Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Nightmares Part II: New People I Can't Stand

Man Searching For Cell Phone Service In Macy’s

It’s obvious that this man does not want to be in a mall. He’d much rather be at home on the couch, watching football. He does not want to be standing in the ladies’ accessories department at Macy’s with his wife and two daughters.

So instead, he whips out his cell phone.

Here’s what I hear:

“Hello? Hey – it’s me…What? No, wait…Is that better? What’s goin’ on? How about now? Yeah, I can’t…What’s the spread?”

He’s oblivious to everyone around him – including Yours Truly.

I am trying to get around him by guessing in which direction he's going to move. I step left he moves left, I maneuver right, he sways right.

We appear to be doing a loose interpretation of the tango between the Michael Kors handbags and Clarins counter.

When it seems there will be no break in our endless dancing, I charge forward, triumphantly catching him in the groin with the corner of my shopping bag.

I turn and smile sweetly at him. "Oh, I'm SO VERY sorry."

Chatty Intimate Apparel Saleswomen

My mother wants a new bathrobe for Christmas. I make it my mission to pick out a robe that she won’t return (which is difficult because most of the time when you buy something for my mother you are just setting yourself up for failure) and try on every robe in the store.

When I finally pick out a robe I am suffering terribly from static cling, shocking myself with everything that I touch along the way.

I put my robe on the counter (zzzt! shock) and take out my wallet (zzzt! shock).

IA Lady 1: “What a nice robe.”

Me: “It’s for my mom, I hope she likes it.”

IA Lady 2: “Moms can be the hardest people to buy for.”

IA Lady 1: “Tell me about it. A few years ago my family all pitched in and bought my mother new appliances.”

Me: “What a great gift!”

I reach in my bag for my coupon (zzzt! shock) and hand it over.

IA Lady 1: “Yeah, the only thing we didn’t get her then was a dishwasher. Can you believe she had never had one?”

Me: “Does she have one now?”

IA Lady 1: “She’s dead.”

Um, wow. So THIS is what these sneakers taste like.

Clueless Salesguy In Men’s Designer Collections

I used to work in retail. I worked for a big department store called Filene’s, that was eventually bought out by a big company called Macy’s.

One of my responsibilities was writing the exclusions on the coupons, and ensuring that the right exclusions were on the right coupon, on the right day for the right percentage. Horrendously tedious work, but I loved it. **

I still take the role of coupon guru very seriously, and they are usually the first thing I read when I get any sort of coupon on the mail. I never want to be standing somewhere trying to use a coupon when right there in black and white it says I can’t use it on the grammy panties I'm planning to buy.

Men’s Collections are usually always excluded from the coupons. It has something to do with the vendor, and designer stuff being sold at certain prices, and having to stick to a rigid discount schedule, blah, blah, blah.

About 4 times a year, however, there are special coupons that are valid on Designer Collections. This was one of the times, so I marched up to the register with some Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein duds for my dad for Christmas.

It seemed my salesguy was less-than-thrilled to be working that night. Which is why I think he gave me attitude.

I put my stuff on the counter (sans warm, holiday greeting from him) and as I reach into my bag for my coupon he sighs. Loudly.

Salesguy: “Your coupon isn’t valid on this designer stuff.”

Oh, really?

That’s funny, I haven’t even taken my coupon out of my bag yet.

Me: “I think this one is.” Fake it’s-the-holidays-and-I-know-my-shit smile plastered to my face.

To his credit, there is more than one coupon valid this particular weekend. There’s the standard coupon (with Men’s Designer Collections excluded) and the super-special coupon (valid on all of the stuff I have on the counter!), which I have.

Salesguy: “I don’t think so. Not on this stuff.”

Okay. Here’s the thing: I understand how you could THINK that the coupon I have isn’t going to work, however, I have not even retrieved my coupon from my bag yet. You haven’t even read it. You haven’t even seen that it’s the super-special one that includes almost everything.

Me (forcing a losing-my-patience laugh): “Why don’t we just try it.”

Whammo! I place my coupon on the counter, in all its hardly-any-exclusions-at-all glory.

He ignores me and starts ringing in my stuff.

Okay. Deep breath. He can still scan the coupon afterwards and the register will work its magic.

I pick up my coupon and shove it at him, between his face and the register screen.

Me: “Don’t forget this!” I sing cheerily.

FINALLY he looks up. At my coupon. He raises his eyebrows. Yes, it’s THAT coupon, asshole.

Ring. It. In.

**Loser Alert: I used to find extreme satisfaction in proofing a direct mail catalogue and discovering that furniture should actually be excluded from the coupon (not merely called out at a 10% discount) because that particular coupon is valid during the Lowest Prices Of The Season Furniture event.**

**Just When You Thought I Couldn’t Be Any More Of A Loser Alert: Right before I left the company I was awarded the President’s Award For Outstanding Service. This was a big deal because very rarely did anyone in advertising get this award (usually only people in the buying offices received it). Not only that, but the fact that a creative got the award was unheard of. So when the President was talking a little bit about me and what I do, I think he said, “Her big job is making sure all of our coupons are correct and the exclusions are right.” (The fact that I ran the entire copy department, got 60 direct mail catalogs out every year and made sure our ads ran in 80 newspapers across eastern US was a close second, I’m sure)**

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