Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fell off the Wagon

Not her. Me.

So! A few months ago, I checked into rehab as the result of a come-to-Jesus meeting that occurred in my basement. Rehab was somewhat successful, and I've been doing really well, even through the holidays. But then something happened, and I slipped. I'm in kind of a shame spiral over it, and the only way I'm going to get back with the program is to be brutally honest about it--here, with you.

Hello, my name is SGM and I am addicted to buying useless crap and then stashing it in my basement when I decide that I don't like it anymore.

Remember those cheap cords that I was going to return to Banana Republic? I returned them (yea! returning is good!) and was walking out when this man at a skin care kiosk (I know, A KIOSK. Does that tell you how sick I still am?) waves me down with a "Honey! Honey, come over here!" I cannot resist an effeminate gay man who will possibly bullshit with me about Britney, so I walk right over even though it is my standard operating procedure to ignore kiosk workers. I think to myself, "Maybe he's selling something good. I'll go listen but I won't buy."

So I walk up to him and the first thing he says to me is "Guess how long I've been here?" I tell him that I didn't know. "Since 9:30! What is that, like 9 hours?" Not quite that long, but you know. I'll sympathize. "I hope you at least own this place" I say, gesturing to the kiosk. And do you know what he says to me? "Oh, girl! No, but I used to sleep with the owner!" and then he gives this kind of grand arm-wave, kind of a "snap!" motion. It enchants me, and without even realizing it, I have set myself up for a relapse.

I'd like to mention at this point, that the kiosk worker has an accent. It is a combination of Israeli and South African (I know, because I asked). The whole effect is very Serge from Beverly Hills Cop, and it is irresistable to me. Roy (that's his name, because I asked) starts in on his spiel, putting his lotions and salts on my wrist. He asks me what my main skin problems are, and I tell him, and then he calls his kiosk colleague over, "Jean Paul! Jean Paul, I need you, please!" Then they stand back and look at me intently and subtly gesture while they discuss me a different language. Then he comes back over and says "you need the Dead Sea mud mask. It will help with your rosacea." Rosacea!? I do not have rosacea! I was just wearing a down coat in a warm mall, plus I was flushed with the embarrassment of gay men examining my aging skin.

I almost walked away at this point. But I don't. Of course I don't. He puts his mineral rich mask on my wrist and starts saying funny things which in turn make me grab his arm and say "I love you." I know, I'm a full-on FREAK, but I am completely out of control at this point. Roy clutches me back and says "Oh honey. Not many people understand me."

Please know that I am totally aware that I am being played. He's a salesman and I'm a customer. I've seen G-String Divas on HBO. I know that the best salespeople feign personal relationships in order to cash in. As he's talking to me, I fully realize that he's camping up the gay for me. But I want to reward his effort and fun-loving nature and somehow make up for his sad kiosk life.

So I decide that I must have the Dead Sea mask that will help with my rosacea. He tells me an outrageous price, a La Mer price (the small jar). Hello! Even I am not that stupid; I kind of do a "bitch, please!" facial expression, and kindly tell him that there's no way I'm paying that kind of money for a kiosk product.

He stares at me for a moment and says in his accented voice "how much are you willing to spend today?" At this point I should have said "Nothing. Good day sir," and walked off, but instead, I say half of the full price because I am a total fucking idiot. He talks to Jean Paul in the foreign language, probably something along the lines of "Oh yeah! I'm gonna make her think she's getting a total deal. Watch this shit." He also does some very convincing tip-tapping on his calculator. He comes back to me and says "come up $6 and it's yours. But you mustn't tell anyone! Not a soul or I will get in big trouble." So of course I come up $6 because we are now co-conspirators as well as BFFs. On my receipt, he writes down his name and his email address and tells me to write him if my rosacea doesn't clear up. But I don't even care. The deal is done. The show is over and I'm already regretting my purchase.

I see him take the mud mask box from the shelf and surreptitiously wipe dust off of it. It still has dust on it when I bring it home and hide it under the sink in the bathroom. I don't even use it for a week, and then when I do, it is not life changing. Shocker. Did I tell you that you remove the mud mask with a little magnet? Yes. The shame.

So yeah. This was a wake-up call. Buying a semi-expensive beauty product at a kiosk for a facial condition that I do not have is the recovering alcoholic's equivalent to waking up naked, in a park, after an all night bender. Time to sober up before I start ordering from the Home Shopping Network.

Does anyone else have this problem? Buying because you like/feel sorry for the salesperson? I thought I'd had this problem beat but certain situations can still get to me. Maybe I need a sponsor. Or, maybe I can be Lindsay Lohan's sober companion and we can keep each other straight. While she pays me $750 a day. Does anyone have her phone number?


Mint Julep said...

I used to have that problem, but now I just stick 'em the bird.

Petunia Face said...

How much do I love you for this post? Oodles, my fellow shopoholic crunching bags deep into the dark back of my closet friend. Oodles.

faithsalutes said...

I don't have this problem...but if you are sitting outside of the grocery store trying to raise money for got me. Jerks.

I clean out my closet every couple of months and somehow still find shit to donate, It is unbelievable really.

kelly said...

it's not your fault. it is those Dead Sea Lotion Selling Gay Boys... They have spread to nearly every mall in the country! Stay away! I went through the same song and dance last month! My husband had to tear me away before I bought the nail buffer and cuticle softener... one for me, my mom, and my sister. Don't blame yourself.

