Super Serious Public Service Announcement

July 2, 2014

caroline donofrio

So, I’m short. Perhaps you are, too.

I’m five feet tall, which is the kind of short where if you ran into me while I was wearing flats you might be surprised at how I barely clear your collarbone. I am the kind of short where people feel compelled to use words like “munchkin” and “wee” and “yittle,” which isn’t even a real word. (These are generally not people I hang around with.)

There are some upsides to a diminutive stature, like the ability to spot small things on the ground (“I found your earring!”)

Mostly, however, there are downsides, like having to hem all clothes by at least a foot. When I walk past a rack of maxi dresses, it’s like a scene from Jack and the Beanstalk. This is funny, but it is not fun.

Public transit is an issue. I can’t reach the overhead poles on the subway, and spend most of my ride in the company of elbows and armpits.

why are the pans so high

But the most annoying thing — more annoying than all other things — is trying to reach the aluminum pans in the supermarket.

In every supermarket I’ve ever been to, in any city, in any place EVER, the aluminum pans dwell 87 feet off the ground, usually above the meat or frozen goods or in some other section that has absolutely nothing to do with baking.

Why? Can someone explain this to me?

caroline donofrio 2

Normally, when I need to reach something on a high shelf, I’ll just book it to the utility aisle, grab a long serving spoon or a Swiffer wand or whatever long thing I can get my hands on, and then use it to knock the original item down.

caroline cala donofrio

This works quite well with paper products, which land softly, and not so well with, say, pancake mix, which lands in a glorious, floury cloud (been there, done that).

But the pans! The pans sit nestled in their own little pan-shelf, unable to be knocked down with anything.

caroline cala

For these times, I’ve developed a look I call “sad eyes glancing skyward.”

Here is how it’s done:

  • Stand directly beneath the loftily-placed item.
  • Stare upward.
  • Appear fifty percent upset. You want to look slightly defeated, but not totally pathetic.
  • Glance around for larger, sympathetic-looking people.
  • When you spot one, wave and point. If they have a soul, they will help you.

Retailers, I beg of you: STOP PUTTING PANS OUT OF MY REACH. Short people bake cakes and roast turkeys, just like everyone else. Stop making our domestic endeavors so difficult.

If you are of average or above-average height, I implore you: Be on the lookout for sad eyes glancing skyward. We need your help. We need your love. But most of all, we need your height.

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  • Emilia,

    Well, this is pure genius!

  • Christine,

    Not sure if you’re still thinking of cutting your hair, maybe you’ve already done so, but the second picture you posted gives an adorable and convincing preview of a shortish bob.

  • i just need to say… I FEEL YOU! The day I don’t wear my heels, my colleagues say they can’t see me past the cubicle partitions! Found your blog through an article on mending heartbreak and hope this time next year (or even sooner), you will find a special person to spend it with. Good luck! Merry Christmas! 🙂

  • Feel ya girl. I’m 5’2 and shopping for maxi dresses is just depressing.

  • Monica B.,

    I’ve never thought about my height until this year and your post is another reminder. Much of the time I’ve felt I was standing 5’3″ tall or TALLER! And yet it’s confirmed I measure up to 5’2″ (like one inch is a huge difference, right?). Im always looking for the utililty tool or grab-it arm. But I don’t feel short, why? Must be the 1″ heel I wear that creates the illusion. Honestly, the maxidress? I’m always concerned about it getting stuck in an escalator or door.

  • Aluminum pans are available within (your) arm’s length at the wild and wonderful ABC 99 Cents Plus on the corner of Graham and Metropolitan in Williamsburg. Enter and take a left, front of the store.