Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Dirty Pants and an FM Transmitter

Last night I went to a friend's house after work to help him with his floors. I have worn the same pants while doing this for the past four days so as to only ruin one pair of pants. By the time I left his house yesterday, those pants were covered in brown stain, paint, dust, and a small measure of raw grime.

On the way home, I stopped in Legacy Village in Beachwood, Ohio to pick up an FM transmitter for my iPod Shuffle. If you don't already know, Legacy Village is a ritsy flitsy shopping center in Beachwood. It's one of those outdoor shopping centers that looks like a village. It has streets running through it, and very pricey yuppy stores all over the place. I was still covered in stain from helping J.P. but I figured it wouldn't matter as I wasn't going to give someone my money, and why would they care what I looked like as long as I gave them money.

Now, if I was running a store, I don't think I would give a rip about the people who came in to buy my merchandise. I can see having a dress code for a restaurant, or a theater or something like that. These places make money off of atmosphere, and they have to require the attendants to contribute to that atmosphere. But no one goes to the Apple store because people are well dressed inside. I thought I would be safe in my dirty clothes. I obviously was not a bum, and for all anyone knew, I was a tradesman on his way home.

When I walked in the door, the guy at the counter was at his computer. He looked up at me, looked down at my pants (which I can't blame him for) and then looked back at his monitor without saying anything. I walked straight up to the desk where he was standing and he looked up from the screen at me again, and then looked back down as if I weren't there. I was shocked. He had looked me in the eye, and then looked right back down at his monitor. So I engaged him.

"Hey, I need to pick up an FM transmitter for my iPod shuffle." I said. I figured that would communicate that I was there for a purpose, I wasn't just browsing, and maybe he could help me with it.

"They suck." He responded. Now, maybe he was trying to be helpful, but that's all he said. And then he looked right back at the screen. Maybe he was busy.

"They suck?" I asked. "Do they not work at all? Or do they just not put out Hi-Fi sound, because I'm not looking for digital sound in the car, I just want to listen to the shuffle while I drive, and I can't use the headphones."

He sighed deeply and looked up at me. "They're forty bucks." He said and looked back down. I couldn't believe how unhelpful he was being. Excuse me? Their forty bucks? That's all you can do to help me? I thought. I'm guessing he was busy on whatever it was he was working on, and he didn't want to quit halfway through to help me with something that it looked like I couldn't afford.

"Are they returnable?" I asked. I guess he finally recognized that I wasn't going anywhere and he rested his hands on the top of the screen.

"Yeah." He said.

"Okay, then how about I get one of those, and if it sucks, I'll return it."

"Fine." he said, and looked back down at the screen again. I didn't know where they were, and I wasn't about to fight the kid to take my money and I nearly walked right out. Just then, another guy walked over.

"Hey are you busy?" I asked the other guy.

"No." he said, "What do you need?"

So I told him what I was looking for, and the kid said "I was going to get it Rob."

I said, "It's okay, you're working on something, and he's not. I'll just have him get it so I don't have to interrupt what you're doing." And Rob looked over at the kid's screen.

Rob walked over to grab me a transmitter. He rang me up real quick and I turned to walk out of the store.

As I pushed open the door, I heard Rob say to the kid, "Solitaire?" and the kid replied, "I didn't think he was going to buy it."

Now, maybe I'm looking for something to complain about, but seriously. If I'm in your store asking to spend my money, who cares how clean my pants are?

1 comment:

gretchen said...

love it, love it. your 'i don't give a rip' attitude is fabulous. what a great psychological experiment that would be to dress badly and to monitor reactions. come to think of it, it's probably being done. in fact, i did it for a class once. nevermind. okaythen.