Chit Chatting For Career Conversations

Chit chatting with a wide variety of people
in a wide variety of situations
cultivates the confidence to create connections
with specific people in specific situations
for career conversations.



As I entered the bookstore, a man was talking to the owner. I heard him name a woman I know. He then talked about her ethnic background.

I announced,

“I’m her neighbor.”

I said the name of the village we live in.

Flustered, the man asked Bookstore Owner if our village was near another village. She said yes.


Whatever you say in public goes into the ears of bystanders, who might know more than you think they know.

Car Dealership

Forgotten Fix
May 4, 2023

In the waiting room, a decades younger woman looked at her watch. I asked how long she’d been waiting.

2 hours

She brought her car in for an oil change and forgot about a recall fix.

She was happy to leave before my windshield wiper replacement was finished.


A Sign From Heaven
November 9, 2023

I had a conversation with another woman waiting for repairs. Her car was 12 years old and she’s loved it since the moment she first saw it.

When she came to the dealership to buy a car, that car was sitting by itself, no other cars around it. The sun came out and a ray of sunlight came down directly on that car.

Car Owner walked inside the dealership and said she wanted to buy the car in the sun without asking about the brand or price.

Her face glowed while she talked about her car.



I took my grandson to the clerk of courts office for a document he needed. We had to pass through security.

I asked the security agent if he ever found anything.

“Yes. Empty ankle holsters.”

Note to self: Time for an online search about spotting ankle holsters.

Concealed Holster Test – Can You Tell Who’s Concealed Carrying?

How To Tell If Someone Is Armed


Department Store

Satisfying Oneself
May 11, 2023

I saw an elderly woman looking at flower bouquets. I encouraged her to buy one for herself.

“It’s the only way I get them!”

I told Elderly Woman to make sure she bought herself flowers.

Elderly Woman picked out a bouquet of red flowers.


A Tall Woman
May 25, 2023

I collect stereotypes for my 5 blog posts listing stereotypes.

Standing behind a tall woman in line, I asked her about stereotypes she’s faced. Only stereotypes that she would be good at playing basketball and volleyball. She’s not at either sport.

Tall Woman had mostly dated must shorter men, so she saw no stereotypes about short men. She’s 3/4 of an inch taller than her husband.

She also has excellent hearing, much to her son’s regret.

When she finished checking out, Tall Woman thanked me for the conversation.

Negative Stereotypes Behind Bad & Ugly Gossip: People In General

Negative Stereotypes Behind Bad & Ugly Gossip: Workplaces

Negative Stereotypes Behind Bad & Ugly Gossip: Romance

Negative Stereotypes Behind Bad & Ugly Gossip: Ethnic, National, & Racial Identities

Negative Stereotypes Behind Bad & Ugly Gossip: Poverty


December 14, 2023

A young man walked up to the self-checkout next to the one I was using. He bought a bouquet of flowers. a vase. and a card.

I wanted to encourage Young Man.

“I hope she likes them.”

Young Man smiled at me.

“I hope so, too.”

He was finished before I was, and wished me a good day before walking away.


Caffeine Persona
January 11, 2024

The customer in front of me seemed to be having fun with the young man who was cashiering. He seemed to be having fun, too.

When it was my turn, I asked Cashier if he liked his job.

“I’ve had a lot of caffeine.”

I asked if he’d had a lot of caffeine because he didn’t get enough sleep the night before.

“I got good sleep…and I’ve had a lot of caffeine.”

I hope to checkout with Cashier again to see what he’s like without a lot of caffeine.


Smiles For Children
May 9, 2024

I smiled at a baby in a a cart that passed me. Then I smiled at the little girl in line in front of me. I said to the mother,

“I missed smiling at children when we had to wear masks for COVID.”

She agreed and said,

“We just looked angry when we tried to smile.”


Garden Center

April 27, 2023

I asked a man about multiple plants he was wheeling out to his truck. All lilacs, white and purple.

