I’m a people person. Really. I love people. I make eye contact, I touch your arm (or something) while I chat amiably, I flirt shamelessly, I talk directly to children— not over them—and I freely give out my cell number. I don’t care what color your hair is, what you’ve had pierced or tattooed, how much you weigh, or which gender makes you all tingly. I’ll laugh at your jokes and try to make you laugh in return.
That said, people p*ss me off sometimes. The last few days I have dealt with a parade of ass clowns in monkey suits, and I’ve encountered so many d*ckheads I should be allowed to hand out little condom-shaped hats.*
Item: In an attempt to alleviate my admittedly p*ssy mood, I went shopping for a new purse. Don’t judge me; I’m a girl. Anyway, I found myself holding a fabulous, bright blue bag at a store which shall remain nameless, but whose initials are JCP. This bag was so cute I could die. The only problem with this fabulous, bright blue bag of wonder was that it’s smaller than what I usually carry.
Behind the accessories counter, the sales clerk was moving merchandise like a champ. He oohed and aahed at every watch strapped onto a wrist, congratulated every redneck on having the good taste to choose such an obviously fine piece of jewelry for the wife or the girlfriend, and pushed credit applications like a weed dealer at a Dave Matthews concert. I just knew he could help me make my decision.
I waited until the sales clerk was free, then approached with my own purse in one hand and the bright blue object of my desire in the other. “Excuse me,” I began, “I have a dilemma.”
“Yes, of course,” said Mr. Sales Clerk. ” How can I help you today?” His cheerfulness was a good sign, so I pushed on.
“Well, I just love this bag, but it’s smaller than what I usually carry. So I was wondering if I could—”
“Oh no,” he interrupted. “I can’t let you put your things into that bag. Someone else might want to buy that bag.” And he pressed one hand to his chest as if to quiet his suddenly palpitating heart. So abrupt and final was his response, that I was caught just staring for a moment.
“You must understand,” Mr. Sales Clerk said by way of clarification, “I simply cannot let you put your things into that bag and then possibly sell it to someone else.” He spat out the syllables to rid his mouth of their nastiness. He also spoke loudly enough to attract the attention of another customer—a man wearing a Free Moustache Rides t-shirt and a Pittsburgh Steelers cap—and pronounced the words your things in such a way as to suggest that my things were a bit of roadkill, a used adult diaper, and a cracked vial of smallpox.
Now I’ll admit I was without makeup and dressed simply in a plain top and a pair of denim shorts. But I was clean, wearing about $8,000 worth of diamond rings on my left hand, and had come into the store carrying my own handbag of the same name brand I was attempting to buy. In my opinion, I presented myself as a shopper equal to the standards of such an elite establishment as JCP. Perhaps I would have looked less suspicious if I’d worn a Milwaukee Vibrator t-shirt and a cowboy hat.
In his defense, Mr. Sales Clerk offered to hold the fabulous blue bag open so I could visually inspect the inside. He directed me toward other blue bags that were bigger, and possibly even more fabulous. And I played along, although we both knew the sale had gone into the crapper the moment I first said, “Excuse me.” We dragged out the ruse just long enough to suggest to each other that there were no hard feelings in the matter, but as I examined the alternate handbags my mind rattled off a list of points I wished to make:
~ He could have offered to line the blue bag with tissue paper or a plastic shopping bag to protect it from whatever creepy-crawlies might be transferred there by my wallet, checkbook, makeup case, and cell phone. I would gladly have accepted such a condition.
~ Although my things were obviously too gross to place inside a purse I did not yet own, I could leave the accessories counter and go to the shoe department where I could place my feet inside shoes I had no intention of buying. I could go to the dressing room and try on all manner of clothing—I could even strap my sweaty breasts into a bra, then return it to the rack for some other customer to choose. And what guarantee did I have that the bra had never been on another woman’s body before mine? Was the purchase of a handbag somehow more personal and intimate than shoes or lingerie?
~ Most obviously, I could simply buy the handbag, take it home and try to fit my things into it, and bring it back to JCP, where the clerks at the returns desk would gladly process my return and place the bag back on the shelf. Hell, if I wanted to, I could bring the bag home, use it to transport egg shells to the compost heap, and then return it to the store. Not that I would ever do that.
But I did not say any of those things, and I hold no grudge against Mr. Sales Clerk, who was just doing his job as he saw it at the moment. Since I’m currently working in retail, I’m familiar with patrons who view themselves as above me because I stand behind—not in front of—the counter. I simply smile at those customers and think to myself, “Go ahead and act superior, Chuckles, but I could kill you with my brain.” And I feel no guilt in telling my side of the story here, as I just know the minute I was out of hearing distance, Mr. Sales Clerk turned to his nearest coworker and described his encounter with some stupid white trash woman who thought she should be able to try out the size of a handbag before she took it home. The nerve! The scandal!
Speaking of nervy, scandalous customers, would now be a good time to mention the customer who brought his (pet, not service) dog into the store where I work—a dog which then relieved itself of what I can only imagine was a large breakfast of Mexican food, right there in the middle of aisle 17?
So I hate people today. And I hate myself the most, because I’ve decided I’m going back later for that fabulous, bright blue handbag. Don’t judge me.
*This was my facebook status last night, and it inspired today’s post. Clearly, my mood has been a bit dicey.