I had to stop by Tractor Supply Company (as their commercials say, they sell most everything except tractors) for an assortment of parts on the way home from work the other day. I wandered as I wondered where the parts I needed were and felt as if the folks there were all staring at me. Even the guy from TSC helped me locate parts that would work looked at me funny. As did the woman at checkout and the people in line.
As I walked out to my car, I caught a glimpse of myself in the store glass. Ah – I’ll bet I was the only man in TSC wearing wing-tip shoes, a glen plaid suit, and lavender shirt with matching tie. That explained the stares.
And it reminded me of the day I went to buy my tractor. As with the visit to TSC, I did that on my way home from work. My tractor guy had called and said he had a used John Deere and if I wanted a really good used one, then I’d better move fast to get it. So I stopped by. He gave me a walk-around, showed me the controls, gave me the keys and invited me to take a test spin around the lot. As I drove by him, I heard him singing the “Green Acres” song. Sure enough, I was driving the tractor replete with suit and tie. I did threaten to not buy the tractor if he didn’t knock it off.
Both incidents did give me a sense of uneasiness. I was obviously the guy who was not in his element and how I dressed showed it.
It also made me think about how I judge others based on how they’re dressed. I’m as judgmental I fear as the TSC and John Deere crowd. And I need to remember that the next time I encounter someone at the grocery, art museum, or worship that may be dressed differently than me. I need to rejoice, instead, in the need/desire that brought them there and pray that their time will be blessed.
So the next time you’re at the implement dealer and see some lost looking guy in a suit and tie* trying to find the right couplings for a front loader’s hydraulic lines, be nice. Just walk over and ask, “Is there anything I can help you with Brent?”
*Truth be told, I have that same look when I'm wearing my Carharts and old John Deere cap!