Yeah, my new (*coff* 6 years old *coff*) chair broke. A wheel arm snapped and dumped me to the floor a few days ago. No lie, I am hard on my chairs. Not just being fat but I shift position constantly and pack my chair with support pillows and sit in it awkwardly with a leg tucked beneath me or I tilt way back and nap. Honestly? If I were my office chair I’d lodge a protest that my rights to humane treatment were being violated.
So my main Christmas present this year is a new chair. I ordered one from Staples. An extra-sturdy model meant for us larger folk. It’s supposed to arrive sometime this week.
Here’s something unusual…I did a live Facebook promo for the store on Tuesday. I didn’t think much beforehand but afterward I was like, “GAH! I was LIVE on FACEBOOK! And it could go VIRAL! And then I’ll be a meme like…
But apparently my extemporaneous blurt about the fulsomeness of ShopRite’s holiday area was deemed unsatisfactory by some corporate gank. One further up the chain than the one who asked me to do the promo in the first place. She was a sweetie. And she seemed delighted with my 3 minutes of improv about all the amazing goodies which would make the customers’ winter holiday breezy, delicious, ridiculously inexpensive and good smelling. Really, could anyone ask for more from their grocer? No. But within hours my live-streamed glurt of enthusiasm had been taken down. A few people had seen it and sent me texts about how adorable I was as a ShopRite spokesperson but I never got to see it. Honestly I’m glad. One straightfoward look at my chins and jowls and I’d have to drive off a cliff.
Man, I have a newfound appreciation for those Buzzfeed kids. The ones who make the videos. I know that 99% of the time they can re-shoot and edit, but y’all, doing video is HARD. Especially live.
Why do it then? Feh. Why not? What did I do between the ages of 4 – 17? I sold stuff. With my pantomimed enthusiasm about truly ugly polyester sportswear and dubious snack products. What did I do between the ages of 19 and 35? I sold stuff. With my delight about the $3.99 pancake special at the diner, with proprietary joy at my bookstore telling my scant few customers that ‘All mysteries are 2 for 1 today’, and after taking on management of a store in Sugar Loaf I did a lot of animated pitching about Fenton Art Glass baskets and a select collection of handcrafted kaleidoscopes. I know, right? How bizarre. Then I sold cars. All kinds of cars and was damn good at it.
Selling, apparently, is what I do. And I refuse to be ashamed about it anymore. I was for a long time. How creepy and slimy is it to be really, really talented at sales? Yuck-o. Thinking on it though I’ve realized a few things- I’ve never told a lie in the pursuit of a sale. Plus, while I AM very persuasive I am NOT a bully. And aside from assisting some profoundly drunk people navigate the menu at the diner I’ve never sold anything to anyone who was unable to think clearly.
My success at sales comes from a sincere desire to help. I sold so many cars not because I was slick and fast talking but because I helped my clients find the RIGHT car. (Well, that and after letting the husband mansplain to me all about the cars I’d gone to training school for and had personally disassembled and reassembled as part of that training, and had been selling for years [yeesh] I got with the wife and talked with her about what SHE wanted from a vehicle and what their actual budget was. Fun Fact: 88% of car purchases in the US the final approval comes from a woman.) Helping, not scamming. Listening. Knowing my product and understanding how what I have to offer might be what my client needs.
Example: This past March I was on the phone with a customer going over her order (S.O.P. for my department) and she asks about the serving sizes for the corned beef she was buying. Then she tells me it’s the first time she was making a traditional St Patrick’s dinner. I assure her that it will be fine. Boiled Irish is easy if you have the right stuff. So she and I go over the dinner prep together. She tells me how many she’s feeding and I run the list of things she’s going to need. Some items she’d over-ordered and others she’d gotten too little and other things she’d missed altogether. I explained about cooking techniques and went over the whole menu a few times while she took notes and asked questions. By the time we were finished her total had gone up about $40. BUT now she felt like she knew what she was doing and was confident about hosting a grand feast on St Patrick’s Day. Did I upsell her by $40? Yes. Was she a happy customer who was going to make a terrific meal and feel good about herself? Yes. My intent had not been to bloat her order, my intent was a satisfied customer who’d keep shopping with us. Win-win, yes?
