Wednesday, May 03, 2006

That's It Gymboree Man, We're Throwin' Down

I have decided since becoming a mom that the world owes me something. I don’t mean that obnoxiously, like I earned a free ride because I gave birth, but I have to admit that I've been feeling rather indignant lately. This mostly occurs when I am shopping somewhere, something becomes inconvenient, and I feel I’ve been shafted because I have a baby and stores should make my shopping experience as easy as possible. In many ways this is not completely off the mark since moms are such a huge target audience for said stores. Here, some examples of places that should be nice to me because I give them my money and am hindered by an infant:

In the past month both my Target and my grocery store have decided to remodel. This is extremely inconvenient since they are moving around absolutely everything, none of it makes any logical sense, and none of the employees can help because they don’t know where anything is yet either. What used to be a fairly easy trip through these stores has turned into an infuriating, backtracking, maze solving quest to find the cue tips or the bread (yes, they temporarily hid the bread in the greeting cards aisle behind a huge metal pillar – TWICE I came home with no bread and my husband did it once as well).

To make matters worse, I believe both of these places specifically set out to make “the mom’s” life more difficult (please understand I am writing this tongue-in-cheek...sort of...I mean listen to this!). Target, in their reorganization, decided to move the entire baby section to a strange island in the middle of the store. The result: baby aisles that are half the width of regular aisles. That means that if you want to buy diapers you must literally wait in line to get into the aisle with your cart because there is not enough room to pass each other. Once there, you have to hope that the people who flank you know what they want because otherwise you are trapped while they read the difference in weight ranges between the number 2’s and the number 3’s or contemplate the benefits of the “Gigglastic” waistband. Now I ask you, are the people you want to do this to the ones that are there to buy DIAPERS? And at Dominick’s, my grocery store, they have placed the baby food section behind one of the previously mentioned metal pillars. In order to reach 1/3 of the baby food I am contorting the top half of my body around a huge metal barricade that rests approximately 8 inches from the shelf. I painfully stick my head back there to see what I am doing or I can blindly reach behind the pillar and hope I grab the right thing. Again, the people you want to mess with are the ones that require baby food in their homes? It just seems to me that perhaps the people that need these types of things should be cut some slack. Obviously I am biased, but I’m not sure I am totally wrong either.

But the worst obstacle of them all is not the asinine layout or the physical obstruction; it is the Scammer Salesguy. This is the sales guy that knows you are a mom and uses it against you in the worst way, in the take your money for cute things that you don’t really need way. He insinuates, either subtly or blatantly, that you owe it to your kid to spend because your kid is special. Now, I know we all know this guy when we see him, and we are not fooled; they are just not that clever. But recently I encountered a Scammer Salesguy of a new breed.

I was shopping at Gymboree - - ok, really I was returning something in the store next to Gymboree and happened to find myself in there perhaps checking to see if there might be something wonderful for Sam to sport at his upcoming Birthday party. I know this store is too expensive for us, but I was thinking maybe he should have something special for the big day. And you never know, there could always be a sale or something so perfect that you just have to spring for it (he must have just looked at me and known I was the prefect prey). Anyway, Scammer Salesguy approaches, offering his friendly services. I explain my reason for stepping in and he proceeds to show me some Tiki/Island themed options. Not really my style, and he notices me checking the price tag. He then points out a sale they are having on shorts and T-shirts in this one area. This sale makes the prices much more reasonable and I tell him so with a big smile on my face. Together we create a little plaid shorts, matching shirt, floppy sun hat combo. It is quite adorable and I can just see Sam happily mushing cake into it while crawling around the park. At this point I say, and I quote, “So both of these are part of the sale then, right?”
“Yes, both are on sale.” I proceed to the register, we pay, we leave, I smile more.

It is not until I arrive at the car 3 blocks away that I add up the prices in my head and wonder how I just paid $50 for this cute little outfit that will last approximately 1 hour before its demise. I have no clue how the total could have been so high and on checking the receipt learn that those cute little plaid shorts were, in reality, TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS. They are the size of a washcloth.