I told him about my lilacs, burgundy.

A pleasant conversation with laughter and smiles.


Seeing Equality
May 5, 2023

I arrived at the garden center shortly after it opened for the day to buy big bags of soil. I made eye contact with both of the cashiers while saying I needed help getting the bags to my car. The cashier with Asian features helped me.

We had a conversation about the wide variety of people who come into the garden center sharing an interest in growing things. We agreed it would be beneficial to acknowledge that differences don’t matter when interests is shared.


Loving Husband
May 15, 2024

In the outside area, I saw a woman pushing a cart with several flower pots for hanging. I said they would be beautiful.

Lucky Wife and her husband had been driving past a business on a highway when they saw a wooden stand with several arms for hanging flower pots.  She admired the plant stand. A few days later, they went for a close up look at the wooden stand. Loving Husband took measurements. Two days later, Lucky Wife had the wooden stand she had admired. She was buying the same plants they saw on the stand in front of the business.

“Your husband loves you!”

She agreed.


Cart Accident Benefit
May 15, 2024

Standing in line at the same outside area, the woman behind me grazed my leg with her cart. She apologized.

“I thought I missed your leg.”

I assured her it wasn’t a bad hit. I admired her annuals. Picking up one pot with a white flower, she told me it was a double impatiens that looks like a rose. She was pleased to have found one.

“They’re hard to find.”

The plant was beautiful.

“I’m glad you bumped into me, because now I know to look for double impatiens!”


Gas Stations

Frozen Car Door Solution
January 2, 2024

I drove to the gas station this morning, but couldn’t get gas. I forgot that recent freezing rain meant my gas door would be iced closed. I’d forgotten to put a spray bottle with alcohol in my car for freezing rain days. I spray the alcohol into the cracks around the door and wait a few moments. A neighbor had suggested alcohol for a frozen car door lock, and it worked with frozen car doors, too.

Going back this evening after warmer temperatures had thawed my gas door, I told the attendant about my failed gas run this morning.

Attendant nearly pulled his door handle off his car door after freezing rain. He had to crawl in through the passenger door until he could afford to fix his door handle.

I told him my alcohol in a spray bottle solution.

No more door handle replacements for him.


Cloud Or Flying Saucer?
May 11, 2024

While filling my car with gas, I saw a cloud that had a face showing surprise. I finished with the gas, stuck the nozzle in the pump, and walked around the pump to take a photograph. By then the clouds had shifted. Walking back to my car I said to the short old man with a long white beard,

“The cloud had a face.”

Old White Beard said,

“I thought you might have seen a flying saucer!”

I said,

“That would have been better!”


Grocery Stores

May 24, 2023

In a checkout line, I asked the decades younger man behind me if he plants anything. He rototills for a friend and enjoys the harvest.

I told Rototiller Man I hung an in door strawberry plant outside today.

We wished each other happy planting.


May 4,

In a self- checkout section, I asked 1 of 2 young attendants about theft. She said it’s bad.

I told her about my experience as an employee in a small Chicago specialty shop. A white man in business attire shoplifted a small statue from Africa.

We agreed that shoplifters are not always who you think they are.


One Cashier
May 11, 2023

Only one cashier was checking out customers. I asked her if the store was short-staffed. Cashier said the store had reduced staff hours. A lot of employees wanted to earn money, but couldn’t get the schedules they needed to earn enough money to pay their bills.

I felt sad for all the employees who wanted to earn money to pay their bills, but couldn’t.


Tired Cashier
May 18, 2023

Walking into the store, a clerk asked me how I was. I said I was good because I had slept well. I asked if she had slept well.

No she hadn’t, but was getting off soon and would take a nap.

I wished her a good nap. Clerk thanked me.


My Bad Parking
May 20,

I drove to a small grocery store and parked right next to the building. I parked a little too wide because the space was next to a tent with hanging plants. I saw my tires on the line, but told myself I would be quick.

