I had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life the other day. I went Christmas shopping. Not only did I venture out to a shopping area but I found myself having to enter that bastion of craftiness, Michaels. I had been asked to pick up a “craft item” and this was the place I was told this obscure item was to be found. (Warning: the website is as almost as bad as the store experience.)
There are some stores that should have a genetic marker evaluation system installed as a condition of them doing business. A customer walks through the door and the genetic scanner identifies whether you have a sense of smell and dare I say it, whether you’re male or female. Political correctness put firmly aside for the moment, there was only one male in this pre-Christmas store and you’re reading about him. And that should have been my first warning.
But it wasn’t. My first warning was the overreaching sense of nauseating fragrances all fighting for my attention. I’m used to the delicate smells of a freshly opened tulip ‘Angelique’ or to move to the more powerful, a full-blooming musk rose. And those may be powerful fragrances but they’re clean and pure. It seems Michaels has a fragrance deal with the devil, or their marketing people have designed it to work on some segment of the population that does not include me. Realistically, I suspect it has to do with all the competing products – all the potpourri’s and candles and whatever-have-you that include fragrance as a selling point. What it turns into is a competition between strumpets, all decked up and nowhere to go but intent on overwhelming their neighbour to get the first customer.
I asked a young person by the door where I could find “the product”. Didn’t know. Ahh, so you work in a craft store and you don’t know where your products are? OK. Well then. Spying a section marker that “could” contain my product, I head to the back of the store.
Right past a rather large shelf of fake, silk flowers and an entire production run of silk poinsettia in a multitude of colors. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (somewhere but certainly not my gardener’s soul). The highlight was walking past the silk lilies (all in a variety of colours no self respecting lily would ever wear) to hear a young woman saying to her mother, “If I included these in my wedding bouquet, I could throw them easily” as she held up black silk lilies. The mother smiled at her and graciously said, “You could.” And I admired her for her accepting tone even as she exchanged parental eye contact with me asking for my forgiveness and understanding. We both smiled and continued with our mission – mine of exploration and hers of support.
Reaching my destination and still trying to hold my breath for as long as possible between breaths, I quickly scanned the shelves for my targeted object. And I found it! Celebrations ensued. But then I realized there were ninety-seven options for this and I had only been given a single name. Did I want the right-handed version, the padded version, the chrome or coloured version and how many of each model did I want in those prepackaged wonders? Who knew you could have this many choices for something that simple? I was out of my depth in a game I simply didn’t understand and I still couldn’t breathe.
Grabbing a package, knowing there’s be a generous exchange period because it had been picked by a man for a Christmas event, I went for the door like a bull for a red cape. To run into the cash register area.
Do you know what they put at cash register areas of stores such as this? Well, let me simply say that if it isn’t fragrant or small and gimgrracky, it doesn’t get included. My impulse was not to buy but to run, as fast as I could right through the line and out the door. But one one cash register was manned and there was a line ahead of me. Faced with the decision to suck it up, get it over with or drop everything and run, I manned up, ignored the smells to remain firmly fixed in line.
No man could have or ever did it better.
But never, ever ask me to do it again.