Monday, May 26, 2014

Leave me alone!

....or, why every store in the Philippines is like walking into a Havertys.

First of all, I feel like I should apologize.  I made a commitment to publish one blog every month and I have obviously failed.  And to add insult to injury, I don't even have anything nice to say.  

Here's what I do have to say, "Why can't they just leave me alone??!!?"

You know that sinking feeling you get when you know you need to go shopping for a new couch or La-Z-Boy but you would rather get a shoddy root canal than enter a furniture store?  Well, multiply that by a BAJILLION, and you'll have some idea what it's like shopping in the Philippines.  

I'm sorry.  Ok, you know what?  I'm NOT sorry.  I recently made up my mind to minimize the qualifying statements I make and just stick to my guns.  So, here goes.  I am NOT sorry and this sh*t is ridiculous.  

Perhaps a more specific comparison is in order?  Imagine, if you will, walking into your favorite Target on a sleepy Saturday morning.  No one has really gotten out and about yet so it's pretty much just you and the people in line at the Starbucks in the front of the store.  You have no particular agenda though you do want to remember to get hairspray and deodorant.   Or wait...let's go with slightly more embarrassing....tampons and dandruff shampoo.  You grab a cart not a basket because you just want to stroll.  You don't need the weight of a basket on your arm...keeping you from browsing with reckless and relaxing abandon. With your gingerbread latte in hand and the world of Target in front of you, off you go!
Yes. More than anything in the whole wide world.

{Scene setter for below:  Please don't delude yourself...this did not happen at an open air market or a low-end mall/store.  I'd expect this type of behavior at a market or bizarre.  Easiest way to imagine the following is to pretend it happened in a hybrid Nordstrom/Target.  And go......}

Suddenly, your dream turns into a nightmare.  Before you've even picked up your (sad joke of a) basket, a security "guard" tells you to put your newly purchased hot coffee in the trash -- "No drinks" he says.  Apparently, this does not apply to the rich local lady with her brood of children and helpers and any number of assorted sippy cups and McDonalds fountain drinks.  You glare at him but throw your coffee away anyway.  Two steps in, you're accosted by salesmen with perfume.  Five of them.  Immediately in your face.  In your workout clothes with sweat still drying, perhaps you look like a solid mark...this lady NEEDS perfume.  On the other hand, YOU ARE IN YOUR WORKOUT CLOTHES!  WHO THE HELL NEEDS PERFUME IN THEIR WORKOUT CLOTHES?!?!? This is where you begin to rely heavily on the cover of your iPod.  It's not even that loud but you pretend you can't hear anyone.  Wish it worked the same with eye contact. 

Onward you are determined.  Perfume boys be damned!  Two feet later at a small display, you are greeted by someone who clearly cannot see the lines of personal space surrounding you and though she's practically IN your ear, she ignores the iPod and says hello anyway.  Oddly, there's no offer to help.  She just stands there....waiting.  "I'm good,"  you say, "I don't need any help right now."  She smiles but doesn't leave.  So you do.  

But you are not leaving this store yet. You are so tired of being forced to buy things online.  You will succeed in this mission.....for hairspray...and nail polish remover.  Whatever the cost, you WILL succeed.  

The real shit thing here is, they have some good products at this place.  You want to browse and somewhere deep inside, you need to browse.  So you try.  You wander over to the haircare area, excited to see the beach hair spray that you've been buying on line all this time.  Who knew?!  But then, she's back.  And you don't know if it's a new she or an old she though, given the one to one shelf/salesperson ratio, you suspect it's a new she.  She's behind you.  You feel her there.  You initially try to ignore her...hoping she'll go away...for her own good.  The frustration is starting to bubble now and you're honestly afraid of what you might say to this poor unsuspecting saleslady.  But why the hell does she follow you??!  "Hi," you say, "I don't need any help. You can go back to what you were doing." She smiles but doesn't leave.  You keep walking.  She stays right behind you.  "Stop following me," you mutter under your breath but definitely at a volume she can hear.  She takes one step back, stops following you but doesn't actually leave.  Now she is pretending not to watch you but you can feel her eyes on you.  At this point, you think you might be going a little crazy. 

What started as a stroll with no agenda is morphing into something you can't escape fast enough.  Dreams of casual shopping are dashed and you begin to hasten through what would have been...should have been....a relaxing experience.  You rush to nail polish aisle, doing your best to stave off more aggressively friendly and ever-present salespeople.  You pick out two colors that, let's face it, will look hideous on you.  Then it happens, you see your very favorite brand of makeup and it seems as if, for the moment at least, NO ONE is around.  You shuffle over, keeping your head low and your podcast level high.  You have time to touch one.damn.eyebrow.pencil and she's on you.  "Hi ma'am!"...smiles, awkward smiles.  "Hi," deep sigh, "I don't need anything.  I'd let you know if I did.  You can go." SHE MOTHERGRUBBING STAYS!  You practically yell, "Fine! I'd have bought something if you would have left me alone!" You don't stay to watch her smile wither into well...a less awkward smile.  They never stop smiling; it's off putting. 

You just remembered you still need tampons and  shampoo but you can't imagine the hovering that would ensue so you bury that dream deep....real deep.  As you sprint to the cash register, just wanting it all to be over, you can't help but glance over to several missed aisles.  You are tempted to keep looking around and then you see them, lurking behind the aisle of your favorite B.B. Cream and you think to yourself, "I am gonna buy the shit out of Amazon when I get home."

The end.

P.S. As a result of above, I am determined to come up with some funny ways to handle salespeople here.  I don't want to be mean.  It sucks to be mean and I'm really no good at it but sometimes I do get frustrated..especially when I try to be nice at first but people don't listen.  They are not going to change.  For whatever reason, this is the way they do business so I have to figure out new ways to handle it.  I can't just let them follow me's too much to bear.  Any ideas?!  

Found this little illustration at -- what do you think? 


Anonymous said...


:-) i don't miss it one bit.

Elizabeth Mai said...

Sheesh! That would seriously mess with my sanity. Is it possible to just outright ignore them? As awkward as it would be, just never look up or acknowledge them??

Elizabeth Mai said...

Hilariously written post, by the way.

Lindsey said...

Thanks Elizabeth and Melissa.

Lindsey said...

Elizabeth - Ignoring doesn't work. I mean, I guess if you can ignore someone within 12 inches, maybe. But I can''s a weakness of mine I guess :)

ROYLYNN said...

Why don 't you state clearly that you do not need help? She thinks she's being helpful by trying to be at your beck and call. And again, state what you want in plain english..meaning slow enunciation of your command.

Lindsey said...

Roylynn, I appreciate your suggestion and I definitely tried that but when you are confronted by dozens of salespeople within 10 minutes, it's a challenge (and not a terribly efficient use of my shopping time in their store) to have to stop and explain it every person why you don't need help. Saying, "thank you, no" should be more than sufficient, I think.