Saturday, February 19, 2005

Like Mace, but Without the Damage

I’m not a shopper. I go only when I must, like when I run out of moisturizer. Last weekend I went to purchase underwear, and as planned, I finished in less than fifteen minutes after arriving at the mall. This is where I’m embarrassed to admit that I did not go straight home. I wandered. I walked around the mall at ten in the morning, when the only other customers are old ladies with little handbags, and I, ahem, shopped.

One of the things that annoy me when I go shopping is the number of sycophant employees I have to deal with, smile at, and touch. Yes, touch. I can’t count the number of times I have been grabbed (albeit gently) by employees from the Body Shop, Origins, and those carts in the aisles. They would take my hand, squeeze the “latest thing in the cosmetic industry”, and start rubbing it into my skin, all the while standing a little too close for comfort. Being touched by strangers? Not my thing.

Once, when I was searching for a present at Origins, the makers of the Ginger Soufflé, I was somehow talked into trying a salt scrub. How does one try a salt scrub inside the Bay? The Origins girl took me to a large, modern sink two feet away and immediately started stroking my arm. I immediately felt uncomfortable. After she rinsed and dried my arm, she continued to massage it. I noticed her perfectly manicured nails. It would have been impolite to pull away, so I didn’t. She almost, almost talked me into buying a forty-dollar shower gel. Some of you, after reading this, will probably rush to Origins for some “inappropriate physical contact”. Have fun.

Another time, I was at Lush, the cosmetic store that looks like a grocery store and smells like horse manure. I had heard about a certain conditioner, so I went to check it out, because I’m a sucker for Things That Smell Good. A girl my age rushed to my side almost instantly, and started talking non-stop about how great the conditioner is, how it contains strawberry, and why I must buy it. I can tolerate people as long as they’re not touching me. She lifted the bottle to my nose and told me to smell it. I couldn’t smell anything in that place. All of your senses die when you walk in. So I told her that, and she laughed, even though I wasn’t joking, and handed me a jar of coffee beans. It calms your senses and neutralizes all the smells, she told me. It did, but as soon as I pulled the jar away and went to smell the conditioner, my senses were once again destroyed. I still can’t smell anything, I told her, but I’ll take your word for it!

Years of shopping and many containers of moisturizers later, I have discovered the single most effective way to defend yourself against store employees: cell phones. As soon as you enter a store, call someone, anyone, and pretend to be having an important conversation as you try moisturizers at your convenience. What else are you supposed to do with your 200 minutes, call your mother?* Most employees won’t talk to you if you’re on your cell phone. You can throw your phone at the ones that do. This might not prevent the counter ladies at the Bay from spraying nauseating perfume in your direction, but at least they won’t talk to you. If you’re fast and wear protective gear made by NASA, you might even avoid the perfume.

I have tried it, and it works every time.

*Yes, you should use the 200 minutes to call your mother, you heartless jerk.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?