Tuesday, May 23, 2006


worship from afar

Every day for the past week I've walked by a certain storefront and stared enviously within. Resting in a shining bright case is my weakness. Now, for some, a weakness may be alcohol. For others, drugs. For me, pocketbooks. I have way too many, most bordering on the super big variety. And for all the beauty sitting in my closet, this week I'm using one that resembles something that 50 year old teachers would schlump around. A tote bag that I got for free, from my dad, who got it from Lord knows where. It says "C.E. Unterburg Towbin" on it, in green stitching.

There it was. A good size - not too big, not too small. White, with red trim, red handles, red clasp over the top of the bag. A perfect summer accessory, if you will. Big enough to carry a book, a camera, my wallet, sunglasses, glasses, cell phone, lip balm, tissues, bandaids. Not a lunch, though.

Yesterday I was feeling down in the dumps, so I decided to stop in that certain store. I dove through the narrow, crowded aisles, searching for The One. And I didn't find it. So I asked the harried (actually, bitchy. There, I said it.) saleswoman for help—I think she responded "What do you want?" when I said "Excuse me..."—she looked for the bag in the aisles, then came to the same conclusion that I had. It wasn't there. So she went to some mysterious door, popped up in the display (nothing like a little reality to ruin a summer fantasy land), and came back. For some unknown reason, she didn't have the bag with her, though she said she saw it out there. I told her that I was possibly interested in buying it, so she went back, got it, and unceremoniously dumped The One into my waiting arms.

Resembling Aladdin in the Cave of Wonders, I turned it in the light, felt the fabric, tested it on my shoulder. And I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but that emotion quickly rising in my throat tasted a lot like bitter disappointment. And sadness, even.

The red was a bit too orange, the white a bit too dingy. The price was $59.99. Not so expensive that if I loved it, it would be a hindrance. But it was expensive enough that warranted a true love to purchase. I almost felt pressured to buy it, just because the sales lady acted as though I had imposed a Sisyphusian task upon her, but then I decided not to buckle.

I brought the bag to the counter, kind of made a face, and she looked at me and said "You're not going to buy it" - in this tone that made me feel as though I was being selfish and stupid for not completing the transaction. As if I had enjoyed making her do something for me while she was busy breaking down boxes. I responded with honesty, "No, I can't afford it." And walked away.

What a disappointment. Although, I think it's best that I looked at it. It's better to check things out and find out they're not what you think they are, instead of wasting time that is better spent checking out The New One.

This morning I glanced in the window as I passed. I've found that habits are tough little suckers...but eventually they break.

I am proud of you. Not because you were frugal or because you insisted to see the bag first, but because you didn't give into the sales pressure. I know that it was probably tough for you to walk away from a bitchy saleswoman, but I'm still proud.

On another note, I loved a bag from J Crew that cost $185 (yikes). I put down the catalogue, went to Target, and found the EXACT SAME BAG. $17.99. So try there, you never know.
I always give into sales pressure; I probably would have bought it without further review after she gave it to me.

My bad habit is clothes. It's awful, because I never have occasion to wear the stuff I buy and, having spent all my money on that, I am forced to wear rags the majority of time.
The New One. There's always a New One.

In bags, at least.

There sure seem to be a lot of bitchy salespeople this week.

My.. wait no, I'll blog it! :D

Incidentally, I know what you mean about something expensive turning out to be not worth it on closer inspection. Unfortunately for me, it's video games, which means I've gotten burnt on quite a few purchases over the years.

Now I'm more frugal, especially since I'm a broke arsed college student.
It's Sisyphean.
The bitchier a salesperson is to me, the more likely I am to dig my heels in and refuse to buy anything. Even if I love it.

I always smile and I'm always sweet when I shop. Why can't the person at the other end of the cashier's desk smile too? She's getting paid for it, after all.

CP: thanks for your undying support. :-) Happy Belated Birthday!

Rem: Just wear your cool clothes on all occasions.

Wombat: In other things, too. For now, anyhow! (And for always, if one adheres to the Wombat 5 Year Marriage Plan.)

Jestor: Who are you? Thanks for reading and commenting! Don't you hate that about video games? Or so I've heard, from...

Bub: must the younger sibling always be smarter? Or does he just delight one-upping his genius older sister as often as possible? :-)

N: I love how you talk. "Cow"! It stinks that you miss out on some things that you love...but it depends from where you get the greatest satisfaction - having a cool purchase, or beating bitchy salespeople at their own pathetic game.

Being at a meeting all day meant that I was away from the computer which meant that I was pleasantly thrilled to see all these comments this morning! Thanks :-)

Also - many people complain about poor customer service, but it still exists. What does this mean? Do the rude service people not know that they're being rude? Do they not care? Do they expect rudeness when they go someplace? Or are they rude, get mad when they get rude service, but don't see the disconnect between their attitude and behavior? I would love to talk to a rude customer service person about this.
Uh-oh. I didn't realize you had such a good memory, Meg. I rely upon people to forget what I write within a few days. Apparently that is a poor assessment.


*wondering other stoopid things I've written*
No no! I thought it was a nifty idea. Sad, but clever.

I like it, except that I want to be married to the same person for 50-60 years. (Speaking of, I better get going on that, because time is running out for those numbers.)

There's an appeal to leaving before the going gets rough, isn't there? But I have faith that after the rough spots, there's an even deeper relationship that's waiting to be discovered. And you don't get that type of depth with five years.
Agreed on the marriage ideal.

Tossing oddities out there appeals to my sense of poking people in the ribs.

At the risk of opening a whole other round of comments (or perhaps another post)...isn't the appeal of leaving before things get tough part of human nature?

If I want something right now (be it beer, raw meat, or scantily clad women) I shall continue to search until I find it, rather that spend my time trying to conjure it out of nothing.

Humans, just like all other animals, are really just here to mate and pass on their genetic material. The concept of "love" is a nice thought...but in reality, it's just an attempt to justify monogamy.

There, I said it...let the hate-mail begin.
JC, you got your post! :-)
Wombat: keep poking! :-)
Nah, I just knew because I had to look it up. I was using my unintelligence to look intelligent. =P Always be an opportunist!
hey hey, what about all the rude customers?? I've been in retail off and on for about 6 years and I cannot tell you how many people think it is their god-given right to treat salespeople like absolute scum. Okay, you're running late, and you're mad at me for it. If I'm not mistaken, you just spent 45 minutes in here deciding between two different shirts, in the process, unnecessarily wrecking half the store. I plaster a smile on my face and say "Thanks for shopping, have a great day!" and you rip the bag out of my hand and storm off, leaving your 4 year old running after you with a handful of un-paid necklaces and I have to run and get them.
So, its not only the salespeople, but the customers as well. So if you're having a bad day, please, dont take it out on me! I'm just trying to find you what you want
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