Wow. Hadn’t started out to write a treatise on the methods and ethics of sales, but here we are. It’s discouraging sometimes, that’s all. I dislike being associated with a profession that has such an unethical rep. Especially because I am not a liar or trickster. Meh, enough.
What else has gone on with me in the past 37 days?
I’ve been reading. Of course.
Yes, I have a copy of ‘Sleeping Beauties’. No, I haven’t started it yet. I know, I know, LA has new King and hasn’t gone face first into it like an off the wagon diabetic into a banana cream pie?
What can I say? This. This I can say. For one thing I’m having an intense love affair with ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern. I’m almost finished but am dragging my feet and savoring because I’m a reveur and do not want it to be over. Such a gorgeous dream. Magic and science and showmanship and belief and heartbreak and hope and wishes on the brightest thing in the sky even if it’s really an airplane.
This book is so gorgeous it’s joined ‘The Good Earth’ and ‘Cannery Row’ on my list of stories that can always break my heart. I know I’ve quoted it before but I consider this to be the best paragraph ever written. At least in English. Actually, American because Steinbeck is our Shakespeare.
“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, “whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches,” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holymen” and he would have meant the same thing.”
I will never, ever, ever write something even one tenth as wonderful.
The other reason I’ve been putting off ‘Sleeping Beauties’ is Owen. Actually Steve’s absurd favoritism for his youngest child. It’s irked me for YEARS. Okay, I get it. Joe and Naomi were born during the miserable years. During the struggle. The pre-‘Carrie’ years. And Owen was the ‘fun’ child. The one that came along when he had the time and money to enjoy him. But in all the notes and anecdotes and interviews and dedications that youngest kid is made out to be a sparkle unicorn who farts glitter and shits gold while his elder siblings are all but ignored and if mentioned they are always the cause of misery and stumbling blocks to success. Frankly, as the elder child and impetus for a hasty marriage and having lived through the exact same kind of favoritism toward my younger sister whose provenance was assured and arrival was welcome I cannot help but be bitter about my literary crush’s blatant out-sized adoration for his younger son. Stephen King’s gaa-gaa googly-eyed gushing over how he and his baby boy wrote a whole book together! Bah, it makes me pukey.
Yeah, I’ll read it. But I’ll be grading harshly and there will be no curve.
What else? Oh yeah, Thanksgiving. Nice. No, seriously. For once SIL and her hubs came by. On their way to one of his sister’s places but they stayed for a couple hours and we had nibbles and some goofy jokes and a genuinely nice visit. MIL was here, of course. And Sebastian was here too. It was the most relaxed holiday in quite some time. Expansive and intimate. Ended up with too much pie, but there are worse things than too much pie. All in all it was a good Thanksgiving.
My other media consumption is this:
Oy, you cannot believe how long I waited for this show. I first watched the pilot back in June. I’d revisit it every couple months. Always coming away starving to know what came next. Fierce. Feminist. Funny. Set about 15 years too early to reflect my exact life I still get this show. I get it. Raised in a world where a woman’s role was to be the mirror that reflected back the man’s greatness, a fun house mirror that made him 7 feet tall and brilliant even if he was 5’6″ and as exciting as an oatmeal bowel movement. What do you do when you’ve played by the rules and shrunk yourself down and dimmed your light and turned all your gifts toward HIS happiness? You do all of that and he leaves you anyway? For a ditz? Some pea-brained dope who’d never challenge his fragile ego?
Midge Maisel is figuring it out. And taking us along with her.
It’s difficult not to gobble this season. Just binge my way through. But I waited too long and her story is too important and hilarious not to give it respect and the attention it deserves.
There you go. A highlight reel of the past 37 days. Is it everything? Nope. Is it enough? Yeah.
Much love, ~LA