I promptly return to the store, and I realize that this is getting long but this next part just blows my mind. Scammer Salesguy is there again to greet me. I explain my confusion at which point he explains why the plaid shorts are not part of the sale (because they are not pull-ups...uh, ok...) to which I say, “But that is why I specifically asked you if both items were on sale, to which you said, ‘Yes.’” And he tells me again that only the pull-up shorts are on sale and that is why he was “pushing me toward the Tiki outfit.” Yeah, yeah Scammer Salesguy, you were really watching my back there. Thank YOU. Even as he was doing the return he was acting like he had tried to steer me toward the less expensive outfit and to each remark I respond with, “but that is why I asked you if they were both on sale, to which you said, ‘Yes.’” And he ignores me every time I say this, as though he doesn’t hear me. What, you’re not even going to tell me you must have made a mistake, Scammer Salesguy? And then, after trying to just void the transaction, which will leave me with no receipt showing the return of my fifty bucks (um, no!), he actually has the audacity to say, “I still thought the Tiki outfit was cool.”

That’s it! I call you out Scammer Salesguy! After school, on the playground! I call you out on behalf of every mom you have tried to swindle out of an extra fifteen bucks because you knew she didn’t have the time or energy to come all the way back once she realized what you did. I call you out for saying things like, “He should really look special on his birthday – we need to find him something really cute.” I call you out, we’re throwin’ down, and bring your Tiki torch with ya so I can show ya where to stick it.


Blogger ABC Momma said...

Beth, you're hilarious when you're angry. I think that guy sold my van to me. We negotiated a deal, and when it came time to sign the papers the numbers were higher. Did they think I would just sign it without reading it, or be too tired from the hour-long negotiation to argue? Well, we got the price I wanted and a new CD player too.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Mama D said...

I think you hit the nail on the head there when you said that mom's don't have the time or energy to return stuff so they are the perfect target for scammers. Lucky for me I live in a very small city so usually returning things isn't too much of an ordeal. Here's a strange question. Do guys actually like working in a kids clothing store? The people who work in the kid's stores around here are usually mama and grandma types. Not that they are any less likely to scam you. This grandma type was trying to scam me big time at 'Please Mum' one day. I hate that too!

10:23 AM  
Blogger Nikkie said...

Preach it sister!

I totally agree with you. I always make it a point to never talk to the sales people. When they approach me, I'm polite but firm that I don't need any help.

They seriously need to start considering us mom's when they configure the lay out of the stores. We're a huge market and its just insane that they don't tap into it. If they make the stores Mom and Baby friendly, we'd be all over them. Here in my little town they just recently opened up a coffee shop that was kid friendly. I told my Husbandish that it was the greatest idea I ever saw. More people need to realize that.

Sorry for the long comment!! :)

11:47 AM  
Blogger Rachelle said...

EBAY! That's where I buy cute clothes. Ebay is my hero. I loved this post!

3:01 PM  
Blogger bon said...

K... here is the thing that chaps MY I am in Utah freakin' valley (baby capitol of the USA) and the Albertson's (grocery) does not have even a cheesy fold-down diaper changing deck.


I don't think that they even HAVE any customers who don't have an infant in tow.

Tip: at upscale boutiquish stores I get it over with quick by just asking the pushy sales folks where they keep the "clearance racks."

12:35 AM  
Blogger The Constant Gardener said...

ROFL at this! My hubby will appreciate this since he works in the grocery retail business. He used to design the schematics to decide where things were shelved!

Bon--that's because nobody with a baby can actually afford to shop at Albertsons, lol! My hubby worked for Albertsons headquarters until recently and we couldn't even afford it with their discount!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Mama Darlin' said...

What a HOOT, Beth! I couldn't agree more about the Gymboree Man. Maybe he forgets that he is dealing with the individuals with "eyes" in the back of their heads. Duh!

My typical comment to sales persons on a whole is, "No thanks. I think I'll just look around a little while."

4:43 PM  

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