Not Having My Cake and Not Eating It, Too

01Nov07

I am impossible to please. Truly.

I walk through a clothing store, one like Ann Taylor Loft or The Gap, and within moments someone is offering to start me a fitting room and I’m saying, no, really, I’m fine and they’re looking at me like I’m so weird because why would I want to carry my own pair of pants around the store and what’s the big deal about just letting someone start me a fitting room. So I get first helper girl to leave me alone and I walk further into the store and second helper girl comes over and asks me, Can I get a fitting room started for you and she’s all reaching towards my clothes and I say the same thing, no, I’m fine and I add a little bit of exasperation so that second helper girl knows that she is indeed the second person I’ve refused. Eventually, first helper girl comes by to see if I’m still okay and would I like her to get a room started for me yet? When I say no she stands there like at this point I owe her an explanation for why I would so rudely refuse her twice.

I won’t remember what I’ve already picked out, I say lamely.

Whether I stay and shop or just leave the damned store before second helper girl comes over to read me a sign about pants being 50% off which I already saw when I picked up the pants under the sign depends on how badly I need whatever it is I am shopping for. I’m not a shop-just-to-kill-time girl so if I’m there it’s because I need something. Sometimes, I need something for tomorrow and I must put up with first, second, and even sometimes third helper girl.

But today I went to the indie bookstore downtown. It’s an old house with 32 rooms filled with books. Rooms upstairs, rooms downstairs, rooms on what was once a porch or something. Needless to say, it’s a bit hard to navigate. And no strollers, obviously. So I put Evan in the Bjorn and we walked somewhat aimlessly through looking for the children’s room. We’ve got a baby friend with a first birthday coming up and wanted to get a copy of Never Tease a Weasel.

Two consultations of the hanging maps and several wrong turns through the Irish Reading room later, I find the children’s room. There I find three employees stocking books. So Evan and I make our way around the three employees and start browsing the shelves. Kids’ poetry. Biographies. Activity books. Um. Where are the, um, normal kids’ books? What do you call them? Fiction? Picture books? I’m searching and searching and coming up with science books, chapter books, mysteries. It’s a small little room and I’m clearly looking bewildered and there are three store employees in the room with me and no one is helping me.

So I find some of the No, David books and figure I’m in the right place. The books are sorted alphabetically by author’s name. Suddenly I realize I have no clue who wrote the book. I start talking to Evan about this, saying things like “Evan, where do you think the weasel book is?” and thinking someone’s going to come to my rescue. No one does. I get out my cell phone to call my husband thinking, hey, they’ll notice rude cell phone lady, but no one does. And he’s not there. I leave a message: “Can you look up who wrote Never Tease a Weasel? We’re at the Book Loft and I can’t find it.” A man in a Book Loft t-shirt with an uneven beard reaches over me to stock a few books and definitely hears my message but doesn’t say a word to me.

Hub doesn’t call back and Evan gets very fussy so we leave. As I’m bending down to put Evan in the car my phone rings. Blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda we’re back in the bookstore with the name of the author. And we still can’t find it. Now two employees are within earshot as I say things to Evan like, “Ev, do you think it’s under Conder or Soule?” and “Hmm. Still can’t find it.” Nothing. No help.

I almost said, “Evan, I guess we’re going to have to go to Barnes and Noble” but it was clear no one was listening to me anyway.

So now I can’t decide if I hate the Ann Taylor Loft helper girls or the Book Loft non-helper people more. I think I hate them equally. Or maybe I should try to be more positive and say that I love them equally, each one of them not very much.

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4 Responses to “Not Having My Cake and Not Eating It, Too”

  1. They’re both extremes, and both are equally annoying! I’ll leave a store over being hounded by the sales people and also if I’m totally ignored. There’s a happy medium, and those who know it get my money!

  2. Ditto what Tere said.

  3. My cousin sent me a funny email about this post in which she basically just laughed and laughed and laughed at me for being so passive about the book store situation. She should remember that when we were 9 and 10 I also wouldn’t ask the camp counselor for more boondoggle and that years later I wouldn’t ask my grandmother if I could have some ice cream.

    But at the same time, in the bookstore it wasn’t so much a matter of passiveness. Maybe at first it was but then it sort of became a test: will you or won’t you get my business, basically. Of course she has a point: “They are probably laughing at you from the inside…they’re getting paid whether or not they help you!” Good point. Hmm…


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