Tuesday, 15 October 2013

I'll Be Down at the Mall

I was on my back to the motel. Striding along the polished linoleum, head down, jacket zipped ready to brace the wind through the automatic glass doors beyond. I was approached from the left. I stopped. Fool. One dab of free hand cream turned into a sales pitch nightmare. 

‘Come come, give me five minutes,’ she implored.

I got the nail buff. ‘This takes out the ridges that make your nails crack and split.’

My fingernails grow like horses’ hooves; I clip them back once a week. They never crack.

‘See this dry skin?’ (healthy cuticle) ‘One drop of this, oil and poof it’s gone.’

‘What kind of oil is that?’ I’m sold on the merits of argan, rosehip and avocado.

‘All our products come from the Dead Sea in Israel. All natural oils.’ 

Debatable geography.

She stood too close to me. In my space. ‘My mother’s a great cook. But she cooks, then she leaves. Others clean up after her. I think you’re the same?’

‘No I’m a pretty tidy cook,’ I said feebly. The ‘we have things in common ploy’. Mmmm.

She dabbed nail polish remover proving the, shine was-not-an-illusion, over my buffed nails. 

‘Today a special price for you.’ She held the boxed magic nail set in her hand. ‘First pack $99.99, second pack $99.99 but today only, third pack free.’

$100 bucks for a nail buffer. ‘No thanks.’

‘What do you do?’

‘I grow flowers.’ 

‘You live on a farm? I don’t believe it. You don’t look after your nails? But why, you look after everything else. Look at you. Treat yourself. Today only, 1st pack $99.99 and second pack free.’

Golly that's what I call on the spot discounting. I turned to leave.

‘Go on treat yourself.’

‘I have. I just bought a pair of sunglasses.’ Splashed out. Le Specs, could be Karen Walker but only $69.00. ‘Do you sell a lot?’

‘Yes lots of people buy three packs for Christmas presents.’

I idly dug dirt out from under my fingernails. ‘Look, great sales pitch but I’m not buying anything.’ 

Water off a ducks back.

Nec minnit, she had me sat down on a stool. I’m sure one of her thighs was on the outside of mine, wedging me in. What was going on? I don’t suffer fools or salespeople. But this young woman had cornered me with her endless spiel and aside from making a run for it I was stuck. She was a hungry snake charmer. 

Surely there must be a yellow vested security guy hovering somewhere to tell her TIMES UP. Don’t mess with the shoppers. If they’re not buying, they don’t want it.

‘I’m going to Queenstown next week,’ she said, cheerily. ‘What should I do?’

I ran off a list of high risk adrenaline infused activities. 

‘I leave it to the boys to decide.’

Hells bells the whole kit and kibbutz-oodle was in Christchurch flogging the Dead Sea promise. I hope they have work permits, are getting paid properly and their bosses aren't ripping off the IRD. Should I inform John Key or the MP for Riccarton?

Something just didn’t feel right. I’m all for free trade, but shouldn’t we be promoting Rotorua Mud Minerals in our malls. Not imported, non FDA (or equivalent approved) Dead Sea cosmetics. Hardly carbon neutral.

I clutched my handbag to my bosom as her brown eyes bore into mine. She was not at all deterred by my stubbornness and refusal to get out my credit card. She thought she could break me. She got a little patronizing. ‘Now tell me which finger do we apply our eye makeup with?’

I was tempted to flip her the bird but it would have gone up her nostril. Her thick wavy hair fell forwards as she rubbed in liberal amounts of the magic eye gel. I took note in the magnified mirror for the before and after affect. 

Immediately my eyes started to tighten. Must have been all that salt drawing out the puff and bag, like she said. I have to admit it did seem to reduce my crow’s feet. But I wasn’t exactly smiling. 

Then she hit me with the price. ‘$279.00 for 30mls,’ and started raving on how long it would last.

‘It’s 30 mls?’ I said. ‘Three months max.’

‘Have you travelled the world?’ she said. ‘Now I’m putting on the eye cream.’

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Europe, Africa, Asia.’

‘My country?’

‘Are you going to travel to my country?’

‘No, it’s not a country on my list.’ I said politely. ‘Look, you’ve worked really hard. But I’m not going to buy anything. And I really must go.’

‘I need to get your trust,’ she said. 

God then she came on a bit strong. ‘Look, you’re beautiful. I want to help you.’

‘Yeah aging sucks doesn’t it.’ She was 29.

‘Look at these pictures. I’m not on commission you know? I’m the manager.’ Out came her I-phone and some heavily photo-shopped before and afters. 

‘No,’ I repeated. She stood up. Now was my chance. Still clutching my handbag I rose. Thirty minutes must have past. 

‘I want to give you something.’

‘Please don’t. Look I’ll take some samples but I have to go, my daughter’s worried about me (she’d just texted). Her and me both.

She fiddled round on her computer. That cloudy sky and those automatic doors tantalizingly close. I thought she was going to give me a couple of sachets and release me. 

‘I can give you today 50% off. I’m not here tomorrow.’

‘No thanks,’ I turned to go. My face twitched annoyance and she was starting to look pissed off too. She had one last go. 

‘Just today I’ll sell you the nail pack for $49.99, that’s 50% off.’

I turned and walked away. Hoping I’d never see her again. 

Note: Freaky shopping experience aside, it appears the Dead Sea products are highly controversial and political from what I read in these articles: Dead Sea Sales Scam NZ , Israel Accused Dead Sea Occupied 

I would read these links if you’re contemplating purchasing any Dead Sea Products. I for one will be sticking to made in NZ brands.


  1. Yvette Carol said :
    Wow, I'm amazed you were kind-hearted enough to stick with it. I'd have issued a terse NO THANK YOU and high-tailed it out of there. You're a better woman than me, Jane Bloomfield. p.s. I didn't know you were a flower grower!

  2. I would normally bolt in such circumstances, Yvette. I don't know what came over me. Her incessant high velocity in ya face chat just left me stunned I think? And yes, I grow peonies. I've written about them somewhere on here! Search 'peonies'.


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