Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Hard Sell (& I Ain't Buyin')

So, remember how I said Wal-Mart's the Debil? Well, at the moment, that other big (well, used to be big and now has been in and back out of bankruptcy) mart is on my list. I went in last week and as I stepped through the second set of sliding doors, I spotted the dreaded Olan Mills hard sell table set up right in the middle of the path to the rest of the store.

They do this every once in a while--set up a table with all these sample portraits of other people's children and man it with some barely out of adolescence girl who can rattle off whatever special they're pushing all in one breath. I do whatever I can to avoid it--because it's a waste of my time and theirs and I also bitterly resent the feeling that listening to the spiel is a requirement for the privilege of buying socks at buy one, get one 50% off.

This time was no different, with Son-Three in tow, I executed my patented duck left and across the line of registers and up past the one-hour photo counter and on into the safety of the store (where, for goodness sake, I just wanted to buy a printer cartridge, some cheapo Christmas cards and a little bunny food). So Son-Three and I are perusing the Christmas card selections on the $2.99 a box rack when we're joined by Daughter-Only (who'd been at the store next-door) and, right behind her is the Olan Mills Chick, who immediately begins giving me the breathless spiel.

At the end of each of her sentences (which I could spot only by context, because as I said, she never paused for breath), I said, "Okay." In what I hoped was a civilized but clear-cut signal that I wasn't interested. She persisted through a paragraph of information as though I had never spoken and then walked off.

Daughter-Only actually stood there with her mouth hanging open. "Mom, you kept saying 'okay' like you were wanting her to stop talking and she totally ignored you, like completely, just ignored you. Wow." (Why the person who ignores me like no one has ever ignored me before would be so amazed that someone else would ignore me is completely beyond me.)

I have never seen anything like it in my life. I would've thought she was wandering around giving her spiel to everyone, but, no, she didn't stop anyone else. That little twit had seen me execute my patented move and come after me.

Listen, I work retail. I know it's tough out there. Okay? I get that she's trying to earn commissions and how much it must annoy her that people don't even give her the time of day. But guess what? It's not my job to humor her. It's my job to go to the discount store and buy socks, and printer cartridges and electronics made in China with a lead content long ago deemed unsafe in the US*. So here's what I'm gonna do instead of taking her up on her breathless offer of overpriced portraits...I'm gonna write on my blog what an idiot she was and how I will never, ever, no matter what use Olan Mills in this town again.

*It's not only electronics of course. Have you checked out your Christmas lights--do they have that fancy sticker that warns you to wash your hands after touching them? Isn't that nice of them? You know, if we're going to allow unsafe lead into our country and into our homes, at least we're gonna put a teeny, tiny sticker on it with a barely legible warning. That oughta keep people safe, huh?

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