Brilliant Asylum said...

Don't beat yourself up. Even though I had totally forgotten about G-String Divas, I remember their power of persuasion. It happens to the best of us.

Richie Designs said...

I stay in major stores so that if one of those people get me I can return to another and not feel bad.

I have to say a jar of anything...promising life altering things gets me - add a gay man and I'm a done.

Last weekend while running into Macy's for a "jar of miracles" with the boyfriend A] I had to explain to him why a man was at the Mac makeup counter selling B] how he probably out sold all of the women just because he's a gay man and we think they have gods gift to make us prettier.

Elaine said...

The same exact thing happened to Haley and I at a mall kiosk. Gay Israeli accent and the whole 9-yards. Except it was a nail buffer. The most miraculous nail buffer we had ever seen. Sister, I am with you. I am sooo with you. Don't fight it. As Beck would say, it's a lost cause.


We still have to chat! I've been a flake.

mamacita said...

Girl, you know you cannot even make EYE CONTACT with those people, because they will lead you down the primrose path, straight into a shame spiral.

(I'm pretty sure I could have included more cliches in that sentence if I had tried.)

Suzy said...

Oh thank you for admitting this in public...I too have this problem. And the worst thing is that you're totally standing there knowing you'll buy that crap...getting less and less enthused about it as they go on with their pitch, and by the time you walk away with the stuff you don't need that cost way too much, you totally don't dig it anymore!
Living in Asia helps though, you do get very good at not making eye contact, otherwise they'll bail you up for hours!

SGM said...

MJ--love that idea.
PF--I love you even more. Let's go shopping sometime!
Faith--I can avoid the grocery store people unless they are children (girls scouts, etc.). They must be making bank.
Kelly--you know them! STAY AWAY is right.
BA, you watched that show too? I wonder where they are now, after spilling all of their blood-sucking tactics?
Richie--so true! I would buy anything from a fun/cool/eyeliner-wearing gay man.
Elaine--they must train their workers on the accent and the gay? Genius strategy.
Mamacita--so right on the eye contact. Give 'em and inch and they'll take a mile.
Suzy, thank you. maybe we should start a support group. Except you're in Asia. Bummer.

Mrs. Blandings said...

I wish I could reimburse you because the cost of the mud was worth my amusement.

I am Trish Marie said...

I still maintain that I do NOT have a shopping problem. Though, those around me disagree. I just really like Javier, the gay man at Guess that knows me by name, always brings me clothes a size too small, and then tells me he could have sworn I looked like that size. Damn him. I get hooked every time. And I own lost of Guess clothes.

i suwannee said...

oh. my. god. i just fell out of my chair.

i suwannee said...

ewh, i forgot to tell you.

i bought a wig.

from those ppl in the middle.

moving on....

Petunia Face said...

And I bought a Fall. Isn't that what they're called? The big chunk of fake hair that is sort of 1968 diner lady with heavy blue eyeshadow? Worse than extensions. Yeah, Mr. Gay Kiosk man said it matched my hair perfectly and looked luscious. I feel for the Fall.

Habitually Chic said...

Has anyone ever tried to walk through the Saks beauty department in NYC? It takes an iron will and absolutely no eye contact to make it through without buying something you don't need just so you can make it to the elevator to go upstairs to the shoe mecca. Actually, shoes are my downfall. I think I need a support group for that habit!

Dirty Pirate Hooker said...

I have the problem of tipping people too much who "make nice" with me...I try at all costs to keep my relationship with my server on a you bring me food and I'll eat it basis...but when they give you free stuff and make it seem like they're "hookin you up", I feel bad for them and tip em, a really good tip...I usually hate myself afterwards.

Sucker For Marketing said...

I will admit here to all of you that I was also suckered in by the Dead Sea people, but the most embarassing thing was that the kiosk employee was a teenage american girl, and I still bought the stuff. I fell for the nail care buffer thing (which I do love, and still use.) The best part about my story is that I was at the Mall of America (I know, that is a story in itself) and I had forgotten to pack the lotion in my suitcase for the plane trip home, and I had to THROW IT OUT (as in the trashcan) in security at the airport...I know those overweight women who work for the TSA were itching to get into that trashcan for some free lotion.

Leah said...

Oh, god. I've *so* been there -- down to the morning-after shame and the shopping spoils (aka evidence) hidden away in the basement.

Hilarious post, though -- I wish I could grab *your* wrist and say, "I love you," SGM.


maison21 said...

ok, i think dead sea roy is a gypsy grifter pretending to be gay just to take your monies.

come hang out with me, sgm- i'll bullshit about britney with you, and you won't have to buy anything you don't need. well, maybe a cocktail.

i'll for sure keep you away from the dreaded kiosks, too- no real gay man would stop at a kiosk, let alone work at one.

thanks for the laugh.

Pink Wallpaper said...

oh my...that might have been the funniest thing ever. what were you thinking...a kiosk! actually, i think my face stuff is sold at a kiosk too. i use proactiv...i figured jessica simpson needs some love after her divorce settled.

Q.S. said...

This made me laugh so hard, by myself, out loud. And I snorted. I also, am a shopaholic... Do you know of a good support group? (for those of us who really don't want to get better?!)