I’m not sure how long he had been following me. I had tried on a few pairs of sunglasses, looked at handbags, and was now in the jewelry department on the first floor of Macy’s at Bridgewater Commons, New Jersey. “They’re all pretty nice, aren’t they?” he said about the earring display I was admiring. I had just become aware that a man was standing near me, and thought, “he must be looking for a gift for his wife”. “Yes, they are”, I replied, without looking at him. “Do you wear earrings a lot?” was his next question.

That was it for me! I stared hard at his wide, forty-something face, and firmly said, “No! I Don’t!” Then I turned and walked away quickly into the shoe department. I realized after a few minutes that he was there too. At first he stayed on the perimeter, just watching me. But soon he was hovering much too close again. I walked over to a sales woman and asked about a pair of shoes. He disappeared, but was there again as soon as my conversation with her ended. “Okay”, I thought, “I have to change the scenario here”. I walked rapidly through the store and got on the escalator to the second floor. Half way up, I looked down and saw that, sure enough, he had followed me onto the escalator.

“I guess I really have to handle this now”, I said to myself. It occurred to me how easy it would be to just kick him down the moving stairs, but I knew that the solution was not that simple. At the top, I started walking straight down the main aisle. I could feel his presence coming up behind me. I decided to just turn and confront him. Being in a public, populated environment, where any type of commotion would be noticed and dealt with by personnel, I knew I had options. For example, I could just yell “The brown haired man in the turquoise velour shirt is following me,” or “Back off; stop following me!” Just as I was about to do that, I became aware of a salesman helping a lady just up ahead and to my right. Without really thinking about it, I turned in their direction. I told them that the man behind me had been following me for the past fifteen minutes and to please call security. As the three of us turned to look at him, he hurriedly turned and actually ran back to the escalator. I never saw him again, but did speak to the security people and gave them a detailed description of my stalker.

Joanne Mazzeo, Basics Graduate

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