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Love ain't for Sale

Updated on December 10, 2012

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'.


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