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LESLEY CREWE: A shopping tale

I’m sure women much younger than I am know all about this phenomenon, but I’m new to the party. It’s the latest marketing strategy, of bombarding you with sales announcements via the internet.  

I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when the sales girl asked for my email address. “So, you’ll know when the latest sales are on. It’s very handy.”  

It sounded innocent enough, but it’s come to the point where there’s a sales announcement every second day, all of them declaring it’s the sale of the century and if you don’t act now, you might live to regret it. 

And although you know that’s nonsense, there’s a little voice in the back of your head whispering, “Maybe they’re right. Maybe I’ll save a lot of money.” 

I make the mistake of telling hubby. 

“If you just delete the email, you’ll save a ton of money by not going near the joint.”  

I ignore logic like that.  

Then I get a message saying that because I am their “bestest” customer ever, I’m entitled to 40 per cent off everything! And on top of that, because it’s my birthday month, I can get $25 off anything I want! Well, gee whiz. That’s pretty great. 

So, I walk in the door and the place is crawling with women, all of them holding their cellphones and showing the sales ladies that they have been exclusively invited to the store because they are the “bestest” customer ever.  

After finding a pair of pants that actually fit, I walk to the register. There is a quite a line of ladies in front of it. Goodness.  

I join the queue. And wait.  

We wait so long, we eventually form our own support group. It started with a few sheepish grins, and some eye-rolling and the grimaces you give each other when you realize you’re all in the same boat, but eventually, you start standing on one leg and then the other, putting your hand on your hip the way your mother used to when she was annoyed with you, and then you begin to rubber-neck towards the front cash to see what on earth is going on and why the line isn’t moving.  

I turn to the woman behind me and tell her I’m going to have to shoot myself.  

And believe it or not, this backlog is caused by one woman. She keeps one of the salesladies completely monopolized with endless requests and complaints, while her hapless cohort tries desperately to deal with the rest of us.  

This woman should be on a wanted poster in every retail establishment in the city. I have never heard such a litany of nonsensical excuses she comes up with to try and shave extra money off every item in her cart. At one point she even goes out to her car for something! Who does that?!  

Just when we think she’s finally done, it turns out she has stuff for her mother she ne to ring through. And then she isn’t even taking it with her; she wants it all delivered and demands the girl find out when that will be, so the saleslady has to make a phone call.  

And not a backward glance at the increasingly desperate mob behind her. It takes a special kind of person to completely ignore everyone else.   

When I finally make it to the sales girl, I mention the $25 off for my birthday.  

“Oh, that can’t be combined with the sale. It has to be a regular ticketed item.”  

“Oh, well, I’ll use it another time.”  

“It expires at the end of the month.”  

Which is about now, but I can’t do it anymore. I can’t go back into the racks and look for anything else. I need actual outdoor air. I’m in such a panic to leave, I don’t even wait for the poor girl to put my pants in a shopping bag.  

“Don’t you want a bag?” she calls after me. 

“No, thank you! I’m an old bag! I don’t need another one!”  

  

Lesley Crewe is a writer living in, and loving, Cape Breton. These are the meandering musings of a bored housewife whose ungrateful kids left her alone with a retired husband. Since all her pets have now died, she’s very cranky. Her 11th book, “Are You Kidding Me?! Chronicles of an Ordinary Life,” (a collection of her various columns over the past 20 years), will be available in book stores in September.