I’ve often wondered what has become of the telemarketer. There was the Sports Illustrated broad who refused to let me cancel that magazine subscription. The educational software dude who became irate when I insisted I had never requested information on his product, exposing the fact that he had purchased a bad phone list. And I can’t forget the supposed highway patrolman from 10 states away who
offered threatened to stop by my house the next morning if I would a leave a check under my doormat for Camp Smoky Bear. I sometimes feel a slight twang of guilt over the demise of countless other pushy phone reps, thinking we angry responders had put them out of work through our constant rejection, our national “do not call” lists, and ultimately our complete disconnection of the landline.
But alas, these pushy people have found new employment. Or perhaps they’ve spawned a new generation of overly ambitious salespeople - the dreaded kiosk people. I really don’t know where they came from, but they’re now scattered about our local malls, hawking everything but Aunt Bea’s feel-good serum.
And as we head into the throes of holiday shopping, we’d better suit up with armor, as we’ll no doubt be unapologetically approached by those people on little stools at the tiny stores with no boundaries. Think you’re going to pop into American Eagle for those must-have fashion items for your teen? Think again. Off to redeem that free lingerie coupon at Victoria’s Secret? Not so fast. You’ve got to get past these kooks first.
Now to be fair, I would be wrong to lump all the kiosk people into one irritating category, as some are running respectable businesses, and I frequent them quite often. So let me be crystal clear who I’m talking about.
Let’s take them one at a time.
Mr. Balance Man, I’m not even quite sure what you’re selling. What I do know is this…every time I pass you by, you have some poor schmuck standing on one leg with arms outstretched, while you look on. From my quick observation, this seems to involve demonstrating their out-of-balance tendencies, while you do your spiel on the miracle of magnets. Now maybe there’s something to all this, but I just know I don’t want to be that person standing in a mall full of passers-by as I pose like a flamingo. So excuse me as I sprint on by.
Next, Ms. Hair Straightener Chick…I have some personal issues with you. As you single me out to demonstrate your fine hair-straightening abilities, you’re most likely to see me in one of the following situations: 1) In the already stick-straight style that comes naturally for me, 2) In a sloppy, unwashed ponytail tossed into an uncool scrunchie, or 3) Exiting the mall because I’ve just had a costly hair appointment at Regis Hair Salon (thanks for noticing). What makes this last scenario most insulting is that I’ve often bought “product” while I was at Regis. The bag with the word “Regis” on it should have been your first clue. But never mind that small detail, because I just spent my grocery money on my new ‘do, so I’m probably not the most likely candidate for a free do-over as you hawk that flat-iron that could burn my already over-processed hair into a complete head of ashes.
But then there’s the worst of them all, the lowest common denominator of the retail sales chain. No, Mr. Dead Sea Salt Scumbag, you cannot ask me a question. In fact, you just did and in doing so, you have exceeded your lifetime limit. Not only do I not want to hear about your sea crap, it’s irrelevant what country, ocean, or pond scum it originated from. I’ve purposely put my hands in my pockets at the sight of you, so you have no reason to assume I need a personal buff job. Don’t assume that I will allow you to creepily caress your mystery lubricant all over my hands and nails. “No” means “No”, and if you touch me again, the next time I see you, I will be identifying you in a line-up.