Just the pants, Ma’am.

"So, you just HAD to have a pair of Men's Linen Blend Super Soft Capri Pants, did you? Well NOW look where we are!"

“So, you just HAD to have a pair of Men’s Linen Blend Super Soft Capri Pants, did you? Well NOW look where we are!”

 

Most of the time my visits to large stores end with me wandering the aisles in search of help, but encountering , well, no one. It’s like the zombie apocalypse happened and no one told me and now I’m the only one left in Target  the very large store full of awesome. When I do find help  it’s usually in the form of a  twenty-something who isn’t at all interested in helping, but has perfected the “shrug and point in the general direction and then go back to t-shirt folding” move. Let me be clear though: Help is good, but too much help makes me all squirmy.  You know that thing that happens where someone is just bound and determined to solve your problem, even if it means making ridiculous suggestions? It triggers my flight instinct every time.

Which brings me to this particular salesperson, on this particular day.  I’ve gone to a different store looking for uniform pants for my son. There’s bad weather coming, and the store is otherwise empty. She is maybe about 60, and elfin, with a gray pixie cut  and a flowy top. She doesn’t look like the typical employee of this particular store, but rather your eccentric aunt who disappears for long periods of time, and you could swear you heard whispers of what sounded suspiciously like “Malaysian prison”.  When she does reappear, a smudging ceremony is usually on the agenda at some point.  Also she has a common law husband named Grasshopper and has probably spent some measure of time in something called a yurt. It’s called character development, people. Go with me here.

Her: HI! WHAT CAN I HELP YOU WITH TODAY? (note: caps are intentional, as they imply volume. Very, very, perky volume.)       

Me: I’m looking for boys’ blue uniform pants,   size 7.  My son has gone through the knees of all of his. There aren’t any on the shelf, would you happen to have any in the back?

Her: I’D BE HAPPY TO HELP YOU WITH THAT!  (beelines for shelf, where no size 7 pants exist, which I have just told her. Shockingly, she also finds no pants.)

Her: OHHHH, NOOOOO! WE’RE ALL OUT OF THAT SIZE!

Me: Er, yes. I see that. Maybe in the back…?

Her, snapping fingers: I’VE GOT IT! HOW ABOUT SHORTS?

(I glance outside and see that snow is starting to fall. Also it’s 20 degrees. ) 

Me: Uh, it’s, a bit cold for that. Also they’re not allowed to wear shorts until April, sooo…

Her: LET ME CHECK THE IN SYSTEM TO SEE IF OTHER STORES HAVE ANY!

(Tappity taps on the computer)

Her: OH. WELL, THERE ARE TWO PAIRS IN COLUMBUS, AND THREE PAIRS IN, LETS SEE… KENTUCKY. I’D BE HAPPY TO GIVE YOU DIRECTIONS TO THOSE STORES!

(Note: those stores are both 1 to 2 hours away. I could have  a pair of pants faster if I fashioned a crude loom and wove the cloth myself.)

Me: Uh, those are a bit far. Well, thanks for your help, I’m just going to…

Her: WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE “SLIM SKINNY FIT?” WOULD THAT WORK?

(Note: No, that would not work, as he’s not currently auditioning for the role of Tony Manero in the remake of Saturday Night Fever.)

Me: No, he’s just a regular size. So, thanks, have a great…

Her: WELL, WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO PUT HIM IN GIRLS’ PANTS?

(Okay, either she has never met any second grade boys or all that time in the sweat lodge has loosened her grip on reality.) 

Me: I don’t think that’s a good idea…

Her, waving hands and nodding: OH, RIGHT.YEP, I TOTALLY GET THAT VIBE FROM YOU. SAY NO MORE.

(What vibe exactly would that be? The unwillingness to humiliate my son and make him a laughingstock of his second grade class? Then yes, you are totally getting that vibe. And speaking of vibes, I am starting to get a whole “Annie Wilkes/Misery” vibe. I need to get out of here before I find myself lashed to an artfully folded display of Ultra Soft Cotton Boyfriend V-Neck Tees.)

Me, inching toward the door: Okay, it’s snowing pretty hard now, so I’m just going to…

Her: WELL, DO YOU HAVE A SEWING MACHINE ? YOU COULD ALWAYS SEW UP THE KNEES. YOU KNOW, JUST SORT OF BUNCH UP THE FABRIC AND, YA KNOW, SEW IT… (makes pinching motions)

Me, ignoring my instinct not to engage her any further:  The knees are  pretty shredded, so, no…

Her: HOW ABOUT TARGET? HAVE YOU TRIED THERE?

(I look outside again and it’s now verging on whiteout conditions. If I stay any longer I’m going to be trapped in the store with this lunatic and one of us isn’t going to make it out alive.  Glancing around for supplies,  I think I can MacGyver a weapon from a couple of name tag pins and that pole they use to reach the high shelves.)

Me: I really…

Her: WELL, YOU KNOW, IT’S JUST RIGHT DOWN AT THE END OF THE SHOPPING CENTER!

Me: Right. Maybe I’ll…

Her: IT WOULD BE A REALLY GREAT WALK! SO BRISK! YOU COULD GET SOME FRESH AIR!

(Whoa. Is Retail Annie Wilkes suggesting that I could use the exercise? That’s low.)

Me, about 5 feet from the door. My escape is imminent. : Yeah, uh, I’ll probably just order some online… French Toast  always has them in stock.

Her: OOOH, FRENCH TOAST! YOU KNOW WHAT’S GREAT? FRENCH TOAST WITH SAUSAGE… YUMMY! NOW I’M IN THE MOOD FOR FRENCH TOAST… OR PANCAKES! I LOVE PANCAKES. DID YOU KNOW YESTERDAY WAS INTERNATIONAL PANCAKE DAY? I HEARD THEY WERE GIVING AWAY FREE PANCAKES AT IHOP AND I REALLY SHOULD HAVE…

Now is my chance. While she’s lost in her fantasy breakfast reverie, I sprint through the door, muttering a hasty goodbye over my shoulder before I run to my car.  She will not be ignored, though, leaning out the door to shout after me one last time.

“DON’T FORGET, YOU CAN CUT THE OLD PANTS OFF AND TURN THEM INTO SHORTS!”

And then, while I can’t be sure, I can swear I hear her whisper, “I’m your biggest fan!” Probably just the wind, though.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. LOVE IT, Lisa! On the rare occasion I find myself in a “higher end” boutique, I feel like they’re never going to let me out without the $150 pair of jeans. Where is the middle ground?? The help without the pressure and/or WEIRDNESS! That lady is probably loads of fun to be friends with though, when she’s not trying to sell you shorts in February. 🙂

    • In a higher end boutique I’d be more likely to tolerate this, uh, “level” of service. At least there they give you tea or a bottled water while they’re holding you hostage.

Speak Your Mind

*