for your kind comment. I was surprised that the police already found him, sharing the news of a record as a sexual predator, which tells me "the hugger" was already on their radar. Yesterday, news said that his actions were being reported as long as a year ago. Maybe media coverage will result in an impact on the businesses where he follows and accosts women. With the bottom line being the power of the dollar, therein lies the key that may initiate concern and law enforcement. I feel like I'm living in the Twilight Zone!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I love the combination of prose and poetry....and of course I love your style. Your type of writing pleases me, Amy; the cadence is perfect and it holds my attention. I readily admit to not being a lover of poetry but I read your work every single time. That should tell you something.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

You've given me the most supreme compliment, Bill, and I appreciate you. I, too, was never a fan of poetry. Then, I tried it myself after reading some here at the hub. There are few endeavors that compare as far as fun! For me, taking an idea, the simplest happening, and expressing it with poetry, is like putting a puzzle together, piece by piece. It is an awesome process. Thank you for being the best of friends.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

What a total creep. Yes, you bet he is a threat and a predator. You should have run him over with your car! I'm glad you're okay.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I got a good chuckle over your suggestion. Although, I'm not so inclined, I can't say it didn't cross my mind. After all, he approached me without any hint of encouragement. I didn't see him coming. Today I heard where he was questioned and released by the police. Just another case of ignoring a menace until he hurts someone. At least the exposure helps with awareness. It's no wonder some people become frustrated enough to take the law in their own hands. I am in no way comparing this small time operator with Sandusky, but as far as I'm concerned, there were many people who were aware of his crimes, but no one wanted to lose their illustrious livelihoods, so innocent children were used and abused by a creep with enough power to continue for years. And with 8 of the 12 jurors selected with strong connections to Penn State, what happened to conflict of interest? Despite 51 counts of criminal sexual activity, leaving little doubt that crimes were committed, I won't be surprised if he doesn't face the consequences the average citizen would. How things go down is more influenced by money or who you know than truth. Love ya


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 4 years ago from Southern California

Amy, you have such a unique way with words and you lay it right out on the line. Have you thought of putting this to music???


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you, Sylvia! I'd love to, but I have no musical talent. I'm open to suggestions, my friend.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Oh Amy this is so scary. The creep could have hurt you. My Lord can't even go to the grocery store. I'm look'n frontwards, sidewards, and backwards when going to PigglyWiggly, plus a can of pepper spray.....


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

Strange; since I come from such a peaceful location and low crime but perhaps because I have read so many true crime books but I would lock my doors and put up my window if a man approached it. ( I do know you said you didn't see him, but this is something else I always notice, who is around me anywhere.) Guess I am not nurturing and I am super suspicious. You are so lucky it was no more than it was as upsetting as it still may have been. All women should carry a stun gun I suppose, to be safe. I really am sorry for what happened but glad you are here to tell us.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear always exploring, Its a shame that you have to have eyes in back of your head and even at that, there are no guarantees. If I'd noticed him following me out of the store, I would have turned around and went back inside. I've done that before when I felt uneasy. But, I was on a mission for my daughter and I was in a hurry, so I wasn't paying attention. It was a wake up call that will make me more cautious. When I think about it, I feel so lucky he didn't try to get into the car. With the hot weather, I roll the windows down as soon as I get in. Luckily, the dude was just a nuisance and not violent. Actually, you just made me realize that every woman needs to think about what she should do, if...rather than wait until a situation happens. Just like a fire drill, it's better to be prepared. Thank you, my friend, for inspiring that idea!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear Jackie, The creep is literally "a creeper". I looked up and was startled to see him appear like a vampire. I didn't hear or see him. He put me off kilter from the get-go. Had I noticed him when I was leaving, I would have used a tactic I've done before when I feel like someone might be following me; I would have turned around and gone back inside the store. I was in a hurry, running an errand for my daughter, not paying attention and anxious to get back to what I needed to do at home. It was a wake-up call. Actually, the incident makes me more angry than anything, because the creep is getting all the attention he wants now. Unfortunately, for the general public his 15-minutes of fame will add up to many more, as he's been questioned and released. He's probably already spent most of today accosting more women. At least the news reports have helped make women aware. He'll have to work on a new M.O. Thank you for your thoughtful, kind comment, Jackie.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

OMG! What a story and experience. I certainly hope the police are doing something about this creepy guy. Given the right situation I don't think he'll stop at a kiss or a hug! I'm glad nothing worse happened to you, but the kiss is bad enough. I love the poem and as I was reading it I was thinking to myself,, "What is this really all about?" I'm so glad you included the explanation at the end. Take care all of you women out there in Missour.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear Suzette, The perp has been questioned and released. I'm sure he'll continue on his merry way unless he escalates his escapades. I'm glad these incidents finally got the airtime to make women aware of his M.O. A forewarning can make all the difference. By the same token, other head cases with a need for attention, will get some new ideas, too. I'm glad you found value in the explanation, as I wanted to let readers know the specific facts so they have a chance recognizing others that might be lurking out there. St. Louis has a dangerous crime rate, but nowhere is exempt from crazies.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

.....well with all due respect Amy - everytime I see a new piece by you I want to hug you and Mac as well - this is just so thrilling to see you back here at the Hub embracing writing again - as I will say this on my dying bed and I am dying to say this out loud again in public domain but Amy you are one of the best writers I have ever read - anywhere ..... and my goodness how things have changed - lol - I have even seen you 'hanging' out on Facebook a lot more - sending you good energy and good thoughts to you and the fabulous Mac man. lake erie time 12:50pm

and you can still Out-Stahl the 'Stahl' anyday


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Awww, Colin you warm my heart and Mac's too! Speaking of MacGregor, he has not responded to the different antibiotics prescribed over the past month, so I have an appointment on Sunday (vet works at a clinic that operates 24/7) @ 1 p.m. for an x-ray so the problem can be definitively diagnosed. At this point, the vet has expressed concern for his kidneys. Think warm thoughts, Colin, for my sweet, furry little man. I love your poetic epigram "out-Stahl the Stahl". It is so YOU! Thank you, Mr. C


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 4 years ago from Southern California

Amy, we'll have to talk....


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Uh, oh, that sounds ominous, LOL. Anytime, dear Sylvia.


stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Good that you got out of their. GBY.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Yes, stars, I thank my lucky stars!


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand

Once upon a time putting oneself first was deemed selfish indeed. However that is a false belief many are beginning to realize and release thankfully. We need to know ourselves well and be at peace with whom we are flaws and all. We need to learn how to love and respect ourselves flaws and all in order to reach that space where the seemingly mindless chatter ceases to exist or lessens greatly. Most of our mind chatter is made up of our frames of references in relation to ourselves and how our world and everything in it affects, will affect or could affect us. The more we know and accept ourselves the less concern for ourself we become if that makes sense to you. Which brings me to my point. With less chatter in the mind, the intuitive if you like of what we are can be heard more clearly. What naturally rises is those nice things we 'tried' to do or be without effort or influence from a false belief. Our awareness and sensitivity to our world and every thing in it increases and we intuitively know when something is amiss or someone is not safe to be around. This awareness then guides us into a more safer environment. With this awareness also our inner strength has increased and we possess the ability to say no when in the past we might not have and still be at peace with who we are. Being polite would not be based on false belief, it will be naturally arising. Being impolite with respect would also be naturally arising, yet we will still be at peace. Once self love and self awareness is growing it becomes less and less about us and more and more about others. When we nurture ourselves first then selfless arises naturally. There is so much that could be said about being selfish. Sorry about the hub length reply but it kinda flowed.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Beautifully stated, pennyofheaven, and I agree. Maturity has helped me separate fact from fiction. I have little tolerance or time to squander on hot air on a mission. Honesty trumps everything in my book. Anything less is a waste of precious time and, is, ultimately, self-centered.

Thank you for taking the time to leave your well thought out, meaningful comment.

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