Saturday, December 19, 2009
Sell, sell, sell
First, I was trying to find out if they still made Arpege (by Lanvin). My mum's favorite is the dusting powder, which went out of production about ten years ago, so I was browsing in Boots (no luck) when approached by a helpful assistant.
"Arpege" I said when asked. "By Lanvin". A totally blank look. "How about Dior?" she replied, hopefully. "Nope." I replied, "I'm looking for Arpege. I don't know if they still make it."
"I've never heard of it. Who's it for?"
"She'd probably like..." And off she went, pulling bottles off shelves and brandishing them my direction.
"I really only wanted Arpege." Her face fell, and she started looking as though she was going to spray me with something. I got the impression she'd spray me with pepper spray if she got the chance.
"It's probably an old one. You should get her something else." Decidedly aggressive now.
I wriggled away, unsprayed, unsold. Walked down the aisle, and was grabbed by a woman lurking in the moisturiser section with what looked like one of those speed guns that the cops point from the side of the road.
"Your skin, I need to check your skin." She looked desperate, I made the mistake of allowing myself to be dragged to a chair, where she took my shopping off me. "How old are you?"
I told her, as she pushed the gun to my face.
"Your elasticity is great." Not great enough, otherwise I'd be springing away like that guy from the Fantastic Four. "But your skin is dangerously dehydrated." God, how am I going to get away from this one? "I know, I didn't moisturise this morning."
"And by this evening, the levels will keep falling..." She stared at me earnestly, grabbing my hand and squirting gloop on it. Not my poor parched face, please note, but the back of my hand. "Now, you know Cheryl Cole, she uses this." It's Christmas, so I didn't tell her that in my opinion I could swim in the stuff and it wasn't going to change me into Cheryl. A face lift, tummy tuck, and bucket load of extensions wouldn't even do that.
She smoothed it over my poor parched hand. "There are a thousand litres of water in this jar alone..." One again I internally cursed my propensity for being nice. "How do they do that?" I raised an eyebrow, hearing a crack from my dangerously dehydrated face. No sense of humour then.
"They concentrate it." Spoken patiently as if to a moron. That was it. "Well, thanks and all that, but I'm not going to buy it." She stopped mid stream and stared at me as if I'd broken her heart. "Right." She turned away, leaving me and my dangerously dehydrated face to wander free.
I thought I was away from it all until I got grabbed by a twenty something man outside M&S. "Let me see your nails," he demanded imperiously, grabbing my hand. "I'm just..." I tried, but having grabbed he wasn't for letting go. "So, lazy or busy?"
"Busy being lazy?" I ventured, trying to pull away.
"Let me show you..." he breathed, rubbing at my middle finger with a block of sandpaper. A shiny pink nail emerged. "There!" he said triumphantly. "You're nail is in good condition, it just needs this." He pulled a box down and waved it in front of me. "For 29 euros your nail can be happy again."
For 29 euros I could get a bucketful of chocolate, then I'd be happy again.
"I'm not buying for me today." I waved at the handful of bags. "Christmas presents." He changed tack instantly, gazing into my face and batting long eyelashes. "You have children."
A bit of a no brainer, considering the state of me.
"Do they have the same eyes as you?" Startled at the tangent this was taking, I nodded, feeling decidedly uncomfortable. "That's good." He purred, opening a bottle and making me smell it. "Vanilla, it's delicious, yes?"
"Thanks, but I'm not buying." Once again, I found an opportunity for escape as the light went out of his eyes, and he looked like he was going to cry. "Thanks anyway, David." (He'd told me he was called David, when he thought I was going to spend 29 euros on a nail file.) "Happy Christmas."
I scuttled away, feeling like a mummy with one moisturised hand, and a shiny nail. The badges of being nice during the Christmas selling season.
Posted by Sally Clements at 3:30 PM