Why is it, when I go shopping, the cashier will not give me the purchased items until I complete a personal questionnaire? I went to the craft store last week and had two items to buy, but before the clerk would let me leave she peppered me with questions.
“Did you find everything you were looking for?”
“Oh, that is too bad. Well what did you not find?”
“Just a thing for my sister.”
“Would you like me to special order it for you?”
“Ok. Well will this be all then?”
“Cash or charge?”
“Would you like a bag?”
“Can I get your zip code?”
“Would you like to be added to our preferred customer list?”
“It will only take a second, you just need to fill out a short form. Are you sure?”
“I really don’t want to.”
“Ok, well would like to be added to our email list? We can send you coupons and sales announcements.”
“Have you heard about our facebook page? If you visit our FB page you can get $5 off of your next purchase.”
“Would you like to get one of our credit cards today? If you do you will save 10% on today’s purchase.”
“My total is $4.80 today. I wouldn’t even save two quarters.”
The clerk stares blankly.
“Ok, I guess you are all set then. On your receipt you have a chance to win a $500 gift card just for filling out a survey. Would you like the receipt with you or in the bag?”
“In. The. Bag.”
“And . . .”
“Shhhhhh. No more questions.”
“But . . .”
“Zip it. Now here is how this is gonna go down. I am taking my items and I am leaving the store. And there had better not be anyone following me. Now, hand me the bag nice and slow and no one gets hurt.”
I know, I know, I know, it is their job. All these stores are trying to make money and improve the customer experience. Well how about they just sell stuff I need and let bygones-be-bygones? Why is every purchase tracked and monitored and categorized and analyzed and tallied to death? Just because I buy this item, does not mean I will want the other item you suggested and texted, emailed, couponed, cataloged or otherwise notified me about! I am a complex woman! You cannot predict the future based upon my past purchases . . . I don’t think.
Because of this type of salesmanship I am currently on the lam from Pottery Barn. That is right, Pottery Barn is stalking me. The trouble started with one free gift card from the credit card people, “Based on your shopping habits we thought you would enjoy a gift card to Pottery Barn.”
If you are unfamiliar with Pottery Barn, or PB, let me just say. It is like Crack to middle-aged white women. And no matter how much of it I have, it is never enough. First I bought a bench, which was no big thing because I needed one. Then I bought a lamp which was not a problem, because who wouldn’t need more lamps, right? Next it was a blanket and some decorative throw pillows, which concerned me, but I was still of the mind that I ‘could stop anytime I wanted to.’ But one thing led to another and now, I am a full-fledged addict.
I personally blame PB because they pursued me like a rabid-dog. After my first purchase it was a catalog here, a catalog there. Next thing I know it is PB kids, then PB teen, then PB Dorm, then West Elm and Restoration Hardware and Ballard Designs. The list goes on and on. The catalogs have taken over my life and they know how to pinpoint my interests so well that I can’t just throw them away. Why not IKEA? I can resist IKEA.
PB has their grubby little hands in everything. They are like Oprah, only not gender-specific and not on TV. You get my point. I have tried to warn people about this phenomenon but no one will listen. My husband, AKA: the enabler, even takes me shopping at PB.
Me: Oh, how I love the smell of aged hardwood and fine veneers.
Hubs: It looks old.
Me: It is distressed.
Hubs: Me too, about the price of buying new stuff that looks old.
Me: It is artistic.
Hubs: No, its not.
Me: I can’t talk to you.
Hubs: Ok. I am totally fine with that.
It is not just PB though. Other stores are stalking me too. They gather info about me and they use it against me. But that is not the worst part, the most horrific thing is they “tell specially selected third parties” and next thing you know, it is a consumer firestorm.
Hubs: You cannot “go postal” on clerks at the GAP just for asking for your email address.
Me: Did you see how tenacious they were? I didn’t think we would make it out of their alive. I thought I was gonna have to cut them with my credit card!
Hubs: Um, I guess I missed it.
Me: I know you don’t believe me, but it is a conspiracy.
Hubs: Getting emailed coupons is a conspiracy?
Me: Yes! First it is the GAP, next thing you know it is Old Navy, then Macy’s and Banana Republic and Nordstroms. You do not want me to get coupons for Nordstroms.
Hubs: You lost me at the conspiracy thing.
Me: I get an email from Williams-Sonoma every single day! Taunting me with sales and specials and free shipping. The Pro-flowers people called me last week, twice! I cannot handle the pressure.
Hubs: Have you gotten any coupons from the Prozac people? Those might come in handy.
So, I have decided I am the master of my fate and I am going to take action. I am quitting. That is right. Cold-turkey. Those marketers can try all they want, but I am on to them and their sadistic plot to get me to buy more stuff. I am strong and like that one bumper sticker said, “just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t after you.”
“Hey Mom, the mail came.”
“Just bills and, like, fifty catalogs.”