When I came out a few minutes later, people were getting out of their car on the other side of the parking space I had blocked. I said I hadn’t parked very well.

“It happens.’

I said more in winter than in spring.

“You lost that excuse!”

We laughed.


Equality In Laughter
June 15, 2023

I sent a text while in the store. My iPhone changed ‘going to’ into ‘Giotto’ for some strange reason. Laughing, I approached a white female employee and a Black male employee to share the laughter.

White Female was closer, so I held my phone for her to see first. We laughed a bit while Black Male looked off to the side.

I made a point of holding my phone so Black Male could read the text himself. We also laughed a bit.

It was an easy way to demonstrate equality to the bystanders in the same aisle.


A Score For Smiles
July 1, 2023

In line at a small grocery store, I noticed a magazine cover with the face of Jackie Kennedy and a story about her secret life. Jackie Kennedy died in 1994.

The older female cashier rarely smiled at me, but I referred to the magazine cover and said it was written for people our age.

Older Female Cashier smiled AND chuckled then said,

“I noticed that. I wondered if they had a slow week.”

Got her to smile! SCORE!


A Mat Not Doing Its Job
July 15, 2023

I walked into the grocery store where the unsmiling cashier finally smiled with me over a magazine cover. She watched me walk in and walk onto a floor mat.

“You nearly tripped on that mat. It has one job to do and it has trouble doing it. All it has to do
is stay flat on the floor, but it won’t.”

Laughing, I suggested training.

Formerly Unsmiling Cashier went from not smiling with me to smiling with me, then to joking with me!



Believing The Cashier
July 13, 2023

In the checkout line, I saw fruit flavored chocolate bars. I asked the cashier if he had tried them. He said he had, the chocolate was good, and he would check me out again if I went back for it.

I did go back for the chocolate, and I did go through Cashier’s line again.

“I’m believing you!”

“Thank you!”


Hair Colors
October 20. 2023

The cashier had corkscrew hair that was brown on the top half and dark pink on the bottom half.

I asked if she colors her own hair.

“I do.”

I asked if she going to try any other colors.

“Eventually, but I’m sticking with the dark pink for now.”

I told her it looks very good.

“Thank you.”


Brotherly Fun
February 09, 2024

A cashier had stand up hair on top of his head. It was colored a combination of orange and yellow.

I asked if he ever got negative comments about his hair.

“No, they’re mostly positive. Only my brother gives me trouble.”

I wondered if trouble was what he could expect from a brother.

He agreed.


Breaking Stereotypes
February 9, 2024

The family in front of me had a cart full of groceries. The big husky father stood behind the car, feeding the tiny child in the seat. The mother stood at the front of the cart, unloading everything.

I walked up to stand between the father and mother and to tell them how impressed I was to see the woman unloading the cart while the man fed the child.

They responded positively.

The Black male cashier said that teamwork mattered more than stereotyped roles.

No one was behind me, so Black Male Cashier told me how frustrated he was with the stereotype that Black fathers are absent.

His father worked for a railroad. His mother had her own daycare business in their house.

Father came home from his railroad job to cook dinner while Mother drove the daycare children home.

Teamwork instead of stereotyped roles.


Unwelcome Visitor
February 27, 2024

The woman in front of me in line was wearing green rubber boots with white polka dots. I told her I liked the boots.

Boot Wearer puts them on once a year at maple syrup time. She shakes them out before she puts them on, just in case something crawled in over the last year.

I told her my story.

I spent a lot of time  with an elderly woman. I went to her house one winter day to take her out.

When I went for her boots, I smelled something dead in that room. I could not find any small corpse.

I put one boot on my friend’s left foot and all went well.

But Elderly Woman told me the right boot had something in it when I tried putting it on her foot. Luckily, I turned the boot upside down instead of reaching inside.

Dead mouse.


Mother’s Day Reminder
May 12, 2024
Positive Control In A Situation

The grandma-looking woman in front of me in line was all dressed up. I asked if she was dressed up for Mother’s Day or for church. She responded that it was Sunday so she was dressed up for church.


