Calling all scantily dressed, gum smacking, stiletto wearing hookers on Rodeo Drive (and by hookers I mean average moms in workout clothes running errands at the mall,) wash your hair and put some makeup on for Gucci’s sake! I mean, what the frump were you thinking? Well, clearly, I wasn’t thinking, or maybe I was thinking. I was thinking that famous scene from Pretty Woman, the one where Julia Roberts gets the
shaft (wrong choice of word there) errrrr....gets the cold shoulder from a couple of snooty sales people, a scene that is almost 25 years old (process that little time warp nugget for a sec) doesn’t actually happen anymore. And then I found myself in a mall having to pee like a racehorse, and the closest bathroom was in the Neiman Marcus. Here goes nothing. Now, let me preface by saying I didn’t actually approach one of the sales people, who by their looks assumed I was homeless, so I don’t truly know how I would have been treated. But wow, the looks! Maybe I’m paranoid, I dunno, but the stares were practically going through me. My hair in a ponytail, fleece pullover, tennis shoes, and track pants (NOT yoga pants- they had a button and a zipper!) I headed into the holy grail of $500 tank tops, and made a bee line for the loo. If stares could kill, I’d be on a very cold slab today. I looked around at the other people shopping, but there weren’t many. The shopper to sales person ratio looked to be about 5:1. What the hell do all these sales people do for you? Rub your feet, clean out your purse, fetch you lattes, braid your hair, and paint your nails while you shop? I will admit, the shoppers I did see were dressed exquisitely. I get it, they were in their element, and I wasn’t. But that’s no reason to do the once over on me and assume. ASS-ume. We all know it makes an ass out of U and ME. I immediately felt small, very, very small. Unworthy. Degraded. Less than? Not sure I have ever had that feeling in the usual places I shop. Wait, I take that back. I once went into a yarn store in New York City, located a block or two off Fifth Avenue. Every hank of yarn was pure cashmere. I tried to picture a venture capitalist’s wife coming in here, dropping $1,000 on yarn, and making her maid knit her a sweater. Who knew elitist yarn shops existed?
Anyway, I just felt overwhelmingly judged. Listen, I’m no saint. I judge people all the time. We all get and quickly process first impression thoughts about people. It’s human nature. But usually empathy or wisdom kicks in soon after. And that wisdom tells me I truly don’t know squat about that person’s life. Nothing. Nada. We just don’t know. I may look at the mom in Wal-Mart, pushing around a barefoot baby who is not dressed warm enough, and first think “Lord, put some clothes and shoes on that baby.” But then I step back. I have no idea where this mom is coming from. Maybe that is the best she can do. (And really, who hasn’t gotten to a store and realized your kid has no shoes on!) Maybe she worked a third shift last night, and picked up her kid from the babysitter like this. Maybe the mom dragging whiny kids who are begging for snacks through the Target, didn’t have time to make them breakfast because she was taking care of an aging parent, or her husband has been deployed for 10 months and she is running on fumes. Maybe the mom at the playground, sitting alone on her phone and not interacting with her kids, who (GASP!) didn’t bring drinks or snacks, is fighting a battle with depression, and just getting those kids to the park today was absolutely monumentally difficult for her. But she did it. I have learned long ago to stop judging mothers. You do not know the battles they are fighting. You don’t know where they are coming from. You don’t know from just a 30 second first impression anything about them. Or about me. You just DON’T. And those stuck up sales people at Neiman’s yesterday? A smile, a pleasant greeting, maybe a “How is your day going today?” could have gone a long, long way. Maybe I do need a pair of $150 socks today. Too bad you’ll never know.
Somewhere on the internet, or maybe in its employee workroom, there is a website or cork board called “People of Neiman Marcus.” Like “People of Wal-Mart,” it has photos of shoppers who really should not have left their house looking like that. Or in the least, should have used the bathroom in the food court, certainly not in the land of fashion extravagance. Maybe there is a picture of me, stopping for a sec on my way out of the store, to flip over the price tag on a tiny sequin covered tank top. $395. THREE HUNDRED NINETY FIVE DOLLARS. I could make that top in two hours with $10 worth of fabric from Jo-Ann’s. And have $385 leftover for cashmere yarn. Next time, I think I will just go ahead and pee in the food court. Cinnabon is there anyway. And last time I checked, baked goods NEVER judge you. Thank GOD.