Saturday, March 1, 2014

Browsing in Faeryland - Part 2

Greetings, WYMOP readers!

Welcome to part II of my Browsing in Faeryland post! We last saw our hero... well, okay. Me. We last saw me while I was on a trip to Colorado, having made a quick stop at a used bookstore called 2nd&Charles to check out what they have, maybe browse a bit.
...two hours later, my friend SB and I are finally approaching the check-out counter with a strangely full shopping cart.

Let's rejoin the action!


As far as I can tell, there are just three ways for someone ringing up your purchases to break the news to you. Ranging from bad to worst, these are:

  1. Photo Courtesy of
    Tell you right up front and with a bang just how much you owe. This is the preferred method, as far as I’m concerned, because it’s a little like yanking off a bandage all in one go. Quick and easy, with a minimum of fuss, good for minor injuries. Excuse me, I meant totals.
  2. Tell you right up front how much you owe, followed quickly by how much you’ve saved. Whether by coupons, discounts, sales, or some combination of the three, you have managed not to pay as much as you could have. This, I have noticed, is a technique used to sometimes soften the blow, much like rubbing your skin after someone had slapped or struck it, or blowing on a blistered finger after touching a hot stove; it doesn’t do any real good, but boosts you up psychologically. Slightly. The damage is still there, you just feel a little better about it.
  3. The worst thing that can happen: They skip right past the total and tell you how much you’ve saved. “Look, I know you’ve spent”, they might as well be saying, “and we’ll get to that in a minute. But before I whack you in the face with a number that looks like it came out of the phone book, just look over here at how much you’ve saved! Isn’t that nice?”
    It’s the shopping equivalent of someone telling you to brace yourself before they punch

    you in the face. Or swing the sledgehammer, depending on just how much you spent. They’re not really helping you, they’re simply apologizing in advance. It’s a little bit like a very polite, yet violent mugging.
    I’ve seen this technique used to great effect on women, who are otherwise terrific shoppers, the effects lasting, occasionally, until long after they’ve left the store. “Look,”

    they say, waving a lengthy receipt in the air like an Olympic ribbon dancer. “I just saved $700!”
    “Wait,” I say, looking at the receipt. “This is for a new windshield. Do you even
    need a new windshield?”
    “Not yet,” they say. “But when I do…”
    “And this,” I say looking at the receipt more closely, “is for the windshield for an
    Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
    airplane. Do you even own an  airplane?”
    “But… but…” they say, “...but look!
    I just saved $700!
    Sometimes an intervention is required.

So we stepped up to the register, and the clerk (not Mr. Helpful —  he’d wandered away with a confused look on his face, clutching a book with Tinkerbell on the cover (please see Browsing in Faeryland - Part 1 (my God, did I just put parentheses within parentheses again? I hate it when I do that!))) started pulling things from our basket and lying them on the counter, trying to organize them by type, and what would help her ring them up while giving us the best coverage with regard to their sales. There were quite a few books there. And used DVDs. And I hadn’t noticed the large pile of CDs that had been hidden —  excuse me, I meant lying —  beneath all those books.
The price scanner sang.
“Okay,” she said, barely visible behind the veritable wall of small, rectangular objects piled high on her counter. I stood there, fingers crossed, repeating three little words in my head like a mantra, trying, through force of will, to make her say them.
...your total is… your total is… your total is…
“Well,” she said, “I can tell you that you just managed to save $287 with us today. Yes, sir?”
That last was directed at me, since I was waving a forefinger in the air like I had a point to make or a question to ask. In point of fact, I had neither. In actuality I had wet the finger and was now holding it aloft, trying to gauge wind direction within the store. I wanted desperately to figure out where I could stand to be “down wind” from SB and the clerk —  at least until I found out whether or not that bowel-loosening, stomach-clenching feeling I’d just had was me actually soiling my pants. Explosively.
We’d just “saved” more than my round-trip plane ticket had cost.

And that was how a simple trip to browse saved me the cost of a plane ticket, while costing me one pair of good pants.

I’m going to go read a new/used book. In my new pants.

Talk to you later!

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