OOPS! – Marilyn Armstrong

So there I was. The chief and only salesperson in a lovely furniture store. A charming couple came in looking for new furniture for their recently renovated home. I congratulated her on the (it was so obvious) upcoming birth of their child … and she said, “Don, I really do need to go on a diet.”

I thought I would die of embarrassment. All my attempts at apology just made things worse.


The most humiliating part of the experience — a cautionary tale for anyone who might ever find themselves in a similar situation — was that these were such sweet, non-judgmental people. They bought thousands of dollars of furniture. I worked on commission, so this was a paycheck for me. They apparently didn’t hold it against me.

But I held it against me. I still do. It was awful. It happened more than 29 years ago and I still feel bad about it. It was right before Garry and I got married and it was one of the hardest admissions I’ve ever made to him. I felt like a complete jack-ass and remarkably, still do.

To this day, I remain wary of making assumptions based on something I think is obvious. Because in this case, it was obviously wrong. Never assume you know something unless you are sure you know it.

Appearances can be deceiving.

20 thoughts on “OOPS! – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. I worked with a woman who gradually gained a huge amount of weight. I had co-workers ask me if she was pregnant. No. But the odd thing was she was getting ready to adopt. Strange but true….


  2. You’re not alone, Marilyn, I think this is quite a common mistake and you’re right, people do tend to jump in without thinking and making sure they’re right. Over here in the UK, someone did exactly the same thing a while ago, but it was live on TV! The presenter asked when this poor woman’s baby was due and she had to say in front of millions of viewers that she wasn’t pregnant. It was a cringe-worthy moment for everyone. It’s a good lesson: ‘think before you speak’ though. 🙂


  3. Yes.. someone once made this mistake with my mother.. It taught me a lesson.. The owner of a local dress shop said, “Pat are you going to have a little surprise for us soon?” Yep.. she wasn’t pregnant.


    • And the words come out of your mouth and you want to jam them back in. I have been SO careful ever since. That was a terrible lesson learned. I’m sure not everyone would have taken it as badly as I did, but I never meant to hurt anyone. I felt AWFUL and THEN they spent tons of money, too. Double and triple the guilt.


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