I meet the best people on Twitter. Case in point – my next guest blogger Ali Trotta. I adore her not only because we have wine and coffee and Amanda Palmer in common but because her writing comes from a place of honesty. She writes unafraid and with quirk. Two things that float my boat.
So read on.
Sell Me the Moon by Ali Trotta
The other day, I went out to buy something. Unfortunately, this endeavor involved several sales people, both of which were condescending. I suspect it was because of my girl parts, and the fact that I didn’t exhibit the proper behavior befitting a lady. In retrospect, the experience is pretty funny, given that the salesman (we’ll call him Bob) immediately asked if I knew anything about the item I was looking for. Gee, sir, no. I don’t know anything. *twirls hair* I just wandered into your establishment by accident. Do you think you might educate me?
Or not. You see, my requirements boiled down to one simple thing: a good price. That’s it. I was there to make a good deal. Now, initial condescension aside, Bob may have lied straight to my face, saying that the price I’d heard about couldn’t be possible. He retrieved a laptop, insisting that I show him where I saw said price. He seemed incredulous when I showed him, on his company’s own website, the price I was talking about. (It was a huge difference from the price offered me, which flew about as well as an ostrich tethered to a tree.) Bob promptly blinked at the screen and went to fetch his manager.
The manager arrived, smiling kindly with a soft voice. We’ll call him Snake Eyes. He was about as genuine as fool’s gold. You can imagine, if you like, an oiled up, snake-like guy, wearing a vaguely Mr. T gold chain necklace and a smarmy smile – one that would suggest he’d sell his grandmother, if the mood struck. You can always imagine a look of extremely false sincerely, complete with an aw-shucks head shake. Every other sentence began with, “I really respect you…” making it very clear that there was no respect to be anywhere, as he lied straight to my face.
Suffice to say that there was a lot of back and forth nonsense. It did not yield the price I was prepared to pay, so I shook my head and declined the offer.
Snake Eyes: Gee, I’m really sorry that we weren’t able to help you. It’s such a shame. Sorry to disappoint you Ms. Trotta, I really am.
Right. I’m sure that you are, I shook his hand and shrugged. “Shit happens.”
Snake Eyes blinked, unsure of what to say for about five seconds – five seconds that suggested he wasn’t prepared for my response. I suspect that, given my rather quiet demeanor, I was expected to thank him for trying to help me – like a good, demure girl. I wasn’t supposed to say shit or not throw a Joffrey-style tantrum. Oops, my bad.
Snake Eyes Well, I…uh, that’s one of my favorite phrases, actually. I really like that. I just didn’t expect you to use it. That’s nice.
Sure, man. Whatever. I got up to leave. Snake Eyes followed with vague statements about why I really needed to make this deal. Halfway to the door, “Wait, don’t go.” I paused. He fled. I made idle chatter, looking like I did not have a care in the world. He returned, shook my hand, smiled a smile last seen on a serial killer and said, “Congratulations on your [purchase]!”
I got my price. I sat down with Bob to fill out the paperwork. It was a long process. I bopped along to the radio as I waited, because if there’s music, I’m most likely either singing or dancing. Even in the grocery store. I have no shame, people. NONE.
At one point, Bob looked at me and said, “For someone who’s buying a new [whatever], you sure don’t look happy.”
*blinks* What’s this now? First of all, Bob, you don’t know me. You don’t get to make judgments about my level of happiness. As a woman, was I supposed to sing, skip, or do cartwheels? Was I supposed to grin and laugh, like a ninny-headed moron? What, exactly, were you expecting? Because I don’t know. What I DO know is that I was not going to look excited until AFTER signing the paperwork, because I may be a crap poker player, but I know that nothing’s final until AFTER you have a contract. This was completely proven when you brought me something to sign that had the wrong price on it, and I had to send you back to get the one we agreed upon. You, of course, pretended not to notice, “Oh, my apologies. I don’t know how that happened.” Were you expecting me to sign it without reading it? I don’t even know.
Now, I know that a salesman’s job is to get a customer to pay the most amount of money possible. Maybe everyone was expecting me to throw a fit or cave in, because I’m a girl. Or because I didn’t say a whole lot. I don’t know. I do know that the correct way to bargain is to have a bottom line. It’s not to insult someone or imply that maybe they know nothing about the item they’re trying to purchase. Incidentally, I did overhear two of the women chatting after I walked by (they weren’t salespeople; they were administrative types), and let me tell you – it was SO refreshing to hear them comment on how skinny I am and how when they were my age, they were never that thin. And oh my goodness, look at my hair! Shouldn’t I cut it? Why would a woman grow it that long? (Note: both women had very short haircuts. Hello Judge-y McSnarkster!)
*blinks again* You can bet your ass I deliberately smiled at them when I walked by again. Largely, with lots of teeth. Because, honey, your envy might be showing, and you can gossip all you like, but that will never make you a nice person.
Annnnnyway, in the end, the story’s a happy one – because I got what I needed for what I wanted. And all was right in Whoville. However, it was really astounding how such businesses operate – and how some people still pull that sexist bullshit. I may be a girl, but I’m nobody’s definition of female. Don’t let the makeup fool you; I drink moonshine, and I know how to take a sink apart to fix it.
Ali Trotta: Writer, poet, dreamer, wielder of sarcasm, willing paradox, engaging contradiction, & occasional moment-thief. Slight case of Peter Pan syndrome. Follow her and her coffee obsessions on Twitter @alwayscoffee or read her blog here.