Saturday, November 20, 2010
" I didn't get a call " says a voice very close to my face.
(I didn't get an "excuse me,miss", or a "hello,can you help me" or even a throat clear.")
She is standing in front of me. I am sitting at a desk,fabric swatches in front of me,typing at a keyboard,my latest customer looking over my shoulder as I research pricing for him.
All of this is lost on her. (Note;if someone looks busy,they probably are busy)
"Excuse me,you didn't get a call?". I say,the multi tasking beginning.I apologize to the customer I am helping. The MOP curmudgeon STILL does not budge,her body language says, "It's my turn,even if it's not."
"Yes, I was in a month ago, I was put on a list to be called when the Mother of Pearl Entertaining Collection comes back into stock."
There is no list!!!
I feel sorry for the people she is entertaining. She has yet to prove capable of being entertaining to me. I wonder how bad the situation would become if I told her that I wrote her name and number on a slip of scrap paper and put it in the zippered book that is my "office" and promptly,passive aggressively forgot about it.
(Note: The Golden Ticket in retail service is this,no matter how much you have been wronged,under served,ignored,and misused as a customer,if you are kind and nice and patient,you will get whatever you want from us. The moment you sound condescending,it's on,or over.)
Yes,it's her! It's the cheese knife curmudgeon. I almost didn't recognize her without her crazy hair. This time it's blown out,and I am caught off guard! In my experience ,crazy people usually have unmanageable,crazy hair that matches their personality.
"I don't think it's in yet",I say,hoping it isn't cause that's really what she's here for,her opportunity to get her insane self centered frustrations out on me,the woman who victimized her by NOT CALLING WHEN I SAID I WOULD!! That is almost more important than getting the friggin' tray. It's never about the Mother of Pearl. It's about letting me know how victimized you have been,you,the GREAT SHOPPER,by me,the scum idiot retail name tag.
I ask my coworkers and a manager if the stuff has come in,they tell us it has not."Sorry, it's not in yet."
"I'm on the list to be called when it arrives.Can you tell me how many people are on the list ahead of me?"
There is no LIST!!!! There is no list of other people who are waiting to get your $38.00 mass produced tray,made in the Phillipines by the thousands!!!!!!!! You are not living in reality!!!!! And who are you entertaining?? You're poor friends? Those spineless people who are afraid of you when you become even more belligerent when you're drunk and probably yell at them not to get crumbs all over the place?!?!
"You're the only one."
"Great. When will I get a call,you said you would call."
"I'll call you as soon as they arrive,even if I'm asleep,even if it's my day off, "everything I do, I do it for you.AHHHHH,yeah.There's no tray,like your tray,and no other,can have your tray..."
God what I wouldn't give to break out in Ryan Adams song,sarcastically..!
"I think I really did get the prettiest of all the cheese knives and I am very happy with their performance. They are just working out beautifully." she mentions. (oh myyyyyyyy god. I don't care I can't care I can't I just dont pleeeeeaasse stop please stop .)
"How many are you getting,because when mine comes in I would like to compare several until I find the perfect one. " I know I remember it well and I can hardly wait to stand silently in front of you as you meticulously,annoyingly,sadly pore over mother natures' handiwork to find just which combination of 1/2" x 1/2" squares of shell please you the most.Ughhhhhhh.
"I don't know."
"How could you not know?"
God,what does it matter????!!!!!! I just don't know,meanwhile,this nice stylish,normal interesting gentleman is waiting for me to finish waiting on him because YOU interrupted us to ask your question,the most important question in the store at any given moment,right?????
If you were my Mother of Pearl tray I would melt limburger and bleu cheese on you in a 500 degree oven until it burnt and then I would put you out on the fire escape.Forever
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
It is a slow Monday morning and these two guys have the store to themselves. I listen in as they explore.
"Check it out,that's MY bed,son." he says about a beautifully made up rosewood deco bed in a queen size.It retails for $2600.00.
"Oh, MAN!! I'm buyin' ALL this shit ,YO!" his friend replies.
They plop down on the bed,see me looking,and jump back up,trying their best to refresh the bedding.
