Ranunculus Surprise

Today my weekly trip to Trader Joe's ended with a surprise.

I certainly noticed all the bunches of ranunculus in their black water buckets when I first got to the store. But I'd been too eager to get to the last available shopping cart before anyone else, so I hadn't even stopped to smell the lovely blooms. Even though ranunculus are my absolute favorite flower in the world, they were forgotten in my efficient pursuit of apple-cranberry bran muffins and lentil soup.

The store was packed, not unusual for a Sunday at noon. But, I tuned the crowds out and zoomed through the store. In less than 30 minutes, I found myself chatting with the cashier about Lena Horne and whether the Laker's would win against the Suns. I said goodbye, told him I'd see him next week (I always go to the same cashier every week) and began to push my cart toward the exit.

I saw another Trader Joe's cashier walking toward me, a lovely bunch of rose-colored ranunculus in his hand. But, instead of passing me, he stopped, held the ranunculus out to me, and said, "These flowers are for you, courtesy of another customer."


I was absolutely stunned by this. Someone I didn't know was giving me my favorite flowers? And in my favorite color of ranunculus as well? I stammered in disbelief for a few seconds but finally managed to blurt out, "Somebody gave you flowers to give to me?"

The cashier thrust the flowers into my arms as he explained how some guy had purchased the flowers, had described me and had asked for me to be given the flowers before I left the store.

"Are you serious?" I asked.
"Totally serious," said the cashier
"How long ago did this guy buy these?" I asked.
"Oh, about 20 minutes ago."
"What he look like?"
The cashier wasn't particularly descriptive. "A white guy. Dark hair. Tallish."

I hadn't noticed anybody that fit that description at all. Hmm. But, I couldn't grill the poor cashier forever, so I thanked him for his help and made my way home with my lovely bunch of rose-colored ranunculus.

I'm thrilled to get such a pretty bunch of flowers, but I have to confess, it's a little creepy to me too. I have an overactive imagination so I start wondering, what if these flowers are courtesy of some weird stalker out there in the world? If this happened to you, would you be a little weirded out by it too? Or is it just me?


Liz: It wasn't me. I was in Chicago the whole time.

Still, what a nice thing to have happen.
none said…
Keep your eyes open, not so sure about secret admirers these days.
Anonymous said…
I would be weirded out too. Plus, what's weird is the cashier enabling "secret admirer dude" to do that. If I were the cashier, I might say something like, "It's our store policy not to do what you're asking," even if that wasn't quite an accurate translation of store policy. I mean, it's not explicit store policy to do it either, right? Sign posted on wall of Trader Joe's: "If you'd like to surprise another customer you've got your eye on, buy flowers and hand them over to the cashier so you can disappear and we'll do the legwork! Leave 'em guessing!" Yeah. The way things went you can't even know for sure who bought the flowers or why.
Mamita Umita said…
I would be a little creeped out, but also flattered. Its not often today that things like this happen, especially at a place like Trader Joes.
Anonymous said…
Be Flattered Liz... Its so sad that we've become soooo paranoid these days. Enjoy the flowers...smell them, gaze at them, and just thank your lucky stars that someone, even some weirdo, thought your smart, beautiful and worthy of flowers!
Liz Dwyer said…
Oh man, did you have to burst my bubble so quickly? I thought you might have made a special flight out just for this.

And it was a nice thing to have happen...until a couple of hours went by and I started to over-analyze it.

Not so sure about secret admirers either. But then I felt a bit jaded to think that.

I truly have no idea! Maybe I'll find out that it was someone I know and they didn't have time to stop and say hi. Or maybe they thought it'd be funny to buy the flowers for me. Who knows. Later on after the novelty of getting a bunch of pink ranunculus had started to wear off, I started to think...was the cashier really the gifter? I don't think so. Well, was it another store employee? Or was it really random stranger?

At our Trader Joe's, most folks are pretty nice. They're a little too nice sometimes. It's like something happens to them the minute they get inside. The parking lot is a knife-fight though.
West said…
I'd be blown away, without a doubt.

From there, I'd hope that cautious optimism would win the day. It'd be terrible to be so worried that you don't get to enjoy the flowers and the flattery.
Liz Dwyer said…
I know what you mean about being paranoid. There's a part of me that believes these flowers are just someone doing a random act of kindness...but there's also the, "What if they're not?" factor. And, I think we should all feel smart, worthy and beautiful enough to deserve flowers, even if no one ever decides to give them to us (but I know what you mean).
Liz Dwyer said…
I was absolutely blown away and surprised by this. Still am. "Cautious optimism" is a good way to look at this. On the one hand, don't serial killers always get their victims through some sort of ruse (like flattery)? On the other hand, my overall vibe I get from this is that it's not a weirdo. Let's hope that's true!

And, I am enjoying my ranunculus quite a bit. They look absolutely lovely (as you can see from the photo).
Not sure what I think about this, but I'd keep my eyes open next time I went to the store.
Ms Melancholy said…
Well, for what it's worth Liz I would be both flattered and freaked out. All at the same time. Maybe we are just too paranoid these days. I rather like the idea of Mr Moon schlepping over to LA to buy you flowers though.
velvet said…
Talk about a wild coincidence! I'd be touched by the gesture in an "I'm going to call the police" kind of way.

