Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Attack of the Boutique Salesperson

New York is clearly a city made for shoppers - it's a mecca of ridiculously expensive department stores, the famous designer outlet Century 21, and hundreds of adorable boutiques.  My friends and I were in heaven.

Boutiques are really where it's at.  Each has its own personality, its own flavour and its own crazy salesperson/owner.  Soho and the Village are literally covered in boutiques and thankfully I was able to visit them with K.  I am not sure I would have gone otherwise.  As much as I love teeny tiny store shopping, it also makes me nervous.

At least at Banana Republic, there are lots of other shoppers and many salespeople who generally let you do your own thing.  But at a boutique, I am often the only person.  Against the salesperson.  I know the salesperson is desperate for a sale, after all, they work in a teeny tiny store that often does teeny tiny business.  I am never relaxed on my own.  I feel their eyes boring into my head, sending me 'buy something' vibes.  Then I feel guilty when I leave without making  a purchase, as if I am a villain in a fairytale.  The evil shopper was just browsing, we'll get her my pretty.

Shopping with K, I felt pretty confident.  I had a comrade.  A browser in arms.  Not that we were browsing, we were going to spend money if we found something worthwhile.  But I didn't feel that pressure I usually feel when on my own. 

Until we were attacked by the whacko boutique owner.

One window caught our eye, it was full of cute purses. So of course we went in.  Immediately on entering I could tell this owner was on a hunt.  A hunt to sell his wares.  With every purse we slightly looked at, he would pounce on us.  "That's so cute isn't it?" to which we would nod obediantly.  "And such a deal at only $250", K and I pretended that we thought that was a deal, even though we bought our weight's worth in fake bags for an eighth of the price. He followed us around like a homeless man who doesn't listen to 'I really don't have change' and made a comment about EVERYTHING.  

I love how women have a way of talking to each other without actually talking to each other.  My sixth sense told me K wanted to leave as badly as I did, so we slowly made our way to the door.  Mr. Crazy stopped us just a foot away by pointing out a locally made chain-link clutch, we paused pretending we loved it.  And it was in that slight pause I was attacked.

Before I knew it, there was something on my lips.  He had come from behind with a stick and was slathering lip gloss on me.  I shrieked a little and he told me he wasn't going to hurt me.  He smothered my lips then moved on to K, talking a mile a minute about his own line of naturally made cosmetics.  Just as I was rubbing my lips together, he was on me again, spraying my face with some sort of toner thing.  No warning, just spraying my face so that I had to rub my eyes and spit liquid out of my mouth.  It was like being in some sort of battle, that kind that you are surprised at - what's it called again?  Oh yes, ambush.

Next we has dotting our faces with concealer and powder, telling us how wonderful it felt.  I was frozen.  Everytime his back was turned, K and I would lock eyes, trying not to break out entirely in giggles.  There was no escape from Mr. Crazy, except if we bought something.  And I have to grudgingly admit that the lip gloss was really nice, so I didn't feel too stupid.

Mr. Crazy went on about all the celebs who loved his stuff:  Reese, Cher, some Broadway lady.  He told us a story about doing Cher's make-up and not even realizing it was her.  Ahh, so he attacked her too.  He bragged about how much they bought.  Obviously, like us, the celebs bought stuff just to shut him up and leave the store.

Next time I boutique shop, I am taking bear spray.  

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