Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sell me Something Good

Actually, I'm not done talking about Christmas.

Let's talk about Christmas shopping, shall we?

I know my face doesn't announce money.  You can tell I've had no work done (See prior blog post), the hallmark of wealth apparently.  I'm sure I've benefited from lookism at some time or another, but I don't notice those times.  I just notice the times when some one looks at me, assesses my monetary status and then ignores me, pecuniary lookism.  In ye old '94 Oldsmobile, I experience a lot of income-profiling.  Pulled over 'cuz my blinker seemed a little weak.  In largely white communities, white privilege doesn't exist.  Income is the thing.  Imbeciles turn to money to judge a person, because judging must be done, right?  How else can you tell the right people from the wrong people?

I've been told the income of my youth and my current bank statement are written all over my face for those fluent in that language.  We poor folks have an openness, an innocence, a void where presumptuous superiority should go.  And somehow these shop keepers can see that.

Another job in sales: 3yrs at Seattle Farmers Markets.  I'm now gluten-intolerant
The Kitchen Engine, is repeat offender number one.  I've been in there frequently enough to know this ain't no accident.  The first two times, I gave the benefit of the doubt.  But the last three can't possibly be a mistake.  Here's how it goes: I walk in and set to browsing or looking for that thing I need.  And no one says a thing, no howdy, no can I help you find something, nothing.  And that's fine, at least they're not shadowing me around the store making sure I don't pick anything up.  The problem begins when I hear the click click click of high heels enter the store.  And here comes a fancy looking lady, a RICH lady.  And suddenly all three staff members surround her and ask her what she's looking for, they offer her coffee, they beg to help her.  And so that is why I resolve to buy all my specialty kitchen gear on line now, where people can't tell how much money I have and they don't care.  No, I am not looking for an expensive knife set and I no longer want fancy pie plates because I just can't handle the pain when they break.

My revenge is that these high-heeled prissy pants are a pain in the ass to help.  Inevitably, they have no idea what they are looking for and whatever is offered isn't quite it.  It really tickles me to see them give the staff such a hard time... because they can.

And that's what befuddles me.  We're talking STAFF.  Not owners.  Not investors.  We're talking non-commission employees who are snooty to people who are a lot like them.  It doesn't make any sense, to violate your own good sense of equality, your own "class," for the sake of the shop owner, who enjoys fine cognac in her hot tub thanks to the sales you make. You say to the world, these people and me too, our class is not worthy.  Anyway, I can't imagine sales can improve over cherry picking customers, worshiping some and making others feels like shit.

At "Van Cleef and Arpels" Cozumel.  I am the white girl.
 I was a commission-only jewelry sales girl on an island off Mexico.  And I wasn't snooty to anyone, and kept open mind.  And thus got my biggest sale ever.  Among the crowds of super-sized cruise-ship tourists sorting through their multiple maxed-out credit cards for one that would take (seriously skewing my coworkers' perspective of Americans), wandered in a little old Mexican lady in Keds knock-offs.  Her sales girl quickly ditched her, saying "Quien es la Ultima?"  Who's the last in line?  Because she wanted to queue up for another customer, a better one.  I was at my station among the diamond bracelets and noticed this little old lady wandering around, abandoned. In my best Spanish, which I'd picked up in two months (two years of high school Spanish did NOT help, but hindered and was best forgotten.  The best way to learn a foreign language is to have your life depend on it and to get drunk so you can loose your inhibitions.  Drinking makes speaking foreign languages - among many other things - a lot easier.)  She had some nieces, see, who were graduating and she needed to get them identical items.  I showed her our cheapest rings.  No, she said, something more expensive....something very nice.  Incredulously, I worked us up to the diamond tennis bracelets, worth thousands and thousands.  Those would do.  I'll take four.  Really?!  Really?!  Yes! Because this was apparently one of the wealthiest women in Mexico, on vacation from Mexico City where she owned several fancy girls' schools.  She complimented my Spanish and my kindness and left me with a commission nearly large enough to pay for a plane ticket home.

After she left, a melee broke out with the first sales girl claiming I'd stolen her customer and all her Mexican comrades lining up behind her in solidarity  -- just like a greedy American to STEAL a rich customer.  And in my favorite Spanish tirade of all time (mixed in with some Mayan cussing I'd learned from my roommates), I let fly.  Excuse me!  But who here heard her say "Quien es la Ultima?"  when that lady was still in the store?  Everyone heard.  But still...I'd stolen the highest paying customer they'd had all season. Buoyed by the bracelet-buyers compliments, I went on: just because I'm white and I don't speak Spanish as well as the rest of you, you think I don't know the rules.  You think I can't understand the rules.  You think I can't understand what you're saying.  You think you can change the rules because I'm a foreigner, I'm just a stupid greedy white girl.  But that's racist.  Are you going to have one set of rules for Mexican employees and another for Americans?  Everyone heard her say "Quien es la Ultima."  And I found this lady wandering around without anyone even watching her...  Their mouths were agape.  The tide turned.  Everyone was mad at the other girl for being so stupid... and slightly racist herself both against me, the white girl, and the Mexican woman.... everyone knows Mexicans don't have any money, right.

A later Mexico trip: camping/hitchhiking Baja with Huck and Blue
Not that I'm about to buy 12 sets of $1000 pots and pans.  It's just a stupid idea to judge people by their looks and to treat anyone as "less-than" for any reason, money, color, gender, et al.. Judging them once you know something about them is called exercising good judgment.  Good judgement doesn't have anything to do with money or the appearance of having it.  I know you already knew that, or else you wouldn't be reading my blog.  Only people with good and fair judgement read my blog.  You could be reading some shallow blog about giving liposuction vouchers to your seven year old so that they too can avoid the cold shoulders of idiotic classist sales people. But instead, you are here.

Also, I need to update you on my picky-eater's latest issue.  I get crap for Coyote's choosiness, like it's my fault.  He's choosy, for guy with NO access to white bread or American cheese.  He eats most fruit, many non-green vegetables and a good assortment of whole grains and cheeses and beans... as long as it's all separate.  Blue picks salads for her Birthday dinners.  She loves cooked greens.  And eats her crusts first.  Thank god we had a second, very different kid, or we'd think that was all our doing.  Coyote's just picky and that's all.  He's got hallmarks of a super-taster, as do I.  He once told me that (lets see how I can say this without making it sound like that's all we give him....) he could taste sugar in some potato chips and so he wouldn't eat them.  Incredulous, I read the ingredients and he was right.  So at his class holiday party, they were to make Reindeer sandwiches and eat them.  Believe me, I asked a lot of questions and I'm still not clear on how a sandwich turns into a reindeer.  At any rate, it involved something called Easy Cheese, like cheese wizz, but newer.  And Coyote asked: if he made the sandwich, would he HAVE to use Easy Cheese?  For some incomprehensible reason the answer was yes.  And would he have to EAT said sandwich? Yes again.  Coyote then decided that instead of participating in the party at all and being forced to eat Easy Cheese, he would rather read in the corner by himself.  And so he did.  That, my dear readers, is the right kind of picky eater.   That boy can tell the good from the bad.  He is a boy of good judgement.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails