Sunday, November 13, 2005

High-Pressure Sales Pitch

When did navigating the mall become an Olympic sport? The first floor Giant Slalom - between Macy's and the food court.

I went to the mall the other day to buy my daughter a Christmas outfit. I innocently thought that I could put Julia in her stroller, wheel her over to the store of my choice, buy the outfit and then leave. Silly Mommy. Now you have to do the bob and weave through a different breed of shopping - the Mall Kiosks. Ah, the good old days of the mall - popping into to different stores with little interuption. Sure, you'd occassionally run into a particularly cheeky sales person who worked for commission, but for the most part you could browse in relative peace. Now there are vendors lined down the center of the mall aisles selling everything from Tupperware to t-shirts to fake hair. Also, stuffed animals, jewelry and - get this - replacement windows! (I don't know about you but when I think of windows, I think of heading to my local mall.) And if this wasn't bad enough, now you get accosted every 5 feet by another person from one of these kiosks, like barkers in a carnival - "Ma'am, I'd like to talk to you about your cell phone plan." Or, "Ma'am could I give you this?" (Whatever "this" was!! I have no idea, I didn't give them the opportunity.)

Now, I'm constantly on the lookout - as a new Mom I guess I have a bullseye on my forehead, so I've learned to walk very fast. But I almost got caught the day we were looking for the Christmas outfit... As we were heading to the mall exit the baby chucked her toy off the side of the stroller (Shocking!). Up ahead I saw that I was spotted by a kiosk employee. I had to make a quick decision - save ourselves, leave the toy and incur the wrath of Cranky Baby or try to grab it without getting roped into a 15 minute sales pitch. This was not much of a choice, so I leaned down, swiped the toy off the floor and continued walking in one fluid motion. It was beautiful. As I sailed past I heard the man say "Ma'am, are you interested in a music CD customized with your baby's name?" Are you kidding me? But I gave him my most gracious smile and a "No, thank you" and we were outta there before he could say anymore.

We'll have to go back again, but I know what to look out for now. Swerve left around the cell phones, right around the electronic place and left again by the Christmas ornaments. But since I'm postpartum, maybe I should stop by the fake hair - I could use some!

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