“No one in church said anything about Mother’s Day, so I stood up and wished every mother a Happy Mother’s Day.”

The wisdom of grandmas!



Scooter Fun
May 24, 2023

As I walked toward the library, I stopped to look at a scooter in the bike rack. It was a triangle with rounded corners.

I left the library at the same time as the scooter owners, a little girl with her father. I said I’d never seen that kind of scooter before.

Father showed me the long dog leash he had attached to the front of the scooter for pulling it when Daughter didn’t feel like propelling it. I noticed the ankle brace on his leg. Father had sprained it running with the scooter.

Daughter giggled as the scooter bounced off the sidewalk onto the road. I laughed with her.


Meat Market

Ending Water Retention
May 18, 2023

When I picked up my bi-weekly order of chicken thighs, a new employee asked me why I buy so many chicken thighs.

I explained that my stressful life had left me with water weight problems and water in my inner ears. Taurine in chicken thighs work with magnesium citrate from supplements and potassium from fruits and vegetables to release excess water from cells.

New Employee can now pass the information on to other customers, creating a little more happiness in the world.

I have lost water weight without dieting and my hearing has improved.


Medical Clinic

Best & Brightest
May 18, 2023

In the waiting room, I watched a news segment about a man who had installed 15 life vest kiosks along a river in Richland County, Wisconsin. A 5 year old girl not wearing a life vest had drowned in that river. Police have never pulled a body wearing a life jacket out of that section of the river.

I told the receptionist about this wonderful project. We agreed that the best and the brightest are ordinary.



Making Work Fun
Spring 2023

My neighborhood is building a low stone wall along our property line. I went out to see what the workers were doing. I said I was just curious and asked about some planks on the ground.

The man in charge came from the other side of the long hole to explain what the wood was for.

I asked them all if they enjoy their work.


One of the other workers said,

“If not for these two, it wouldn’t be any fun at all.”

I was happy to bring positive feelings between the coworkers into the open.


Fun At Work
December 15, 2023

I was at a neighbor’s house when his septic field was being replaced. I watched for a bit, then asked a worker if he considered his job fun.

“Oh, yes! I get to work outside!”

I observed that they get to dig things up.

“Oh, yeah! You can wreck a lot of things.”


Parking Lots

Fun Grandma
May 3, 2024

I saw a Grandma drive into the lot in a PC Cruiser convertible. A small boy sat in the back seet. I approached the car. I told PC Convertible Cruiser Grandson he was lucky to be riding around in a convertible with his Grandma and told him he had a fun Grandma.

Grandma said,

“He’s a fun grandson.”

She also described her the PC Cruiser convertible as her “fun car.”

As we walked toward the store I told PC Cruiser Grandma I was happy that other people could see a Grandma driving a fun car.


Post Office

March 26, 2024

The postal worker had tattoos on the front of her neck, a flower design like a necklace chain.

I asked what position she had to hold her head in to get that tattoo.

She had to think about it because she got that tattoo years ago. She rested her head far back.

I asked how long she had to hold that position.

As long as she could stand it.

I told her I liked her tattoo and she thanked me. We wished each other a good day.


Thrift Stores

Cleaning Out The Store
May 25, 2023

I was leaving a thrift store as an old man rode up on his bicycle. He asked me if I cleaned out the store.

I listed the 5 items I bought.

“You did clean out the store!”

I laughingly apologized and went on my way.


Liking Only Some Attention
May 25, 2023

I noticed that a mother had pink and purple tints in her one-shaved-side hairstyle. Her young daughter’s shirt had pink and purple on the front.

I said this was the best mother / daughter coordination I’d ever seen. Pink & Purple Hair Mother told her daughter to thank me.

I happened to stand behind them in the checkout line. I pointed out the color coordination to the cashier. I could tell that the Pink & Purple Hair Mother was not happy about what I said.

