I live in the Midwest where the majority of people observe the Catholic or Christian religion. When it's time for a Catholic/Christian holiday, the stores and businesses go all out to make sure their employees use the right terminology ("Merry Christmas" NOT "Happy Holidays") and, in some fashion or other, Jesus is on display visually. I have grown up here and am very used to this - I really don't get too fussed by other people's religious preferences and tune most of it out. Live and let live.
Today I go to my local Hy-Vee store to do my grocery shopping. Since it's almost Easter, there are big Jesus bunnies staring around every corner at me. Again, it's all good. Chocolate Jesus bunnies are delicious and extremely cheap after the holiday (score +10 for the unbelievers), but I'm barely registering it in my consciousness anyway. I'm entirely focused on buying groceries with my little bit of money.
When I get to the cashier, I start loading all my groceries on the belt and making the expected small talk, it went like this:
Me (between 25-30 years old): Hello
Her (between 25-30 years old): Hello, how are you?
Me: Well, thank you. How are you?
Her: Great! Are you getting ready for Easter?
Me: Oh no, I don't observe that holiday. I'm sure you're pretty busy with people who do big dinners or whatever though.
** She stopped pushing my groceries through and just stared at me with a shocked look on her face. **
Her: I didn't realize that there was anyone around her that didn't celebrate Easter. Are you Jewish? You sure don't look Jewish.
Me (wondering what the hell that even means): No. I am not Jewish.
Her: What religion do you believe in?
Me (uncomfortable): I am not a religious person.
Her: (Still not pushing my groceries through): What does your family believe in?
Me (really, really uncomfortable): I don't mean to be rude, but I am really uncomfortable having this discussion right now.
** She looked at me funny, stopped talking for a bit and went back to pushing my groceries through **
Her: That will be $xx.xx. Would you like paper or plastic?
Me: I have my own bags. I can bag them myself.
Her (under her breath, but still loud enough for me to hear): Figures.
** I start bagging items, there is no one else in line so it's just the two of us. She starts fiddling around with the drawer under the cash register, pulls out a pamphlet and hands it to me. On the front of the pamphlet, there is a picture of the semi-attractive minister guy standing in front of what looks to be a renovated Walmart and giving the camera his sexiest blue steel look **
Her: I want you to take this and read through it. I go to a great church and would love to see you there! We have really inspirational services and there are always fun events going on!
Me: Thank you, I appreciate the thought, but I really am not interested. I've been to churches before and choose to believe otherwise. Thanks again though.
** I'm one of those people that gets weirdly polite when uncomfortable. I try to hand the pamphlet back so I can hurry up and gtfo out of there **
Her (ignoring me handing the pamphlet back): I think you'll like my church! It's really fun. It's not like other churches, it's in a big, beautiful building and the minister is a younger man that speaks to the issues that face people our age.
Me (almost done): I'm sure your church is lovely, but I am really not interested.
** Someone finally gets in line behind me, so the cashier starts pushing their groceries through while I finish up. I grab my bags, leave the pamphlet on the bagging station and walk to my car. I start loading my groceries into the trunk when I hear...
Her: Hey! Miss! You forgot this.
Me (way beyond uncomfortable and shocked she followed me all the way to my car): I don't need that. I am not interested. Please stop talking to me about religion. It's beyond inappropriate.
Her: I am looking out for you! Please read this when you get a chance! Easter is coming up and it's the perfect time for a visit!
Her: I hope to see you there!
I stop talking completely and continue to put my stuff in the car. She stands there for a moment, then she tosses the pamphlet into my trunk and turns to walk back into the store.
I don't know what to make of any of this. I would call the store to complain, but there's a good chance she's probably encouraged to do this by the people employing her. Either way, I'm pretty pissed off at the whole exchange and am using the pamphlet to teach my children what cult leaders look like in real life. Seriously, I want to scan this pamphlet so people can see what I'm talking about - the minister is making f-me eyes at the camera like a Kardashian. You can practically see the greed dripping off this guy's perfectly gelled hair. Again, I have no problem with religion or religious people, but this is way over the top. I am furious right now.