It's funny how times have changed. Fifty years ago, people would hardly have been suspicious, only flattered. Too bad that it's necessary for us to have to think this way now.
Liz Dwyer said…
I know that's right. Or maybe I need to go to a different Trader Joe's for awhile.

Ms. M,
I should have titled this post, "Flattered and Freaked Out". And maybe Moon will be inspired by this and will title his book, The Case of the Rose-Colored Ranunculus.

LOL. I did call the police...well, I called my sister. She's an officer so I guess she technically counts. But I was still in the, "Aww, some nice person gave me flowers" phase. Yes, 50 years ago (pre Ted Bundy and stalker culture), no one would have thought twice. Maybe even fifteen years ago I wouldn't have been so weirded out by this. Fifteen years ago I would have only been asking, "So, was he cute or not?"
Unknown said…
I would be totally weirded out by it. But hey, at least you got free flowers, right?
the last noel said…
Oh, just take the flowers and enjoy them. YOu should be weirded out if you were give dead flowers streaked in blood. NOW, that's cause for worry.
Liz Dwyer said…
Yes, free flowers and they're looking even lovelier a day later!

Ok, now that I've finished my fit of uncontrollable laughter, I'm going to go smell my ranunculus (best name for a flower, ever).
Squirmy Popple said…
As long as the guy didn't follow you out of the store, I'd enjoy the flowers and forget about the relative creepiness of it all.

Good blog, by the way. I'll be back.
West said…
I feel you, but everyone's a stranger until you meet them. And anyone who's romantically interested is going to flatter you, first.

I wouldn't consider either of those to be the brightest of red flags. In my opinion, it all comes down to if or how you put yourself in vulnerable positions.

Vulnerability is a pill we all have to swallow at some point or another. Just don't overdose on it.
Liz Dwyer said…
Thanks for coming to visit and thanks for your kind words about my blog! Yours looks neat as well. I've always wanted to go to Glasgow.

And, if he did follow me out of the store, he might have seen my hoopty car with it's two missing hub caps. At that point, he probably rethought his impulse purchase! ;)
Jon said…
It's nice to be admired, enjoy it. It shouldn't freak you out unless the dude (or flowers) show up at your house or work. Sounds like someone was being nice, just what the world is in need of these days.
Liz Dwyer said…
Funny to think that some of the folks I'm closest to now were once completely random strangers. And I'll leave my post on how I started screaming when I guy asked me what time it was while I was at the ATM for another day. I thought I was about to get robbed! He called me a crazy beeyotch. I really didn't care...just had that vibe.

The world does need more nice people...but if my blog suddenly becomes one of those dead blogs that haven't been posted on in two months, then you'll know somebody maybe showed up on my doorstep. (I know, I'm so morbid.)
Anonymous said…

Haven't I said this to you - about you- before?

Those who radiate joy in the world, cannot help but bring it to themselves?

Liz, perhaps your name should be "Luz."

Don't fret, don't change. You allowed that guy a moment's observation of, and engagement with, humanity, and (perhaps)re-awakened a long dormant faith in beauteous spirits that inhabit our world.

To you. Again.
Liz Dwyer said…
Wow...You are too generous in your thoughts. Thank you. :)
Junk Monkey said…
Sorry wasn't me either - I was on the wrong continent for starters. But what a nice thing to happen.
West said…
You started screaming?

Man. I should probably respond more compassionately, but that's hilarious.
Liz Dwyer said…
Thanks for coming over to visit my blog! I guess this means I have to cross you off my list of potential flower givers. :(

Heck yes, I started screaming!! This guy walked up right next to me while I was getting cash and my antennae were buzzing like crazy! I'd rather seem weird and get cussed at than get robbed. I've already had a gun stuck in my chest once in my years in LA...not trying to do that again. And as a matter of fact, when I get home tonight, I'm going to write about THAT! It's seven years this month since it happened and I've never written about it here.
I'm sure it was a tribute to your beauty.

And it's really too bad that we have to be so suspicious of gestures that used to be lovely and life-endorsing.

If you love ranunculus, you should find out when the Flower Fields down in Carlsbad are in bloom, and take your camera. It's an amazing display, acres and acres of them planted in colors that look like stripes.

I used to live there, and you can even see them from the freeway.
Jameil said…
hurray for flowers! i'd be a bit weirded out esp. b/c you go there regularly but wouldn't it have been stranger if he'd given them to you himself? just enjoy them until you learn otherwise. stay usually alert about your surroundings.
Liz Dwyer said…
Thanks for passing along the ranunculus info. I do absolutely love them so I wouldn't mind trekking to Carlsbad to check out fields of them.

I'm not sure if I'd be more freaked out if he'd approached me himself. If he had, I would have definitely turned the flowers down. No question about it. I think it would have been really awkward.

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