Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Improper Poll: Publicly Peeved

I hate those lotion cults at malls. Or any mall worker not in a third world country who stands in the sidelines shouting at you to try their product or asking if you will answer just one question. They always seem to target me in spite of the fact that I am a very fast walker and intentionally use the most negative body language ever—eyes averted, skittering quickly along the wall like a cockroach.

I don't mean the grocery store sample ladies, either.  Those people never seem to be pushy and they never hard-sell.  And I've never had one behave rudely.  The ones I'm talking about stand in the mall and ask me to try their product as I race by.  Usually it's lotion.  After I’ve politely told them “no, thank you,” I’ve found that they nearly always argue. Argue! But it’s good lotion, they will say. As if it’s their job to tell me what it is I need and want to buy and not the other way around. I find it so disrespectful. Even worse, if I ignore them, they shout something snotty at my back. Yet if I repeat myself, they get snotty. In fact, come to think of it, I have never had a pleasant experience with these people and would rather put expired Crisco on my chapped hands than use their Attack Lotion, so there!

At one point the Survey People were so bad at the mall that I boycotted the stores near them. I wasn’t trying to be mean; I just don’t like to do business in establishments that allow their customers to be accosted. It comes across as cheap, and it’s easy enough just to shop in peace elsewhere.

And don’t even get me started on that local business with the word “Construction” in it who stands at malls and fairs and tells you that you will be entered to win a prize if you give them your name. No one I know has had a good experience with them, including myself. They managed to sell us a door once in the years before they resorted to shouting at passers-by like carnie barkers. When the patio door finally arrived, not only did it not fit, the manager to whom I spoke was so rude and unapologetic that she lost all future business right there. As if that weren’t bad enough, when we finally did get the door properly installed, it was of shockingly poor quality despite the exorbitant price tag. So what I shout back when they shout at me about their business is, “I had a bad experience with your company and would never buy there again!” I figure this is what they earned, and I truly wish I’d been warned the first time around.

What are your pet peeves that happen in public?


  1. I was once accosted in a mall. But being fresh out of college, and not so sophisticated as yourself, I let the rep whisk me away to the inner labyrinth of hallways and unmarked rooms. I was put at a table with a clipboard, and left alone, lights dimmed, to watch three Herbal Essence commercials and record my preferences.

    For my trouble, I was given a bag brimming with Herbal Essence products. Products which I buy today. Because they worked pretty good on a gal who grew up using Prell, the paint-stripper of hair products.

    My peeve? Organizations who set up camp blocking the doors of business establishments. Or who carry your groceries or pump your gas. NO! I am not donating. Hit the street and go door to door. Put a little effort into it. I'm not paying you for services I can do myself. And I will put my nose in the air and walk right past your bake sale and baseball-trip begging in front of Walmart. Hold a car wash. A barbecue. Something that I can choose to patronize. Don't send your little urchins to accost me, hoping I foist money on them out of guilt.

  2. You could always learn a bit of American Sign Language. Then when they accost you sign something like "What did you say?" and point to your ear.

    ..Or pretend that you're really very interested and excited by what they're offering. Only. You don't speak English. Then spend a lot of time trying to "understand" what they're saying.

    But the best is when there are more than one of them and at least one of them is a woman. Then you explain that you're from a middle Eastern country, point to the woman and say "The woman. How much for the woman?"

  3. Construction sales people get me. I look at them and say, "I don't own my own home." Technically the bank does :)

  4. The sales people that don't want to help you - they do like you avoiding the lotion, ha, skittering like a cockroach. I'm pretty sure I've actually ran after one, shouting, "hey can you help me?" Hate to think if I was having a heart attack or something.

  5. Tom's solution is hilarious, but I don't know if I'd be brave enough to try it. LOL
    Lynn is right. Sales staff who are being paid to help are never there, but the "lotion people" are in your face. Why not the other way around?

  6. This isn't just like yours, but I hate it when I am watching a parade and somebody comes by wanting me to sign a petition. I say, no, I am here to watch the parade and they sometimes have a hard time with that. I don't like being bugged when shopping either, Tammy. I don't go shopping often ... but I just walk on by and shake my head no.

    Kathy M.

  7. I despise them, too! AND the ones who knock on my door in the middle of the day, or just as I'm putting dinner on the table. I have to say that this is why I prefer Plaza Frontenac - absolutely no hawking. Very peaceful! But, when I am at those other malls, and I get "attacked" (I've tried the cockroach approach, too, to absolutely no avail), I always smile and say "I have it, thank you!"
    And when they come to my door, I say "Oh, I have a relative who does that for a living - I could never hire someone else, but thank you!"

  8. This makes me sound meaner than Scrooge, but I just hate it when people are seeking donations or selling items at the entrance to the grocery store. I say no, but then feel guilty, followed swiftly by annoyance at the manager who allowed the solicitors to be there in the first place.

    Critter Alley


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