Despite her attention-attracting hairstyle, Pink & Purple Hair Mother did not like the attention I was drawing to her.


Visiting The Cat
June 8, 2023

I visited a thrift store, but found nothing.

A man and woman were walking into the store as I was leaving. I said I hadn’t found anything and wished them luck.

The man laughed and said,

“I’m just here to visit the cat!”


30+ Year Old Stereotype
July 13, 2023

I noticed a woman who looked familiar, so I talked to her. She was the identical twin of a woman who had worked at the local university. We talked about the university.

During our conversation, Twin suddenly said the name of a woman who had worked at the university more than 30 years ago. She called the woman a prostitute and claimed that the woman had slept with the chancellor to get her unique position.

I was speechless from shock.

Another student and I had done an independent study project in grad school with Stereotyped Woman. That student friend had been employed at the university while taking classes.

After getting home, I contacted Grad School Friend, wanting to know how Stereotyped Woman had been hired so I knew what to say if her name ever came up again. Twin told me about a friend who spread ugly gossip everywhere she went.

Grad School Friend explained that people in unique positions are recruited by search committees. It just so happened that Grad School Friend was on the search committee for that unique position.

Plus, I found information online saying that Chancellor had recruited the woman to take the university position. He apparently gave Stereotyped Woman’s name to the committee so they could offer her the position. At the time, Chancellor and Stereotyped Woman lived in different parts of the country.

Now I know what to say in the event I ever hear similar ugly gossip about Stereotyped Woman again.

I’ve also decided what to do if anyone else ever speaks an ugly gossip stereotype to me.

“I’ll check up on that and see what I discover for myself.”

Use this story to protect yourself.

You can never tell who someone knows just by looking at them.

Twin used ugly gossip about someone I had worked with because she assumed I did not know the victim of her ugly gossip trashing.

Trash anyone and you risk trashing them to someone who knows them.

Is the trashing worth the risk to you?


Playing During Checkout
October 27, 2023

The man in front of me paid with cash. The cashier checked to make sure the bill wasn’t counterfeit. I asked if she’d ever gotten a counterfeit bill.


Male Customer joked that Cashier didn’t realize how we were working together and I was distracting her while he committed a crime. We now knew that this hadn’t happened to her before, so it would be easy to put one over on her.

As Male Customer walked away, I told him it was fun playing with him.


From Spit To Cheers
November 16, 2023

I was in a checkout line behind an elderly gentleman holding a Mickey Mouse jigsaw puzzle. We both liked the bright colors.

He buys jigsaw puzzles for his granddaughter with autism. Sometimes, Granddaughter looks at a puzzle and shakes her head. He returns that one and buys a different one.

He also buys jigsaw puzzles for veterans, who often don’t like his choices either.

I asked Elderly Gentleman if he was a veteran. He was drafted into the Army during the Viet Nam War.

Elderly Gentleman took an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. last month. When the veterans landed after their long day, 1000 people were waiting at the local airport to cheer for them. He said it was much better than when Americans spit on drafted soldiers returning in 1967.

I told Elderly Gentleman that I saw a local news report about their return and was happy to see the cheers.

Honor Flight Network


Colorful Word
April 18, 2024

I found capri pants that were a cross between blue and purple. I was looking for purple capri pants, but liked this color and knew it would look good with my green and purple blouse.

When I checked out I asked the cashier what color she thought the pants were.


I said I wouldn’t have thought of that word. I asked Cashier if she’s an artist.

“I try to be.”

Cashier is more of an artist than I am.


© Paula M. Kramer, 2023 to the present
All rights reserved.
Updated May 15, 2024




Chit chatting with a wide variety of people in a wide variety of situations cultivates the confidence to create connections with specific people in specific situations for career conversations. ~~~~~~~~~~ Bookstore As I entered the bookstore, a man was talking to the owner. I heard him name a woman I know. He then talked about her ethnic background. I announced, “I’m her neighbor.” I said the name of the village we live in.