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What I Got for XMas

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Sometimes I hate being a woman

Sometimes it is simply not worth it

This is never more evident than when shopping in the electronics section of a department store.

Never fails. I always feel completely helpless, alone and annoyed.

Years ago I wanted a cd player to take to college. My cousin went with me to the appliance store to buy one. Our salesperson looked like Barbie’s bestfriend Kelly. She knew about as much about cd players as I did. I would have gotten more accomplished if I had asked her for beauty tips. Why was she there anyway? To attract male customers with her charm? We sent her away while we looked around. He helped me find a cd player that still works today. He sent a letter to the company questioning their hiring practices.
A few years back I went to a now-closed appliance store to buy a 19” tv. I walked directly to back. I looked at the tvs. I stood near the tvs. I waited. I played on the video monitor. I sang songs out loud. I watched tv. Finally, I left.

The next day I begged my boyfriend to go with me. We didn’t get within 15 yards of a tv before someone asked HIM if he needed help. He told the salesperson that I needed a tv. The salesperson continued to speak to him. I was fuming. He bought a 27 inch tv that day and I went to Kaufmann’s by myself and got my 19 inch. I wrote a letter of complaint. I got a 20 gift certificate apology. Ironic that the apology sent me back to the store to shop.

When I bought my appliances for my home I took my mother. We were both ignored. I got so frustrated I stalked a salesperson and demanded assistance. Why do they ask you if you need help when you track them down? Isn’t it obvious? What is with those warranty programs?. You pay for 3 years of service but you have to contact them for maintenance. That seems stupid. If I am setting up a contract with your company you should be reminding me that I need to conduct regular maintenance.
Last week, I finally decided to buy a new tv. I decided that I wanted to go to a department store that had a small selection so that I would not be overwhelmed with options. I ended up at Sears.

Big Mistake.

It was the post-holiday shopping and there were a lot of couples there. For those of you who do not understand. Salespeople seem to think that single women shoppers don’t know what they want or have the money to buy it. But if there is a man on her arm of rugrats at her ankles then she is serious. So I am standing by the tvs. I am walking around the tvs. I am looking at the tvs. I am touching the tvs. But the damn salespeople make a beeline to each couple that enters the department. I called clsteelcurtain98. I asked him to come to the store and stand next to me so that I would get some service. He told me to go to circuit city. As we are talking, more couples enter the area. I am panicking. Noone will help me if they don’t stop. Clsteelcurtain98 is telling me that i could have been in the parking lot of Circuit City by now if I had taken his advice. Circuit city scares me. There is so much…….. How could I possible decide on which tv to get with so many options? By myself. I am just a girl, you know. Then he suggests that I knock something over. I consider it. I start walking towards a display and I see this young salesperson. I wave him down and he asks me if I need help. There is that stupid question again.

Well, after all of my experiences in electronics departments I have learned finally how to take the upper hand.
“Can I help you.”
“yes, I need a small tv/dvd player for bedroom. Why is this one more expensive.”

He seemed puzzled by my question. As if the answer was obvious.
“Well, this is a new brand for our store and that is a Sylvania it is an older brand. Now, this one is a Samsung. Samsung is really good brand and it is a flat screen.”
“That may be true but Samsung is $60 more. I just need it to play DVD’s. It doesn’t need to impress my clock radio.”

He seemed a little shaken by that comment. But I was just getting started.
“Okay, well I haven’t had anyone return this brand.”
“What does that mean? And what is the special that you are running with each purchase of a tv?”
“Well,”
he said nervously, “um, you get Dish Service activation with a new tv.”
“You don’t really know about the promotion, do you?”
“Well, no, I just got on the floor today and this is a new promotion.”

This was my in. My way of taking up the cause of every single woman that had ever been ignored by a salesperson in the electronics department.
“So, they put you on the floor with no information? Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Is there someone who can explain the promotion to me?”
“Well, yes,”
he looks desperately around for another salesperson. I quickly regain his attention.
“You know what, we can talk about that later, will this play recorded cd or dvd’s?”

Next thing I know, the sales person is formally introducing himself to me. I guess he thought if we made friends I would be less aggressive.

Wrong.

“So Rico, why can’t you tell me if this will play recorded cds or dvd’s? How long have you worked here? “
Rico is a college student at UT and is just seasonal.
“So Rico, find out if this will play – as you call it - ‘bootleg’ cd’s”
Rico gets the salesperson that ignored me three times to help couples. I was pissed when I saw him. Then he merely reads to me what’s on the tag under the tv.
“Yeah, I read that already but how does that answer my question. Rico, do you have a cd in your pocket that we could play?” I ignore the second salesperson and started talking to Rico.
After he left, I say to Rico, “your friend wasn’t very helpful. Does that happen a lot? They know you are only temporary and don’t try to help you out? I am going to call my cousin. He will know the answer.”

I call my cousin who used to work in the very same appliance store from with we bought the cd player mentioned above 12 years ago.
My cousin explains that a particular term means that the player will play different formats. I thank my cousin and I tell the little guy the secret phrase.

By now Rico is really tripping. And wants to know all about me. Where do I work. How was my Xmas. He can’t believe that i am giving him such a hard time. --- Rico is trying to make friends.
I ask Rico to find a ruler to measure the tvs because the tag under the tv did not mention its dimensions. Of course, he did not know where to find one.
Finally, I decide to buy the cheaper tv. During checkout i am constantly asking Rico inane questions.

Are you going to tell me about the promotion? Don't you dare ask me about the warranty. Why do you need my phone number? When do you graduate? will you reenlist? do you like working here? do you see those kids over there playing cops and robbers? the father told them to get off the floor, i guess it was optional? So, did you mother really name you Rico or is that a nickname? You aren't a Steelers fan are you?

AT the checkout a couple comes up and actually tries to interrupt Rico as he is making the sale. Perhaps, they didn't think i knew what i wanted or had enough money to buy it. I told him very loudly to “ignore them, they can wait.”

We get all the way through the transaction and I ask Rico, “Oh, is this a stereo dvd player?” I did that on purpose.
He didn’t know. I flip out. “Is there anything in this store that will tell you what you are buying?” “Do I look strong enough to carry a tv around, take it home and then bring it back here cuz it doesn’t play in stereo?”
I was really enjoying myself.
Suddenly he remembers the secret phrase that indicates the tv will play in stereo.
I tell Rico I want the other tv and I finally leave him unforgettable.

Sometimes i love being a woman.

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