They keep walking to to the back of the store now,slowly,like two kids seeing snow for the first time,mouths agape,savoring the unexpected moments of retail beauty.
Then,they see the flat screen.
"Nigga,I want Samsung upstairs AND downstairs!"
"Yeah,son,and Ima buy all this shit and go grocery shoppin' in my pajamas!" his friend replies.
They wander over to the zebra hide rug,made from cowhide,dyed white and screen printed with a black zebra hide pattern.
"Nigga,you know what this is? That's a white tiger yo! That is fly!"
"Ima walk all ovah this shit!"
They make the final turn to complete their browse. They come upon our luxurious faux fur throws. They begin to caress and pet them.
"I'm buyin' all dis shit,son! Feel dis shit! This is Werewolf shit is what dis is!!"
I think I could love him. Yes,we come from two different worlds,but I clearly have what he wants, Samsung and fluffy beds and Zebra rugs.
He is a high level consumer of trendy consumer goods, a young man with an astute knowledge of style trends.He probably paid $300 for those kicks. He is turned out much more nicely than I am today,that is certain. He is the kind of man that doesn't leave the house unless his shit is right. I cannot say the same about myself. I imagine us getting Pinkberry together. Then, he let's me see what he has on his Ipod and then I show him my Ipod. And he laughs at Dolly Parton and he laughs at Chicago. And I know it is over before it even began.
They drift out the store and I know,I just know,that the rest of this day is all downhill .
Friday, November 12, 2010
"It's a rug."
(She is gripping a rolled up rug with one hand. It is small,about 3'x5' and made of canvas that is printed with an Ikat design in shades of tans and pea green.
"Well I KNOW it's a rug.But what IS it?"
(This exchange gets the attention of a few other shoppers and several store managers. Because it is ridiculous.
She is wearing a dusty purple felt cloche,a gorgeous camel hair coat and the ring on her finger is so large that I am getting a headache when I look at it.She's in her 70's.)
In other words,she's got the money.The money I need.
"It's a small printed canvas rug." I say,as I unroll it and display it for her.
" Yes, I can see that.Well,what size is it?"
"This is a 3'x5'."
"I see. And how big is that?"
(Um, 3'x5' is three by five.Every time.We get that question a lot,"How big is the 6'x9' rug"?)
I emphasize the lengths of it for her with my arms. She understands.
"Well, I don't know if this is right for me after all."
I know exactly what you mean lady.
Monday, November 8, 2010
"Do you have a low blue and white bowl to put a plant in?"
"No, the only blue and white porcelain we carry are the ginger jars."
"Yes, I know about them, I didn't ask you about them."
"No, I dont have anything blue and white and low."
"What happened is ,I have this plant,I had it in a blue and white container that was knocked over, courtesy of the four legged one and i cant put it back on the windowsill, that would just be asking for it, so what I need is a low bowl in chinese blue and white."
"I'm sorry, I don't have anything like that. "
"Pottery Barn sent me over, they thought you might have what I want."
"Where else would you suggest?"
(I would suggest that you are crazy,that we call you crazy cat lady and I would suggest that you leave.)
"Um, try Pearl River Mart downtown on Grand street,they have alot of blue and white Chinese ceramics."
"Oh thats CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is a bunch of CRAP!!!!!!!! Why would anyone go down there? "
(ooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh goooooooooooooooooooooddddddddddddddd whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhyyyyare you so crraaazzzzzyyyyy when we are closing in 5 minutes!!!!?????)" We don't have it".
"I mean that is utterly ridiculous that you would suggest that anyone go all the way to Grand street when Madison avenue is right here. This is ridiculous. I don't know who you think you're dealing with."
"You're right,this is ridiculous. I don't have what you want. I'm sorry."
And with that delightful retail exchange,crazy cat lady (as we have dubbed her because she has brought her cat INTO the store with her to shop-hence cat. And because she is known in other stores as crazy cat lady and because she is the most combative, cursing belligerent wonder I have ever laid eyes on,hence- CRAZY), all 4'10" of her, shuffled/stormed out of the store,leaving behind a mist of bitterness and the odor of someone unable to be pleasant under very pleasant circumstances.)
God help me.