Thursday, April 06, 2006

The selection was crappy, anyway

Today I walked down Guadalupe street to search for a birthday present for a friend. I decided that while I was out, that I was going to go browse for durable dishes at a local store which shall remain nameless, but which will be known by it's location to my Austinite friends. I have to admit that I was looking something other than bridal, wearing my favorite halloween t-shirt, some thrift store jeans, and sweater that I pulled out of the free box when I was in college. I wasn't even wearing lipstick. Okay, okay, it was my usual totalslob look (but with panache!). But just a few steps away from me, a salesperson spent at least ten minutes helping some frat guy in a t-shirt and flip-flops purchase an expensive room deodorizer.
As I stood there, flicking on teacups to test their strength, I gradually came to realize that while all the women around me were getting served, and that I was being rather deliberately ignored by the salespeople. I kept waiting for someone to try to persuade me that $40 is a completely reasonable price for a mug. But nothing. And then I started to think that the sales staff was looking deliberately through me. The biggest gesture that I got at customer service was the dirty look someone gave me when I fondled a tray decorated with a bald eagle.
I don't know if I am upset by this or not. I guess that if you can't decide if you are upset, then you probably are.
I do know that I have felt this way before, at stupid restaurants that have refused to seat me, at the mostly white tennis club near where I grew up, and watching these little blond girls terrorize their mexicana teammate in a locker room at a swim meet when I was a kid. It's a combination of embarassment at not knowing the rules of getting along, shyness, and fury.


Blogger Mother of the Groom said...

I'm fuming for you. My advice would be never to spend a single dime in the store. Plus you might really enjoy using your wonderful way with words to write a letter of protest to the manager.

Mother of the Groom

April 07, 2006 8:11 AM  
Blogger Olga said...

At first I was thinking, well, I might have tried to be aggressive about pulling on their sleeves to get their attention. But that's beside the point. The point is that you have money to spend and they should be falling over each other to help you. You shouldn't have to ask. I'm with Carlena here, except I was going to say that you go talk to the manager to have more of an impact. But a letter's good too, and will take up less of your precious time that was already wasted in that store. You know if you'd shoved a $40 mug in your bag you'd have their attention *real* fast! I'm never going in there again.

April 07, 2006 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Noemon said...

::feels temples beginning to pulse in sympathetic fury::

I suspect that you'll have better luck with a letter. If you go in to talk to someone, you're going to be talking to a low level floor-manager type person, whereas the letter would be more likely to be received by someone higher up in the place's food chain.

April 07, 2006 11:51 AM  
Blogger lo said...

yeah, Olga, the reason I was only borderline upset was because I didn't do all that much to identify myself as a customer for fancy china. However, I was standing there for a really long time, and the sales people walked right past me several times, even looking right in my face without so much as a "Can I help you?"
I got more an more upset, though, trying to figure out what made me not look like a potential sale. Maybe if I was dressed in pastels and had a big rock on my finger, they would have noticed me more. Some combination of who I am and how I looked made me look unpromising, I guess.
It's their loss, really. I have a really big family that dresses better than me, and a yen for enamled cast iron. They lost a big sale, which I think is punishment enough.
On the hardware side of the store they have always been nice and helpful. I don't know if I can bring myself to boycott the whole place.

April 07, 2006 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Noemon said...

"They lost a big sale, which I think is punishment enough."

They won't know that they've been punished, though, if you don't mention it to them. You never know--you might reach somebody who would care enough to change the character of the department. I can also understand not wanting to invest any more energy in the situation though.

April 07, 2006 1:42 PM  
Blogger The Maid of Honor said...

Hey bunny,
This is the dark side of the turkey platter, that the people who would sell such a gorgeous monstrosity have hearts of tar, and probably could price every item of clothing you were wearing from fifty feet. They love it because it's expensive, not because it's so improbably awful, an artifact from a parallel universe.
You should go back there and tell them what Edina Monsoon said to the girl in the art gallery. "You're not so special. You work in a shop."

April 11, 2006 9:34 AM  

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